Friday’s mailbag: Cipo’ is great, OLN is lame, and O’Grady is both

Cipo's been a great ambassador for cyclingEditors:I can't tell you what a pleasure it's been reading about Cipollini at the Tour de Georgia this week. His attitude has been great, and can only help the U.S. cycling scene. If you speak to him, please pass along my thanks. His "diplomatic tour" is a success. Peter CarltonStamford, CT Let OLN know its coverage has deterioratedEditors:I'm sure you've all noticed the general increase in lameness of the cycling coverage over at OLN these days. Considering that most of us are tossing out 15-20 extra dollars a month on cable just to catch a few

Cipo’s been a great ambassador for cycling
Editors:
I can’t tell you what a pleasure it’s been reading about Cipollini at the Tour de Georgia this week. His attitude has been great, and can only help the U.S. cycling scene. If you speak to him, please pass along my thanks. His “diplomatic tour” is a success.

Peter Carlton
Stamford, CT

Let OLN know its coverage has deteriorated
Editors:
I’m sure you’ve all noticed the general increase in lameness of the cycling coverage over at OLN these days. Considering that most of us are tossing out 15-20 extra dollars a month on cable just to catch a few bike races, I think we deserve better than the barely-an-hour mish-mash of coverage we’re currently getting. Poor Phil Liggett couldn’t even keep up with the madness at Amstel Gold, as he kept confusing Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd due to all the footage cuts.

However, all is not lost. OLN, as luck would have it, has a feedback page. I say we all swamp the heck out of this thing with politely-but-strongly-worded messages expressing our displeasure at their deteriorating coverage.

I don’t care how popular log-rolling is; I refuse to accept that there are more lumberjacks than cycling fans using the Internet in this country. And I doubt that any of those lumberjacks ever threw down three grand for a new ax. It shouldn’t be too hard to convince them that cycling is the way to go.

Cosmo Catalano
Hanover, NH

Any books of O’Grady’s cartoons?
Editors:
When I was an undergraduate working through the University of Arizona at the (then) finest bicycling establishment in Tucson, Full Cycle (R.I.P.), I always enjoyed, nay, relished the Mud Stud’s adventures in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine. Also, as a current member of the Fat Guys cycling universe, I enjoy the one-panel cartoons that pop up in VeloNews. Now, with all due diligence in sucking up out of the way, are these ever published in book form?

I mean, come on, I spend ample time on the throne and need good giggles and a dose of guilt as to why I don’t ride my Dura-Ace-equipped beauty. C’mon, if there isn’t one already (I am out of touch, I admit) then put it out there for us!

Otherwise, I agree. Pedestrians are a menace and should be treated to a weekly cleaning by our beloved tax assessors. Hell, I’ll chip in for the lube! White Lightning, anyone?!

Burton Hathaway

Burton, our publishing arm, VeloPress, published a decade’s worth of Patrick O’Grady’s VeloNews cartoons back in 1999, but “The Season Starts When?” is now out of print and unlikely to be resuscitated anytime soon. If you’re desperate to stock the “reading room,” you can find a few used copies at hellishly exorbitant prices on Amazon.com. As for the Mud Stud, after 12 years spent cracking jokes in the back pages of BRAIN, he has yet to be collected by any one other than libel lawyers. – Editor

The pedestrians are much nicer in Wisconsin
Editors:
I would just like to say that article about pedestrians and motorists was great! I can’t tell you how many times our team (Miami University Flyers Cycling Team, Oxford, Ohio), while riding together, has been cussed out and by pedestrians and motorists (all fatties or rednecks). I am going to e-mail this article to all my cycling friends.

People in Wisconsin seem to be much nicer to cyclists – something must be in the water in Ohio. Thank you for stepping on people’s toes — it’s about time!

Deanna Fuster
Milwaukee, WI (previously a student at Miami University)

Mildly amusing, yet tragically misguided: That’s our boy
Editors:
I received this rant through a group e-mail. After reading it I found it mildly amusing but tragically misguided. Through your disdain for other trail users you have fashioned your own “Expedition windshield” complete with warning label: “Objects are narrower than they appear,” thus creating the oldest literary cliché there is: You have become that which you disdain.

How unfortunate.

Paths are designed for recreational use, and we must respect the other trail users just as we would have motorists respect our presence on the road. The real danger on the paths comes from within our own ranks, specifically the wanna-be racers who ride these recreational trails at reckless speeds as though they were riding a stage of the Tour with Pena chasing their wheel.

My two cents’ worth:

We cannot predict of the actions of those around us, therefore we must all ride responsibly.

Whether in jest or not, making fun of others simply because they don’t share your point of view is petty and juvenile.

I don’t believe your statement, “your typical pedestrian will claim that walking is the purest and best form of human locomotion.…” I doubt that the “typical” pedestrian has ever considered the topic.

I’m sure this “foaming rant” was intended to be light-hearted and humorous, but as Ronald Reagan found out, you never know if the microphone is on and who might be listening!

John Claman
Somewhere around Washington, D.C.

Lighten up (especially you portly pedestrians)
Editors:
Having ridden countless miles with Mr. O’Grady way back in the day, I must say that I truly appreciate his humor, and if you can’t find something funny in the written word, you need to lighten up a bit!

Having also ridden countless miles on the bike paths in and around Colorado Springs, I have had numerous encounters with pedestrians. Now, I tend to be one of the those who try to pass without saying anything, particularly if there’s ample room. I’m sure I will receive some sort of backlash for saying that, but for as many times as I’ve shouted, “On your left!” I’ve had someone move left, and I end up smackin’ ’em anyhow! In addition, on the same bike path, I actually had one of the “large” people Mr. O’Grady was referring to fall on top of me as I attempted to pass, after having called out, “On your left!” This resulted in a pair of badly bent Mavic Helium rims.

So, inasmuch as it’s good to be polite, sometimes it’s safer to be quiet.Right on, Patrick, and much support from one of the Acacia group.

Dave McIntosh
Colorado Springs, CO

Sometimes silence is golden
Editors:

“Too many riders think they are stealth cyclists on paths and never say anything when passing.”

There’s good reason for that. In NYC, the bridge walkways, waterfront greenways and parks are often very congested. Some of these people are out for a leisurely stroll, some (like me) commute to work and have to keep on the gas. I’m fairly communicative when passing people or riders, but in large part people don’t respond or start doing a squirrel shimmy when they realize I’m behind them. It often seems less dangerous to both parties to take the “stealth” route.

Scott A. Gordon
New York, NY

Headphones and pooches and glares, oh my
Editors:
I’m tired of cyclists having to be the ones that always toe the politically-correct line.

Hikers with headphones!

Hikers with unleashed dogs!

Hikers ignoring you!

Hikers hiking two by two and three by three across the trail!

Hikers verbally bashing cyclists!

Hikers glaring!

Hikers feeling entitled to the trails!

Hikers excluding bikers from trails!

Please! It’s time for us to stand up to the inequity. You go, Patrick!

Ed Ellinger
Evergreen, CO

All cycling journalism is political
Editors:
In response to Mr. Herber’s letter in Monday’s mail bag, (see “Bikes Not Politics”), I have only this to say: to be blunt, wake up!

In a country where funding continues to be nearly exclusively allocated for car-only roads; where gas-guzzling, global-temperature-raising, war-causing Ford Extinctions run us off the public roads while having the gall to honk for being made 10 seconds late; where a state legislature attempts to ban group rides (remember the Texas bill to prohibit the free assembly of more than two people, if they were on bikes?); where rich equestrians and hikers seek to ban us from the trails where cross-country mountain biking was born; where velodromes nearly close for lack of civic interest; where Clear Channel encourages violence against us for asserting our rights and rights of way on the public highways; and where the transnational corporations with so much power over all life in this country encourage all this because cycling is a simple, gentle occupation that does not fit their model of frenzied, frightened, compulsive consumption, how can a cycling journalist be anything but a political reporter?

Every time any of us goes out for a ride, whether it is our purpose or not, we make the unequivocal statement “We belong here!” We should not forget that.

Andy Guthrie
Athens, GA

P.S.: I think you take Mr. O’Grady a little more seriously than he takes himself.

Whew. Now that’s what we call a foaming rant. – Editor


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@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.