By Steve Frothingham
It’s a bad habit, we know.
But, for longer than anyone here can remember, the staff at VeloNews (the magazine) and now, VeloNews.com, has entertained itself by coming up with a handful of absurd stories on April 1. The goal is to make the stories just realistic enough to pull readers in and leave them wondering — or perhaps seething — at the absurdity, until they look at a calendar.
In past years, we’ve suckered a few, including a sports writer at a certain major American daily newspaper, who fell hook-line-and-sinker for one of our pranks, and included it in his daily round-up of sports news. Yes!
This year, to our knowledge, we didn’t sucker any daily journalists, who are mostly just trying to keep their heads above water.
And perhaps our humor is too, um, subtle (some would say it’s just lame). We still have got no letters about one of my little April 1 attempts at comedy: gratuitously inserting Lance Armstrong’s name and photo into every story published yesterday morning. See here, here, and here, not to mention the Lance becomes a top sprinter story, the homepage Lance Twitter feed, the Lance poll, and the links to the new site, LanceNews.com. I guess the Lance overload was just a little too close to reality to be funny. Sigh.
We did, however, receive more than a few letters, especially on Lennard Zinn’s hilarious UCI sunglass ban story. Many letter writers were begging us to tell them it was a joke. Yes it is, and for the record:
- Armstrong is not re-inventing himself as a sprinter
- Sturmey-Archer shifters are not compatible with SRAM, Campy and Shimano drivetrains
- VeloNews has not imposed a monthly quota on the word “epic”
- Competitor Group is not launching LanceNews.com, although … well, no, it’s probably still a bad idea.
Hook, line and …
I would rather have my glasses on in a race when the sun is glaring in my eyes, then be squinting to try to see at 25mph. Foggy or bad overcast? Pop in the Racing Red and I can see a lot better. Rainy or getting dark, pop in Clear and rain is not in eyes, and no bugs in the dark. Cross or other muddy MTB, keeps the mud out of the eyes.
This rule has to rank right up there with the dumbest of all time.
What’s next from the UCI — riders can’t have bottles with odd colored liquid? Chamois cream banned? Does the UCI really have nothing better to do than create new rules that ban riders from wearing glasses?
How about doing something about closing the Puerto case? One has to wonder if they are doing this because they feel it is the right thing or they want to stir up more trouble or maybe they have nothing better to do, but have to justify their jobs in this tough economy.
From a safety point of view how can they justify it? Riders rode without eye wear for years, but they also rode without helmets for years and you don’t see helmets being banned. I’ve gone downhill over 40mph and glasses have been a benefit as well as those times of the year where pollen or other particulate matter was blowing around.
It’s time for some EPIC (it is okay if we readers use that adjective right?) change at the UCI. Maybe the rules committee should be put on super fast carbon frames and sent downhill at 40, 50, 60 plus mph without glasses and see how well they can see – now that would be EPIC!
So I’m thinking that I may have stumbled into an April Fool’s Prank with regards to the UCI glasses article. It wasn’t until reading a story on the British Men’s Track team having to ride home from Poland on Cyclingnews.com that I realized the potential error of my ways. However given the way the UCI governs cycling it is easy to see how/ why I could believe such a story.
This has got to be one of the most idiotic decisions I have heard in a while. So what are the cyclists supposed to wear? I mean sunglasses protect the eye from undue damage caused by ultraviolet light and brightness. This should be appealed and boycotted.
What does the UCI have some secret deal with a certain company and the cyclist are going to have to use their sunglasses … I think that there is more to this story than the UCI is letting on.
Unsafe working conditions
Have the idiots running the UCI never heard of the damaging effects of the sun. Six hours in the blazing sun without protection for a photo op: Ridiculous!!
Will the UCI be wearing sunglasses on the sideline or will they be in the shade? In North America we have the right to refuse unsafe working conditions!
The new ban on eyewear is the clearest sign that the UCI lacks vision, and gives us a glimpse of the illusion they are trying to paint for the sport. They must be blind to not see the negative image that the ban will create.
Eye can’t envision a more short-sighted action.
I must be gullible. Somebody please tell me that the article regarding the UCI sunglasses ban was an April Fool’s joke.
I seriously looked over this article top to bottom, searching for a clue that good ol’ VeloNews was playing a prank on us.
Apparently the UCI is more than capable of creating a ban so ridiculous that it would pass for an April Fool’s gag. The UCI cited a “need to clean up the sport’s image and to attract new viewers …”
Surely, banning sun glasses in a sport where the athletes are, well, outside (and traveling at high speeds) is a reasonable way to attract more viewers. Why don’t they just go ahead and ban rain capes and arm warmers while they’re at it.
You sucked me in last year with the Phinney sperm and egg bank. That one could actually come true. But Armstrong as a sprinter? Ha!
In the words of Roger Daltrey: “We won’t get fooled again.”
Needs the Explainer Guy
I am very confused by the UCI’s ban on nonprescription glasses – does that mean what I think it does? That riders are supposed to race with no eye protection? If the reasoning behind their rules for TT positions is supposedly based on safety, how can they justify removing a piece of equipment that is clearly a safety device? I wonder if any of the rule-makers have ever ridden a bicycle faster than 15 kph or been struck by a flying insect or gotten anything in their eyes while riding. I would ask them to try and ride a motorcycle without eye protection at 60 kph, then imagine being in a bicycle race going that fast on a technical descent in a peloton.
This rule clearly damages and hurts the sport and the cycling industry. I am also fearful that domestic amateur races will outlaw eye protection trying to be UCI compliant. I know the USA Cycling Masters Championships requires all bicycles be UCI compliant, I sure hope they don’t plan on forcing racers to give up their eye protection. I won’t ride or race without eye protection, my eyes are more important to me than participating in the sport I love. My question for you is what can we do to overturn this ridiculous edict, uh, rule, and while we’re at it, change some of the other outdated and stupid rules dictated by the UCI?
Nice try guys, but you need to dig deeper in the pain cave of April Fool’s jokes. Lance as a sprinter? that one was as obvious as ever. Maybe you needed to come up with Velonews version of the SI classic Sid Finch, some unknown raw talent about to be unleashed unsuspectingly on the Euro
Almost lost it
I read the UCI headline and lost it! I never respond on line or get too put off with the politics of cycling but this was the Postal moment! It was while I was on the UCI Web site looking for a contact, I went wait a minute … You got me. Thankfully I did not send off that e-mail.
Happy April fools…
Please remove Lance Armstrong’s Twitter feed from your Web site. I love VeloNews.com for its in-depth coverage of races from around the world. Putting up Lance Armstrong’s twitter changes this. Throwing up a Twitter feed is not legitimate journalism.
I rely on VeloNews to find things out that I could not find out about on my own. I can twitter on my own. Its not like twitter provides some new special in depth knowledge about Armstrong. Further, it really marginalizes other pro cyclists. Most American’s done know this, but Lance Armstrong isn’t the only cyclist in the world. Using this feed and your coverage in the past few months would
encourage this incorrect view.
Lance the sprinter
Looks like someone took a creative writing class, I always look forward to you April Fools column. I still think the Lance and Sheryl Crow CD was the best.
Great job, but I still need more O’Grady.
I guess I bought into the joke on the sunglasses, but did not see it as very funny or the other stories about Lance. If I want comedy, I will go to comedians, I expect quality bike related information from you.