Guest Post from UCI’s Pat McQuaid: You Guys Are Going to LOVE the New UCI Approval Program

01.25.2011 | 2:43 pm


Dear Readers,

I’m Pat McQuaid, the President of UCI. As you are no doubt aware, the UCI’s mission is to improve every aspect of the cycling experience, through the medium of making it as bureaucratic and restrictive as possible.

Toward that end, last month we announced an exciting new program, which we lovingly call the “Approved by UCI” process. I’ll spare you the exciting details, but the basic idea is that we’d start making bike manufacturers submit prototypes of their bike frames to us for approval before they started manufacturing those frames.

We would then, at our leisure, forget about those frames for a while, then evaluate those frames, then express concern about the fact that they are not exactly the same as frames we have seen in the past.

Then we would have meetings. Lots of meetings. There would be committees. And subcommittees. We would speak earnestly and seriously about how inconvenient innovation is, and how much we enjoyed the year 1972.

We would make helpful suggestions for improving the submitted frames, such as, “What if you made the top tube four inches longer,” or, “I don’t see why you want to use carbon fiber. Isn’t that material kind of passe at this point?”

One thing we can promise we would not do is return the frame without comment, because then you’d think we hadn’t contributed to the process.

You would then have an opportunity to make revisions based upon our input and resubmit your design, at which point we would express concerns about an entirely different aspect of the frame.

201101251135.jpgAfter a period of no more than nine months (and no less than eight), we would tell you that your frame design is approved. At this point, you could send us a lot of money as fair compensation for the help we had given you, and we would grant you the rights to use our “Approved” sticker.

Also, we would send you a sympathy card that you had missed an entire race season while we haggled over your frames.

Because we care, that’s why.

The benefits of this program to the racing and riding communities are as numerous as they are obvious. Such as:

  • The peace of mind cyclists will enjoy, knowing their bikes have been approved by an organization that wishes the world of cycling could be suspended in time.
  • The knowledge that, should they choose to start racing, the 98% of cyclists who do not currently race on the road could in fact start racing, as long as they have a brand-new bike. Whew!
  • Great value for the money: The sticker will only add a few dollars to the cost of most bikes!
  • Awesome sticker! Personally, I’m pushing to have this sticker go where bike headbadges used to go, because approval by UCI will certainly give your bike prestige it would otherwise lack.

And I could go on.

So, there we were, all ready to launch. Then, the unthinkable happened.

The bike industry did not immediately fall in line, as we had instructed them to! Indeed, to our surprise and dismay, many people openly expressed that did not care for our new program.

They aired their petty grievances, such as that “it costs a lot of money without giving any value,” or “it slows down our manufacturing process” or “this is really nothing but a revenue stream for UCI.”

All of these claims are entirely ridiculous. True, sure, but still ridiculous.

So, in a display of maturity and collaboration the rest of you would all do well to emulate, we invited comment, listened to the bike industry. We then went back to the drawing board and are hard at work refining the “Approved by UCI” program.

And while there are still a number of details we’re finalizing, I’m happy today to give you a preview of what you can expect from the new and improved “Approved by UCI” program, coming soon to a bike shop near you!

201101251258.jpg 1. Exciting New Sticker Colors!

In addition to the sticker with the oval in black, you will now be able to get the sticker in red (shown here), beige (popular with the Footon-Servetto team), and ochre (popular in Australia!). This will allow you to match your UCI Approval sticker to the color of paint you choose for your frame.

Please be aware that, due to the aesthetics of the colors we have selected for our stickers, UCI will simultaneously begin regulating the colors frames may be painted. Which is to say, if you want a red sticker, you may have either a red or black frame. If you want a beige sticker, you must have a beige frame. If you want an ochre sticker, you must have an orange frame.

Orange goes great with ochre. Trust us on this. We know what we’re doing here.

No other colors, nor color combinations, will be allowed. Further, you must go with the specific hue of the selected color specified by the UCI.

201101251316.jpg 2. Exciting New Areas of Regulation!

It doesn’t take a genius to look at the “Approved by UCI” logo to see that frames are just the beginning. When we roll out our revised regulations, you’ll be required to be very pleased to note that many other components of the cycling lifestyle will have regulations that must be met. We have already established regulations for jerseys (see preliminary logo), shorts, socks, shoes, helmets, energy bars, hypodermic needles, energy drinks, aerosol-powered cheez-food products, helmets, canned meats, vowels, brakes, cassettes, cable housing, lumber, blankets, GPS devices, music players and headphones, music genres, gloves, hairstyles, wheels, tires, tubes, forks, spoons, chocolate treats, breakfast cereals, shrubbery, training videos, magazines, sunglasses, books, and blogs.

Indeed, we are currently working on regulations for UCI-approved logos. Which means bike companies will actually be able to (required to, actually) include our logo as part of their logos.

This, I think you’ll agree, is very exciting indeed.

3. New Pricing Structure!

Originally, there were considerable complaints from the bicycle industry that our “Approved by UCI” program was prohibitively expensive, adding a new cost to an expensive R&D process in and industry was already plagued with razor-thin margins.

Well, we are happy to announce that, due to the expense and time we’ve incurred by revising these plans, that the “Approved by UCI” program will now be only 15% more expensive than previously announced.

What, you didn’t think our time is free, did you? Somebody has to pay for the effort we’ve put into these revisions.

And that pretty much wraps up the changes you can expect. Except the process will take twice as long as originally expected, too. But let’s not bother with minutia like that.

I’m sure that you are — as I am — very excited about this new program in general, and the revisions in particular. Further, I think we can now definitively dismiss the notion that UCI is out of touch with the cycling world.

Best Regards,

Pat McQuaid
President, UCI


  1. Comment by ozchrisb | 01.25.2011 | 2:56 pm

    So funny, yet so true.

  2. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.25.2011 | 3:00 pm

    I’ll take a can of UCI-approved SPAM.

    …and a shrubbery..

  3. Comment by Scott R | 01.25.2011 | 3:02 pm

    then the UCI will demand a second Shrubbery, you know, for a two tier effect.

  4. Comment by Skaught | 01.25.2011 | 3:02 pm

    You can be a mean SOB when you want to, Fatty.

  5. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 01.25.2011 | 3:07 pm

    Fatty, you have unwittingly given the UCI several very good ideas. Even now, they are readying their committees, and regulators, and bureaucrats to unleash these excellent (and exciting) new policies into the world.

  6. Comment by Dan in Sac | 01.25.2011 | 3:07 pm

    Wow, I thought all those details were from Fatty’s artistic license and wit. After reading the linked Velonews article….. it’s true! Ugh.

  7. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.25.2011 | 3:19 pm

    …no technical innovation regarding anything used, worn or carried by any rider or license holder during a competition (bicycles, equipment mounted on them, accessories, helmets, clothing, means of communication, etc.) may be used…

    This is a direct quote from the exciting details!

  8. Comment by Nick | 01.25.2011 | 3:30 pm

    No love for the consonants? Elitist UCI snobs.

  9. Comment by Ken Harris | 01.25.2011 | 3:40 pm

    I had heard about this and didn’t understand it. Now, it is clear to me. Thanks Fatty! And I thought professional cycling couldn’t paint themselves in a worse light than they had with the doping scandals.

  10. Comment by eandjmum | 01.25.2011 | 4:24 pm

    Glad to see your blog is UCI approved Fatty LMAO

  11. Comment by axel in texas | 01.25.2011 | 4:49 pm

    while your blog is approved, I don’t see that your font is approved. In 1972 this font did not exist, therefore it does require our seal of approval. Please submit application form in triplicate and send another money order…

  12. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.25.2011 | 5:30 pm

    Ah, the old solution is search of a problem. Well skewered, Fatty.

  13. Comment by Jim | 01.25.2011 | 5:33 pm

    Geez, what do you people have against an unaccountable bureaucracy taking over an important area of your life for no good reason and regulating it to death? You sound like talk radio hosts or something simlarly Teh Eeeevil.

  14. Comment by oldentard | 01.25.2011 | 5:59 pm

    I think it is funny that you used a photo of a young Dick Cheney and nobody got it.

  15. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 01.25.2011 | 6:17 pm


  16. Comment by bykjunkie | 01.25.2011 | 7:02 pm

    they’re going to love you for this one.

  17. Comment by Lulea | 01.25.2011 | 7:29 pm

    I thought this was a fake news post until I read the linked article. This is really happening?! It reminds me of when I saw the SNL Sarah Palin sketches before the real interviews and thought SNL took a LOT of license. That is until I saw the real interview and realized they changed very little.

  18. Comment by roan | 01.25.2011 | 7:48 pm

    Already have a head turner headbadge “Approval” sticker, thanks Fatty from your post on ride with Team RadioShack.
    Nothing could be better, though I would like a saddle sticker(ouch!!)”This saddle approved by dznuts”.

    UCI (Under Constant Irritabillty)…they haven’t ridden a bicycle since 1972 !

  19. Comment by BamaJim | 01.25.2011 | 9:02 pm

    Thanks Fatty, just when I thought I was an old guy riding for fun, it turns out I’m apparently a crazy rebel using unapproved equipment. You’d thInk I would be faster.

  20. Comment by Tom | 01.25.2011 | 10:06 pm

    Ummmmm, how do I apply for my “UCI Approved Blog” sticker? I really, really want to be in total UCI compliance.

  21. Comment by Skippy | 01.26.2011 | 12:49 am

    Exciting news !
    Pat Mc Quaid has a new posture on cycling, see attached photo.

    Let’s all vote for the sheila on the bike !

    sure you will all agree, change needed !

  22. Comment by Jenn | 01.26.2011 | 1:44 am

    UCI. Sounds like something that could be cured by a ten-day course of antibiotics. If only.

  23. Comment by Jenn | 01.26.2011 | 1:44 am

    Also? You kinda maybe MIGHT have a potential future in politics, Fatty.

  24. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.26.2011 | 2:21 am

    mmmmmmm….. aerosol-powered cheez-food products.

    “Did you get me my Cheez Wiz, boy?”

  25. Comment by Orbea Girl | 01.26.2011 | 4:48 am


    You are on a roll – great post. Also, loved the previous one on TDF surprises.

  26. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 01.26.2011 | 6:50 am

    Wow. That’s great news for custom bike makers eh?

  27. Comment by Cardiac Kid | 01.26.2011 | 7:04 am

    The UCI garage sale is going to have some awesome stuff.

  28. Comment by Cannonball | 01.26.2011 | 7:57 am

    We’ve been harping for a couple of years for the professional cycling teams to get together and form their own regulating organization and dump the UCI. If that meant a season with no one showing up for the spring classics, Giro, TdF,Vuelta, and others, it would be the best thing that could possibly happen for professional cycling–and clearly, cycling in general. It might even have the side effect of getting ASO off their high horse.

    It’s time for the UCI to go. “Taxation without representation” was serious enough to oust a king. Getting rid of the UCI should be the next popular uprising. The only red that would be spilled would be on the profit/loss reports of the UCI and ASO. Millions of bicycling enthusiasts would be the better for it.

  29. Comment by Carter | 01.26.2011 | 8:33 am

    I just spit coffee all over my desk. That was awesome.

  30. Comment by Geo | 01.26.2011 | 9:03 am

    I see no mention of a UCI Approved sticker for each rider’s individual aerodynamic position in time trials. So I guess those scofflaws who spend hours in wind tunnels to improve their aerodynamics by .000003 percent will continue to dominate the TT.

  31. Comment by owen | 01.26.2011 | 9:51 am

    stickers are already up for sale on ebay it seems. 2 week ship time from China. Great Post Fatty

  32. Comment by Dave | 01.26.2011 | 11:32 am

    Thanks Pat!

  33. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 01.26.2011 | 11:43 am

    Hilariously well done, Fatty.

  34. Comment by Hautacam | 01.26.2011 | 12:09 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Fatty. I’d been hearing a giant sucking sound for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

    Turns out it was professional cycling, slowly consuming itself a la Ouroboros — the famous snake eating its own tail.

    Pro cycling (under the UCI) is dead! Long live pro cycling!

  35. Comment by MattC | 01.26.2011 | 1:15 pm

    I’m thinking the Bike Mfr’s AND Teams should just tell the UCI to stick-it where the sun don’t shine (their sticker I mean). I agree w/ Cannonball…The UCI has outlived their usefulness (whatever that was).

    I’d think the great act of defiance would be for all the teams to show up with UN-stickered bikes race after race. If tjey all did that, what are they (the UCI) going to do? Throw out all the riders? Not let them race? That would mean no fans, and no sponsorship dollars, and hence no need for a governing body. It’s just amazing that this is for real. Did a bunch of US congress-people jump ship and form the UCI? It sure sounds like something right out of Wash. DC to me. Only politicians can make something SO useless.

    Oops…sorry Fatty…kind’a started getting political there…my bad. I’ll just go photoshp a few stickers and put them on all my stuff. I’ll be totally compliant forthwith.

  36. Comment by MattC | 01.26.2011 | 1:18 pm

    Seems I’m kind’a having problems getting my new stickers to stay on my ‘certified’ socks…do they have any plans for flexible-fabric versions for this dilema? Please advise.

  37. Comment by AngieG | 01.26.2011 | 1:31 pm

    FC Latest from Cycling News- Spanish Federation gave Contador a 1 year suspension. He has until Feb 9th to appeal. If upheld he may lose his TdF title.

    All from tainted meat huh?

    I wonder if that meat was from Texas? :-)

  38. Comment by Chad | 01.26.2011 | 2:10 pm

    Just did a Google image search for Tom Selleck shorts (don’t ask) and guess who appears on the first page?

  39. Comment by fAT bIKE rACER | 01.26.2011 | 2:15 pm

    I wonder if you ever hear about your sarcasm during your review at work. I always do.

  40. Comment by JB | 01.26.2011 | 4:16 pm

    I must be out of the loop, I have no idea what the UCI is or that they had that much influence on my bicycle riding.
    But, I’d sure be interested in ordering up a truckload of that UCI approved Lumber. Maybe it would improve my sluggish sales!

  41. Comment by Haven (KT) | 01.26.2011 | 5:08 pm

    “You’ll be required to be very pleased”

    Genius!!! Thanks for the laugh, Fatty. All the crazies came out of the woodwork today, and I need a dose of reality.

    Yes, your fake news is reality. At least to my crazy people. And I’m serious about the crazy.

  42. Comment by Davo | 01.26.2011 | 6:43 pm

    I imagine Pat drives a big red Dodge Ram truck in an effort to hide his insecurity. While they may care a little about cycling, they care a LOT about money..

  43. Comment by Richard | 01.26.2011 | 8:26 pm

    I assume this was a translation from the original French, which is the official language used by the UCI.

  44. Comment by bikemike | 01.26.2011 | 8:52 pm

    somewhere chris boardman is smiling quietly to himself.

  45. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.27.2011 | 6:17 am

    The Bianchi people are all scrambling (in Italian) in Milan to figure out which sticker color goes with Celeste!

  46. Comment by dave | 01.27.2011 | 7:47 am

    modeled after US government ?

  47. Comment by Peter | 01.27.2011 | 8:45 am

    Perhaps all the teams and manufacturers need to start their own racing series, and leave the UCI behind. Maybe then bicycles will start becoming innovative again, like they did for a short time with the likes of the Lotus and Trek Y-Foil.

  48. Comment by Lee Harcus | 01.27.2011 | 11:22 am

    I think they have missed a trick here. What about UCI approved urine & blood sample kits? If they made a dollar per kit they could all retire and leave the cyclists to get on with there job, and they wouldn’t need drugs to replace the energy stolen with the urine and blood!!

  49. Comment by Rick Vosper | 01.27.2011 | 11:27 am

    Excellent. In fact the only thing funnier than this is the actual UCI document. Seriously. It’s like one of those old Rube Goldberg contraptions, only for measuring bikes.rube-goldberg~s600×600.gif

  50. Comment by Kate | 01.27.2011 | 11:34 am

    All UCI-approved lumber must be from trees chopped down with a herring.

  51. Comment by Dave Hanrahan | 01.27.2011 | 11:34 am

    How about UCI accreditation for healthcare providers? Let’s say you’re … I don’t know, TRENT LOWE, and you need to see a doctor but your team’s preferred doctor is too busy or too far away or whatever. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the flexibility to see any UCI-approved doctor and know that your visit isn’t going to be viewed with suspicion?

  52. Comment by McQ | 01.27.2011 | 11:52 am

    I’d like to buy a vowel Alex…

  53. Comment by CaadFord | 01.27.2011 | 1:01 pm

    I’m not sure if I’m enjoying the blog or the Holy Grail comments the most…

  54. Comment by Geo | 01.27.2011 | 2:47 pm

    I went to put some air in my rear tire this morning and realized I didn’t have a UCI-approved presta valve. I’m afraid I will have to deduct all the miles ridden on that tire from my year-to-date total.

  55. Comment by Laurent's Ghost | 01.27.2011 | 3:09 pm

    Sounds eerily like NASCAR.

  56. Comment by Brody | 01.27.2011 | 3:25 pm

    Wow! That sounds like a SNL skit of a presidential speech about some great new change that will take place in the wonderful country we have.

  57. Comment by Dave | 01.27.2011 | 4:19 pm

    So so true, very funny but sadly true.

  58. Comment by Sheila | 01.27.2011 | 9:01 pm

    Dear Fatty:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you !! hilarious and spot on!!

  59. Comment by jeleyMcfast | 01.27.2011 | 9:44 pm

    Fatty….you sir, are BRILLIANT!!

  60. Comment by Travis | 01.28.2011 | 10:39 am

    Excellent post on a very sad state of affairs -

  61. Comment by Cannonball | 01.29.2011 | 6:14 am

    Breaking News:

    As of this morning it appears that the UCI, in abject fear of the popular uprising generated by the Fat Cyclist and the power he has in the cycling community, has backed down–at least partially–and lowered the cycling approval fees. One UCI official, who asked not to be named, said that “when ‘Fatty’ talks, people listen.”

    Pat McQuaid, visibly sweating, declined comment.

  62. Comment by Jim | 02.6.2011 | 8:08 am

    Fatty, you are an under appreciated, unrecognized prophet of wisdom!

  63. Comment by Mack Dogg | 03.16.2011 | 12:14 pm

    Some more interesting viewpoints here:

    I think the UCI is just a puppet.


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