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.
After 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!
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.
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.