Friday’s mail bag: Flowers, songs and Englishmen

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.A VN cover-up? Dear Editors Why doesn't the picture of the "English photographer" enlarge? (see "Harvest of Shame: What Price Beauty?") My guess is the culprit is Graham Watson, and you buy lots of his pictures. An honest piece of journalism would

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


A VN cover-up?
Dear Editors
Why doesn’t the picture of the “English photographer” enlarge? (see “Harvest of Shame: What Price Beauty?“) My guess is the culprit is Graham Watson, and you buy lots of his pictures. An honest piece of journalism would disclose this.
David Wilson Dear David, As close as the resemblance might be, may we remind you that it is still a 10-year-old picture snapped at an unrelated event and offered by a biased and angry man? We shall reserve judgment and continue to work with our friend and colleague until someone presents us with more than mere speculation and grainy photos as “evidence” of wrongdoing. In France, too, one is innocent until proven guilty- Editor. First flowers and then what?
Dear VeloNews,
It was with horror and indeed shame that I read your latest expose of the dark underbelly of cycling. Unfortunately, the story regarding genetic modifications associated with cycling is likely to become all too common. With the pressure exerted from multinational corporations for results and exposure regardless of the consequences, how long will it be before the UCI and WADA must test for genetically modified cyclists? The technology is obviously there. No longer will a cyclist have to race for a Maillot Jaune, he or she will only have to make a quick stop at their local back alley genetic engineer and in a few weeks, their skin itself will be the beautiful golden hue of summer in France. At what cost, indeed.
Scott Newsom
Pearland, Texas The long-term risk of beauty
Dear VeloNews ,
As an avid gardener I wanted to plant some sunflowers in my yard this year. But in the back of my mind I knew I had heard somewhere that they can poison the soil for anything that may be planted in years to come in the that same spot. I had asked my local nursery about this but nobody seemed to know anything about it! As one who can agonize with guilt upon the death of a plant I feel has been from my own neglect I can feel deeply for the French farmers who have had their fields damaged by this deadly plant. There are two things I have had a life long passion for: my bicycle and my flowers. Who would have thought that I would find the answer to my question about gardening in the exciting world of elite bike racing? Maybe now they can find this jerk and the French can string him up by his camera strap. There has got to be some sort of penalty for crop damage, especially on such a grand scale. Thanks again for the info! I think I’ll forgo the sunflowers in my yard this year.
Susan
Seattle Follow the money
Editors,
Thank-you for revealing this dirty secret of the “grand” tour. I thought the doping scandals were bad enough, but this goes far beyond that. Destruction of a person’s livelihood for the sake of a few photos. Since reading this article, I have packaged up my sunflower photos and returned them to the photographer for a refund who also happens to be a balding eccentric Englishman who goes by the name of Senor Tonto (I think he’s spent too much time at the Vuelta). However, he stated he was not at the Tour in 1985, but rather was in Italy during this period photographing an obscure bike race, the Giro di Sciocco. I will gladly contribute the refunded money to any fund for these afflicted farmers or towards a reward leading to information/arrest of the balding Englishman. I presume VeloNews will be taking up the reigns on establishing these funds. Thank-you VeloNews for not shying away from airing cycling’s dirty laundry!
Chris Teichreb
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada Dear Chris, We are establishing an account some time next week. In the mean time, just send the funds in the form of a bank draft made out to our new organization the “Committee Against Sunflower Hell” (CASH) in an unmarked envelope to the attention of “Letters Editor” in care of VeloNews. We’ll be sure to send the funds on to a deserving recipient and thank you for your generosity. – Editor. What is truth?
VeloNews,
A truly masterful April 1st edition! I can’t wait to hear the duet (See “Wednesday’s NewsFile“). But seriously, George did win De Panne didn’t he?
Pat Cunningham
New Hartford, CT. Fished in, fished in!
Dear VeloNews.com
I love it. Well done. Exquisite research. I cannot wait for the myriad of responses. Hopefully folks will fess up to the dupe. I will go on record as saying you got me. A coworker pointed it out to me that perhaps, given the date… This story could appear in the Onion.
David Sullivan
Wisconsin The photo did it
Bravo!
You had me up to the end and the picture of “The Englishman!” Best April Fool’s story since my father in law and I convinced my brother in law that New York State and the Province of Ontario were going to fill in Lake Ontario and he went for it.
Bill D’Anza
Rochester, New York Will WADA be checking gardens now?
Dear VN
All this hub-bub of doping and chemicals into the body to enhance performance, can’t someone get some fungicide over to that poor guy in France? Or is fungicide on the list of banned substances for competitive cycling?
Ned Nakatsuka
Laguna Niguel, CaliforniaIt was a joke, right?
Editors,
I think I spotted your April Fool’s article. While not as blatant and tasteless as the red herring on another cycling site, it smelled pretty fishy from the start. As soon as I saw the name “Farceur,” the gig was up. All I can say is that it did not totally hook me in the cheek like the What’s-his-name-gets-fired ruse from last year, where I went so far as to write an indignant letter to admonish Inside Communications for being a bunch of wussies.
Morgan Andriulli
Huntsville, Alabama Follicly Challenged Brit’s have to stick together
VeloNews,
I sure am glad that Pierre Varineau had a picture of this bald English Man, since I, too, am a bald English man. I have just cancelled my Sunflower Coffee Mug order and removed a certain “Site” from my favorites.
Mark T. Averill A long trip to the punch line, but worth it
VeloNews
That’s a great story. I was at the final paragraph before I realized it was an April Fool’s story.
Chris Elswick You win some, you lose some
VeloNews,
That’s kind of a weak April fools joke guys. I mean, Armstrong singing? That was a bit of a stretch. And the Mavic and Pi thing? Please. Calculating Pi to 1.24 trillion spaces will not make a noticeable difference in the roundness of the wheels. Besides hit a few potholes on accident and all Mavic’s work is out the window. I don’t believe that Park’s truing stand is that accurate, so ride them once, and then you don’t have the roundest wheels on that planet, just one that used to be.Sorry, you did good last year, but ’04 is not your joke year.
Pete Hall
Caledonia, Michigan We’re the drug-free website!
Guys,
Put the crack pipe down…
Thanks for the good laugh.
Francois Gaudreau
Ottawa, Ontario What a baseless and unfounded charge. We will have you know that none of our editors have ever tested positive.- Editor He only fell for it because of his last name
Dear Velo,
You had me going for a few minutes!
Of course, my son got me this morning and my nephew got me later on the phone. Then my wife told me that she was pregnant and my boss told me that I was fired . . .
Ed Farmer
Voorhees, New Jersey A labor-saving strategy?!
Clever story. Just the right amount of absurd detail. Can you plant some of those sunflowers in my yard so I don’t have to mow and can ride more?
Allen Etheridge
Oak Ridge, TennesseeDoctor Farceur, I presume
VeloNews
Kudos on the sunflower story – that is the best piece of creative journalism I have seen in a while! I especially liked the use of “Farceur” as the name of an authority on the subject. Perhaps some other people in cycling should be given this appellation.
Diran Ayandele
Boulder Colorado


The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.