Monday’s mail bag: TV, drugs and that crabby old @#$% on the bike path

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.OLN's bait-and-switch?Editor,Well, I see it's beginning to happen to OLN's coverage of bike racing. They suck you in with promises, good coverage, plans to show all the stuffyou want and then cancel it all so they can show more motor sports

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.


OLN’s bait-and-switch?
Editor,
Well, I see it’s beginning to happen to OLN’s coverage of bike racing. They suck you in with promises, good coverage, plans to show all the stuffyou want and then cancel it all so they can show more motor sports andbull riding and shooting (see “Notesfrom the road: Health vs. donuts; Georgia vs. Otter; Roubaix vs. Masters;and The Donald“).When they were starting out, a few years ago, they showed up at allthe big nordic ski racing events and asked us all to contact our TV andCable providers to urge them to add OLN to the line up.  We did, theydid, and then OLN decided that covering nordic skiing didn’t generate asmuch income as log rolling, and stopped nearly all the coverage. (and,by the way, denied ever having made any of those promises).Soon the bike racing coverage will be a half-hour “recap” on Thursdaynight, which will also cover off-road vehicle racing.Sorry, but that’s the way they operate.
Ken Salzberg
St. Paul, MinnesotaBattling the doping demon
Editors,
Regarding J. Manzano’s (et. al.) recent revelations, dopingand its impact on professional cycling are reprehensible, sadly familiar,recurring themes. For more than forty years, evidence has indicated chronicfailure among professional cyclists tested for usage of performance enhancingdrugs. Names and nationalities of those who have tested positive rangeliterally from A-to-Z, and include some of the most successful riders inthe sport.Among other responsibilities, entities governing professional cyclingmonitor drug testing and determine appropriate disciplinary action wheninfractions occur. However, how much time must pass before these same entitiesaccept the fact medical procedures are available today whose capabilitieseffectively circumvent existing test protocols? How many drug control failureswill be needed before sufficient funding is allocated for creating consistentand accurate detection methodologies?Why don’t those who (allegedly) govern professional cycling understandtheir failure or unwillingness to enact necessary change has the potentialto place at risk the very fabric of the sport loved and honored by peoplethroughout the world? It is imperative that bureaucratic differences beset aside and action taken immediately if doping is to be eliminated fromprofessional cycling.
David Jackson
USAJust a heads-up would be nice
Dear VeloNews,
In reference to Patrick O’Grady’s latest (see “Friday’sfoaming rant: Pedestrians – threat or menace?“) I enjoyed the article,but being both a cyclist and a walker on bike paths, all I want to askis if you see me ahead of you walking my three dogs, please say “On yourleft/right/passing” or something.Just a heads-up would be nice. Too many riders think they are stealthcyclists on paths and never say anything when passing. You’d be surprisedby the number of “thank you’s” I receive when passing someone while ridingafter letting them know I’m behind them, double wide baby stroller pushersincluded!Keep up the good work!
Alice Moyer
Downingtown, PennsylvaniaTime for a change in PO’G’s dosage?
Dear Mr. O’Grady,
Obviously you’ve got great talent as a writer. Unfortunately, you demonstratea level of hostility toward your fellow human being that suggests you mightconsider consulting with your doctor about a change in the med’s, or takea class in basic communication skills.Your rantings are also giving cyclist a really bad name! You’re nothelping matters, it’s really not funny, and I’m surprised VeloNews publishedthis kind of trash – shame on VeloNews!After 23,500 miles in the last five years, I’m hanging up my Bianchias a trophy to personal accomplishment, and buying a new Casati – these23,500 included many glorious miles, and as expected some rather nastyand best forgotten miles involving interactions with pedestrians and motorizedvehicles.But the bottom line, smarty-pants, is that most people are very good!The few bastards I’ve encountered, I pray for, and try to think – “Maybethey’re having a bad day because they lost their job, or worse yet, theirMom, Dad, child or lover died!” Their weight problem is a separate issue,a national tragedy indeed, a problem in need of effective intervention,not ruthless ridicule!My plan is simple, keep moving, smile, be courteous and respectful,smile some more, give the other guy the benefit of the doubt, wear a helmet,be very attentive in and around traffic (motorized and non-motorized),and if I want to go fast on a pace, find a long stretch of road withoutlights, with little traffic and few pedestrians. It works for me!Oh yeah and let overweight friends know that cycling burns caloriesand is great for weight loss/weight control.
Share the Road!
Alan J. Colburn
Richland, WashingtonFair weather strolling
Mr. O’Grady,
Your article could not have been more timely.  The recent spateof nice weather has brought the herds out to pasture in my neck of thewoods.  I use a bike path at least once a week to cut out 7.5 milesof traffic-clogged roads on a 20-mile (each way) commute.The path is a ghost town in the morning, with a few birders and dogwalkers here and there. I love using it because I don’t have to breathecarbon monoxide at levels that probably cancel out any fitness gains Imay be trying to achieve. There are also no cars to battle.By late afternoon, and my return trip home, it is a whole differentstory.  I almost never see a soul throughout late February and March,but now suddenly it’s like a gate has opened, and all the folks who stayedindoors suddenly feel the need to amble on down the (cow) path.I love the people who give me the evil eye for using a bike path asa route for travel!  I want to stop and remind them that it is calleda bike path, after all. God forbid I get in the way of your pathetic attemptto roller blade.  I can almost excuse the actions of idiot teens (pushingeach other in my way, lying down in the path etc.), because at least theyare aware of their surroundings.  Most of the rest of the folks outthere seem to stumble about aimlessly. I’m surprised more people aren’tfound floating in the river due to wandering off of the path!To conduct a quick social experiment I went out and walked the pathwith my girlfriend this past Saturday.  We wanted to see what wouldhappen if we actually obeyed the one and only posted rule – walk on theleft.  This really shouldn’t be too complicated, but amazingly enoughit is for most. Long story short, we didn’t have any problems on our five-milewalk. Maybe it’s because we used common sense and paid attention. Or maybe it’s just because we aren’t four-feet-wide and actually have depthperception.All I can say is that I will keep using the bike path as an alternativeto traffic-clogged roads.  I just won’t expect to get home very quickly.
Brendan DeeWe’re all brothers against the common enemy
Dear Inside, Inc.,
O’Grady’s latest has shown him to be a bitter, intolerant jerk witha severe lack of compassion.C’mon Patrick! You used to be entertaining, even funny at times. Butpedestrians and bicyclists are brothers and sisters in the fight to reclaimour roads and downtowns – our lives for that matter – from the never-endingadvance of the automobile. Pitting cyclists against pedestrians is asinine.We’re all pedestrians!Perhaps Mr. O’Grady needs to readjust his radar and focus his attackson those who deserve it, like bigoted knuckleheads who view anyone whois not an elite athlete as a mere obstacle on the path. Perhaps he couldwrite a few venomous paragraphs about himself; a balding, flabby wannabeposing as a bike racer.
Raphael Clemente,
Pedestrian, Cat 1 racer, urban planner
West Palm Beach, FloridaLaughter as air horn
Dear Velo,
Hilarious. That’s all I have to say.Except now, pedestrians will definitely know that I’m coming, because
I’ll be laughing my ass off as I notice them “standingdirectly in my path with a blank stare, chewing their cuds, or scatteringponderously in all directions, bawling and shitting themselves.”Thank you for O’Grady’s humor in a world that’s taking itself much tooseriously.
Sincerely,
Marty Caivano
Boulder, ColoradoP.S. I really am courteous to them on the trail. I promise.Bikes not politics
Dear VeloNews,
What is with Mr. O’Grady?  Is he a frustrated political journalist? Would re rather report on politics or bicycling?  He should leavethe political comments and lame analogies out of cycling articles. I read VeloNews for velo news, not political ranting.
Al Heberer
Griffin, Georgia
 


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.