Radio Ga-Ga and BOOM!

I don’t know what to make of the radio ban the UCI is putting into place. Seems rather silly to ban the radios, but then again, the UCI is not known for being pragmatic about embracing new technology, or in this case, old technology. The UCI, going backwards again. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, it makes racing more predictable and so on, I hear those stupid arguments, but it also makes it safer I think. Especially when we see stories like this about race radios potentially saving this guy’s life. Do we really want to go backwards? Radios have been around for a long time now, why take them away? I’m sure there are guys in the peloton, or actually, most of the guys in the peloton who have never raced without a radio over the years. Is it a crutch? Sure, it can be. It leaves reading of the races up to the DS back in the car with the radio, and the TV going. Want to make it better? Don’t let the DS’ watch the live race feed on TV while they’re driving in the race caravan. That being said, in the US, there really is NO reason to race with radios at any level, well, OK, I might make an exception for longer road races, and or stage races, but they should just ban that shit in crits for sure. And wisely, in this case, USA Cycling banned radios in lower categories, which is always a good thing.

An example of that. Back in my struggling Cat 3 days, we were riding a fairly long road race, I think it was like almost 80 miles, and this was when 3’s were allowed to use radios (never mind that the road races hardly ever broke up, and most of the time, if they did, you could see the people dangling off the front of the pack, but I digress). Some dumb ass is riding next to me in the middle of the pack, about 5 miles into the race, and he starts fiddly fucking with his radio, hands off the bars in the middle of about 100 guys. He then slams his first wheel into a road reflector, and eats major league shit. In the process, he comes back INTO the back, and takes out every single spoke in my Zipp 404s (first race I had ridden them in after purchasing them 2 weeks prior). All I had was a rim, a hub, and a bunch of busted ass spokes. And, due to the wheel truck, and or the guy driving it not knowing anything about bike racing, I got a super slow wheel change, and he wouldn’t draft me back to the pack. So, 5 miles in, after chasing by myself for about 40 minutes, nope, never made it back. I’m out one expensive wheel, and a race, just because some jackwagon was fucking with his radio.

Moving forward in my later race years, riding as a 1/2, we used radios a few times, but most of the time, we were just making fun of each other, instead of using them for anything resembling helping out with the race.

The pros though, I think they need them. Let them have them. Stop being fucking stupid old men over there in Switzerland. I swear, all of these assholes are like the grumpy old man from SNL of yore. “Back in my day, we didn’t have these fancy radio receiving things, and WE LIKED IT!”

YouTube Preview Image

Moving on.

How about that Lars Boom knocking it out of the park at Qatar? Look, I knew he was a baller, but I didn’t know he was this much of a baller. I mean, the dude beat Fabian. I don’t care who you are, that’s a fucking awesome result. I have no idea what is going to happen in this race. It’s still early season, so not too much should be read into it, that’s for sure. Boonen might win a stage, but I think his best sprinting days are behind him anyway. Cavendish went down, again, so he’s all messed up, but that probably won’t affect him much coming into finishes this week. What I really liked though, was seeing Flecha rolling in 4th. Always one of my favorite dudes out there, he’s a hard man. I hope to see him come into impressive form, once again, for the Spring Classics, and for him to finally win a Monument. I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more at this point in his career, except maybe Hincapie. Yeah, I like Hincapie too. I just feel bad for him most of the time. My wife and I gave him our own nickname, in our house, he’s known as “Sandwich”. We named him thusly, mostly because when he’s riding, he has this look on his face that makes us think in his head, he’s just thinking over and over again, “Man, I really wish I had sandwich right now.” Ride on George, ride on brother.

Man, I wish I had a sandwich right now...
Man, I wish I had a sandwich right now...
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmailby feather

About giantcu92

Engineer living in the NOVA, and working for "The Man". Cycling and political junky. All things 2 wheeled are good. 4 wheels? Eh, OK, but 2 wheels better. Washinton, DC, USA

52 thoughts on “Radio Ga-Ga and BOOM!

  1. Ban TV’s in the DR’s car? They would use the Iphones…
    If radios where about safety and all, all the teams would be on one canal, and the riders too. But it ain’t, it’s about radio controlling. And because of that attacking riders, like Hincapie, are a dying breed.

    Most fun stage of protour of the last years? That stage in the tour of Cali last year where the radios bailed because of freak weather… Fucking epic stage.

  2. Hincapie? An attacking rider? I love the guy, but an attacking rider he ain’t.

    Vino is an attacking rider. Flecha, is an attacking rider. Cancellara is an attacking rider.

  3. He’s definitely a crusty old dude, and sure, he definitely has the right to be heard. But, he’s wrong. Much as I hate to admit it, or actually, in this case, write it.

  4. Eh.

    Till I got in to biking I was a football fanatic.

    I equate radios in a bike race with coaches sending in plays every down.

    Let the rider ride his race and let the QB calls his own plays.

    I watch to see the players. Not the managers.

  5. The analogy with football I think isn’t quite right really. The coaches have been sending in plays for eons now. Only QBs like Manning, Brady, Marino, and Montana get to call their own plays.

  6. Bart Starr. GB Packers. 60’s.

    Just did a quick search and he called his plays as I remember. If Lombardi could allow that I don’t see why any of the “coaches” today couldn’t.

    Let the players play.

    Central management doesn’t work.

    Gawd. That sounds so much like something joe would say.

    I apologies in advance.

  7. better would be to have radios for the riders that are from race officials only — to impart course info and safety info. a “one-way” radio that team directors would have and riders would have that the com1 car could say “watch the right turn coming up” or “riders down” or “rider #173 has a flat”

    it is also helpful as directors are called up to service riders as needed. it makes for a safer and more civil race. there are often times when the window to feed is pretty small, and if you have ever ridden (raced) a bike too far without water/sugar it’s just no fun.

    that much should be considered as taking care of the riders. too much on this bullshit or that bullshit — lets talk about the riders.

  8. Seems I can’t read two online articles lately without coming across another example of the UCI exhibiting complete ineptitude. Like Keystone Cops…

  9. Re. Horrillo’s accident in 09… I remember seeing the Giro footage (coincidentally, Friday night was spent with two teammates watching newly purchased DVDs of it.) The commentators (at the time unaware of details of the accident) made some statement about their awe at how fast rescue response was. I just can’t conceive of any pro-ban argument countering this massive case for the use of the radios.

  10. Ok Giantcu92, the Badger’s dislike for race radio’s didn’t convince you eh? I’m as old as the hills and remember road racing before the riders were just a “Game Boy that has a gigolo attached at the end telling the racer when to take a piss”.

    I like drama in sports. It’s all too predictable now. Since it’s all about power and control, Who do you want in control of the racing?

    Old pot-bellied wankers sitting in a car or the young athletes?

  11. If you want to blag the UCI about lack of innovation that reduces safety and performance, here are a few things:

    – Disk brakes. Are we still in 1890?
    – Minimal Braking distances – some wheel/pad combinations are dangerous.
    – Frames rules that do not discriminate against “non standard” riders.
    – 2 Triangles frame rules – are we still in 1890?
    – Weight limit on components – not the package – a 800 gram carbon frame is not safe. The limit should be around the 1200grm mark with no ballast.
    – Respect their own rules on locations of sprints finishes.
    – Clothing that has a minimal abrasion resistance in key areas.
    – TT helmets with a safer inner shell (no hard tail).
    – Brake lights.

  12. …i agree with those suggesting radio use only for safety & logistical reasons…

    …riders & team cars receive broadcast info from “race-com’ but no more tv’s & ‘director radios’ in the cars…

    …let ’em race & learn to anticipate & respond to moves…old school tactics…

    …but wait – this just in…“…all 9 riders of the 2014 radioshack tour de france team were disqualified from the race when it was discovered that all 9 team members had been implanted with tiny digital audio units allowing them to receive transmissions from team director johan bruyneel…
    …”i deny having any knowledge of this’ – replied bruyneel when queried – ‘this reeks of crazy people hearing voices in their head…sounds like the government is involved’…
    …”team leader lance armstrong declared that his ‘X 2 – comeback of comebacks tour’ was now in ruins…
    …”race officials became concerned when it was noted that the radioshack riders were constantly shaking their heads & palm slapping their foreheads (apparently for better reception)…

    …”no word has yet come down from the uci..”

  13. The problem with things like “watch the right turn coming up” is basic game theory. Every rider in the pack is getting this message, and they all want to avoid trouble by being at the front. So, instead of the pack slowing down naturally as they hit the corner, everyone is going into it balls out to avoid the crash that they’re about to cause. But hey, if the Badger hasn’t sat in enough 1/2 crits to have an opinion on this, Gilbert probably hasn’t either.

  14. Answers—

    – Disk brakes. Are we still in 1890? Really? They would be wonderful in a mass, 25-man pileup. I’m sure no one would get sliced buy a rotor.

    – Minimal Braking distances – some wheel/pad combinations are dangerous. Huh? The UCI couldn’t scratch their ass with a handful of hooks. You’re going to let them dictate what brakes teams can ride?

    – Frames rules that do not discriminate against “non standard” riders. This one, I don’t understand…I don’t think the poster does either.

    – 2 Triangles frame rules – are we still in 1890? You want the pros riding beam bikes? What is this 1990?

    – Weight limit on components – not the package – a 800 gram carbon frame is not safe. The limit should be around the 1200grm mark with no ballast. 800g frames are fine. You think an extra pound of carbon is going to keep a frame from exploding when hitting a bollard @ 50kmh?

    – Respect their own rules on locations of sprints finishes. HTFU! They’re pros. It’s what they’re paid for…

    – Clothing that has a minimal abrasion resistance in key areas. See previous answer…

    – TT helmets with a safer inner shell (no hard tail). TT helmets are all Snell and ANSI approved. Have been for a while…

    – Brake lights. Now that’s just dumb…

  15. – Disk brakes, on road bikes the rotor would be tiny. Like the ones used on city bikes here in Belgium… Better anyway than getting a blowout downhill or melted pad ripped off (been there – in Nice). But Kirk Douglas had no disk brakes when filming Spartacus, nor will road gladiators.

    – Minimal braking distances, just a simple test, go to a certain speed, must stop in a certain distance, if not try another pad. On TV you never see this, but a frequent crash is a rider rejoining the peleton from the cars and not being able to brake. Some carbon wheels/pads don’t work in the wet, yet some teams still mount them (been there – 808’s and certain cork pads). But the UCI likes the sound of snapping carbon, reminds them of a blunt objet finding bone in the Arena.

    – Beam bikes, T biles, inverted L bikes, extreme sloping etc… Would makes for fun watching. Let the manufactures have a little fun, and the clients a few dreams. I for one, would love a Lotus bikes… But the UCI says it distact their prying eye from the tan lines on those toned thighs (and yes the hour record before the UCI getting pissant was great).

    – I could explain this badly, but I’ll let this article speak for me:
    The 5cm behind bottom bracket rule is stupid. But I fit into the UCI Spartacus size so I’m not there.

    – Yes, if you have more material to play with, you can increase the strength of the frame. Go to busted carbon if you need a few pictures. Most light carbon frames are will snap as soon as you get out of the envelope (bunny hop a curb at speed, misjudge, hit the rear a bit SNAP). Again the UCI should impose minimal strength. Riders should not be thrown on the road like christians to lions. Manufacturers can do this: Roubaix frames.

    – Some sprint finishes are stupid, riders falls should be accidents, not planned events because some old duffs like seeing blood in the sand.

    – Nascar and F1 drivers are paid pro but they have some protective gear. What I’m thinking is abrasion protection for the hip and hands, thats all, it would be invisible (I have a prototype here). I mean, even the murmillo had a manica.

    – Snell and ANSI, but being in rules does not mean it’s dumb,: the tail of the TT helmet is stiff and can act as a lever in a fall damaging your cervicals, neck and lower skull. It’s not the old duffs cervicals, it my cervicals, and I don’t care if wheelchairs remind them of chariots, the TT helmet rules need to be changed.

    – Brakes lights – I was kidding there :)

  16. By the way, When Cancellara attacked last year at Roubaix, it was Riis in the car who saw Boonen eating on the TV and told Cancellara to “go go go”…

  17. I support the radio ban. I don’t care for them at all. Have they saved a life? Perhaps. Perhaps not. There are too many DS’s sitting in too many team cars watching the action on a dash-board mounted TV calling the shots. The athletes should dictate the race, from within the race. The directors use of radios is just lame.

  18. …”race officials became concerned when it was noted that the radioshack riders were constantly shaking their heads & palm slapping their foreheads (apparently for better reception)…

    That actually had me laughing loud enough to alarm the intern seated outside my office. Nice.

  19. Now that we’ve gotten rid of those damned radios, can we get them back on 25 pound fixed gears riding on goat trails as God intended?

  20. …thank you, low brow…just got back from several hours of errands on the bike & got a good chuckle out of knowing someone enjoyed my little ‘news bulletin’

    …i shouldn’t admit it but i laughed myself when i wrote it…

  21. Intended or not, desired or not, change happens and we either accept it or get relegated to the past. Of all the changes in the sport of cycling over the years, the one thing that has remained constant in my mind is the addition of new rules upon riders: rules imposed by society, by piers, by nations, by race organizers, and by the UCI. Banning radios in my mind is just one more “you can’t do that” rule. Everyone has their opinion on radios, but pro racing is a team sport and teams need to communicate to perform effectively and consistently. Sponsors of pro teams want wins, their money helps keep the sport alive, and so if radios help towards that end, then I’m all for them.

  22. reductio ad absurdum

    1) Relaxing UCI bike rules means riders will inevitably ride I-bikes & recumbents, completely transforming the sport

    2) The UCI just wants to keep the sport in the dark ages, and would mandate riders use fixed gear bikes made of rebar if they could get away with it

    Regarding radios, isn’t there at least one guy in a car/moto at the front of the race that can spot hazards? Even the local cat4 circuit races are lead by a scooter that can point out oil, debris, or other hazards.

  23. @elSid #27 #1, they’d ride Allsop Softrides as God intended.

    Or some local equivilant, we have the Bauer Softride down here, I recently discovered that Mavic also made one, as did Otis Guy, (except the arseholes on eBay would not ship overseas).

    @BGW, “oingo – boingo bike”, I love that name, I remember the band name, can’t remember a thing that they produced.

  24. …in spain today – “A protest over two-way radios delayed the start of Challenge Mallorca stage race in Spain today. Marca reported that the race started 20 minutes late, with riders and teams disobeying the UCI’s ban of radios.”

    …in qatar today – “Following yesterday’s insistence by many riders to use race radios during the opening stage of the Challenge Mallorca races, it had been understood that a similar protest would be carried out during today’s stage of the Tour of Qatar. However that has been abandoned following pressure from the race organisers ASO who, crucially, also organise the Tour de France.

    …”According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, ASO’s laid down the law and told teams that any protests would not be tolerated. It quotes competitions director Jean-François Pescheux as saying that, “there is a regulation, and it will be respected. Whoever uses race radios is out of the race,” he proclaimed. “If the majority uses them, the jury will withdraw.”

    …it’s early in the season & at some point it’s gonna get real serious between the two major parties…

    …just sayin’…

  25. …@hurben – ‘the mystic knights of the oingo boingo’…their original name…

    …crazy, eclectic band w/ painted faces & a musical repertoire including big band tunes, asian folk & russian ballet music to ‘their version’ of new wave rock n’ roll & ska…only thing i specifically remember was their tribute to kidnapped heiress patty hearst…

    …i do remember danny elfman was all over the movie soundtrack scene through the ’80’s…he did ‘pee wee’s big adventure’ (yaaa !!!) as a start, then most of tim burton’s stuff & i guess he’s still at it…

    …& alsop beam/softride bikes are not easy to ride unless one is very smooth on the bike…thank god my pedaling style is very smooth or i’d be fighting myself every time out…

  26. @saupak: “Sponsors of pro teams want wins”. I get the feeling that with or without radios, someone is still going to win the race.

    As much as the UCI pisses me off (mostly with the way they categorize races and bullshit rules like exactly how loose your clothes have to be for bmx and downhill), I appreciate the situation they’re in right now. Sport, by its very nature, is based on some set of arbitrary and often nonsensical (icing anyone?) rules. Technology changes, but by that argument the bicycle itself is obsolete. Why not just race motorcycles? I think the biggest mistake they made here was letting the genie out of the bottle and allowing radios in the first place. At some point, they just need to tear the rule book apart and come up with a clear and specific definition of what constitutes a “bike race”.

  27. @bgw, you sure aren’t referring to Camper van Beethoven that did the tribute to Patty Hearst. (“Tania” off of Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweethart) Oingo Boingo’s was earlier (mid-late 70’s), not as popular, and more of a show tune.

  28. …@el jefe…hmmm…as far as ‘patty hearst songs’, the misfits also did a ‘tribute’ so now i’m confused about whose hearst song received the most airplay or that i’m even recalling…

    …but oingo boingo definitely had a time when they were featured on ‘mainstream’ radio, which i don’t think ever happened for camper van beethoven or misfits…

    …patty hearst, granddaughter of newspaper magnate, william randolph hearst later appeared in a number of films & tv shows, particularly featured by the awesome john waters, he of pink flamingos fame…

    …danny elfman became highly prolific in the studio during the mid ’80’s & his name was tag-lined everywhere at the end of a lotta tv shows & movies as musical director, sometimes using the boingos & sometimes as coordinator of other bands or musicians…

  29. Hmmm. I didn’t know about the Misfits song about Patty Hearst.

    CVB started getting mainstream airplay around 88 when ‘Sweethart came out. Even though it was their 4th or 5th album (find their cover of Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive if you get a chance), it was their first major label release. They did one more (Key Lime Pie) and then took 15+ years off. Their new stuff is pretty good. I like it when bands don’t get stuck on their early material and keep making good music. CVB is touring again (often with Cracker, David Lowery’s other band)

    Elfman is a musical genius. Boingo was always far more talented than their “new wave” tag implied.

    Those two bands opened my eyes to the fact that rock could be much more than three chords in 4/4 time.

  30. I first learned to play the drums by playing along to Cracker’s first album. Awwwwwwww, memories.

  31. …i can’t tell you the places the original “interstellar overdrive” took us, back when it first came out…

    …out from smoky, candlelit basement apartments & old realities to soaring through time & space like we had never known…

    …i loved it enough that i can hear the basic theme in my head without searching…

    …just sayin’…

  32. One of the consistent arguments for banning radios is that they have made race outcomes predictable. Yes, every race is going to have some winner, but consistent wins is what every racer and team and sponsor wants. And sure, following the evolution of technology from the bicycle to the motor vehicle, we end up with NASCAR (if that happens to be your thing), but stock cars don’t necessarily replace bicycles. The bicycle is a tool to test the limits of human strength and endurance, and so over a hundred years after it was invented, it remains both current and popular, while still evolving at the same time. Evolving from single speeds, steel frames, and wooden rims to 22 speed, titanium frames that zip along on carbon rims.

    And maybe it’s now time the sport evolved beyond the UCI.

  33. Sometimes a bicycle is just a fun way to get from point “A” to point “B”, or even to go noplace in particular.

    And as a happy rider of steel fixed gears exclusively, I don’t see the current crop of wunderbike as “evolved”; just a different way of doing what I do every day.

  34. Oh, and not to be pedantic, but wood rims ARE carbon. They are carbon fiber in an organic matrix. As is bamboo.

  35. If you’re going to not be pedantic Joe, at least be right. Cellulose is a polysacharide, which is polymerized through oxygen atoms. There’s not a continuous chain of carbon-carbon bonds like there is in the kinds of synthetic polymers that are used to make carbon fiber.

  36. BUT cellulose when bonded with phenolic resin is a great meterial. What kind of cellulose? Well kraft paper usually…
    Sounds like a joke, but next time you take a plane, the floor and interior partitions are probably made of the stuff.

  37. Joe, fibers which contain some carbon are not “carbon fibers” any more than ketchup is a vegetable.

  38. …sheesh…if you’re gonna be pedantic, at least remember that catsup/ketchup is fruit based & only has ‘vegetable seasonings’

    …therefor, technically although wrong in fact, your statement still reads ‘right’ but if you right your wronged right at least your statement will not only be right in fact but also then read right…

    …i know you know that i’m right, right ???…or am i wrong about being right ???…