In case you don't follow the sport, Gent-Bubblegum is generally considered a "semi-classic," and it will never attain full-blown "classic" status for the simple reason that George Hincapie has won it:
Alas, for cycling fans this means the race is forever tainted by a mediocrity it can never transcend, much in the same way that Jerry couldn't get over the fact that his girlfriend had once dated Newman.
Anyway, it sounds like this year the riders at Gent-Bubblegum got blown around like those stupid dancing things they put in front of car dealerships:
Only 39 cyclists officially survived the battle through the Flemish fields to finish in Wevelgem, the rest, 160 cyclists, waved the white flag to surrender or simply were forced to a stop in the brutal conditions.
Some cyclists landed in muddy ditches or cold canals. Some, like Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, gave up early to avoid danger.
Riders piled into team cars if there was space. Others asked locals for directions and took the main road back to the safety of the hotel.
Yes, in Belgium, getting blown in a ditch isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds. However, if you saw only the following image you'd be forgiven for thinking it was merely some kind of Lycra-clad fantasy come to life:
(When Freds dream...)
Come on, who hasn't fantasized about lying supine on a riverbank while crabon bikes float by?
And yes, apparently crabon bikes do float:
In fact, throwing bikes in the water would be a good way to check for mechanical doping. I bet if they threw Hesjedal's bike in there it would zip upstream like a speedboat.
Now check out Geraint Thomas getting blown across the road like one of those black plastic bags they give you at the deli:
Incredibly, he still finished third, and he might even have won if only the UCI's draconian anti-recumbent rules hadn't prohibited him from using the H-Zontal:
Thanks to the prone position it's totally crosswind-proof:
Though when you ride it you do tend to look like you're crawling across a marble floor covered with Vaseline.
And yes, it's also ideal for your off-road exploits:
All it needs is fat bike tires and a metal detector and it would be the perfect beachcomber's bike.
In other news of heroic cycling exploits, a college student recently attempted the hour cycling record:
(Is that noseless saddle UCI legal?)
A student in Oxford has had his own crack at the Hour record – and rode just shy of 47 kilometres last Wednesday. With the UCI Hour record back in vogue and Sir Bradley Wiggins among those planning an attempt, Dan Bigham says he hopes he has set a benchmark to inspire other students to have a go themselves.
Just a note to all you students out there: despite what he says do not have a go at this yourself. This is a huge mistake. You are in college, for chrissakes! You will never have so much independence combined with so little responsibility ever again as long as you live. So please, for the love of "god," do not squander this precious period of your life in pursuit of some silly record set by professional dopers. Instead, if you absolutely insist on probing the very limits of the human psyche, do what generations of students have done before you and take some LSD. It's a weekend out of your life at most.
Competitive cycling on the other hand will ruin you.
Speaking of LSD, someone at Volvo must be on it, because they want us all to spraypaint ourselves so we glow in the dark:
Because apparently riding in "connected helme(n)ts" is not enough.
To illustrate how important it is for us to be visible at night, Volvo include this clip of a speeding cyclist with aerobars rear-ending a car:
I'm not sure how rider photoluminescence would have prevented or mitigated this boneheaded collision in any way, but I'll agree that if he had been glowing it sure would have been cool as hell to watch.
Anyway, you can rest assured that collisions like these will now be a thing of the past, because Volvo have come up with this handy travel-size anti-death spray:
My first thought was, "How do we know this isn't carcinogenic?"
My second thought was, "Maybe they tested it on animals."
My third thought was, "Holy shit, we're the test animals."
Then I sprayed myself in the face with Lifepaint, forgot all my cares, and lapsed into a blissful slumber.
Yes, Lifepaint makes everything okay. I mean, we all know that nothing bad can happen to us when we're wearing our helments, right? But you know what's even safer than a helment? A helment that glows!
Lifepaint also makes a fantastic deodorant:
(He's spraying it down the front of his pants.)
And best of all it makes you look like a vengeful specter who's returned from the beyond to torment the driver who hit you and left you for dead:
You'll know a driver has a guilty conscience if, upon seeing you, they make the sign of the cross and then steer their car into a tree or off the nearest overpass.
The video is also full of testimonials, including this one:
"Putting something on that will make you scream out to drivers like me is a fantastic thing."
Wow. So it's not enough to be visible anymore. Now we've got to "scream out" and glow from head to toe or else we're fair game.
I assume when she says "drivers like me" she means "oblivious idiots."
Amazing how drivers keep outsourcing any and all responsibility.
Hopefully this backfires on Volvo and the streets of London get covered with glow-in-the-dark penises.
You know, the idea of a spray-on reflector isn't even the worst idea in the world in and of itself, but when it's branded by a car company it's downright offensive--and don't get any smart ideas either, like covering yourself in Lifepaint, riding into a car on purpose, and then suing Volvo:
Volvo Cars/Grey/Albedo accept no liability or responsibility for any individual or individual's accident or injury by any road user or other object whilst wearing Lifepaint, damage to property caused directly or indirectly by the paint and that it is transferable. Cycle safety is the cyclist's responsibility and Lifepaint is one of the many products that can aid visibility but cannot prevent accidents caused by the individual or other road users.
This product has been brought to you by Volvo Car UK Limited.
In the making of this film we used both reflective paint products available from Albedo100.
Lifepaint was used on textiles and is water based, and the other Alebdo reflective paint products are for metals and are oil based so not suitable for use on textiles due to permanent nature. The film has not had any post production enhancement to the reflective capabilities seen.
After all, it's just repurposed pet spray:
Albedo100 Horse and Pets is a spray with light-reflective properties intended for use on fur. The spray has a light grey shade that might be perceived as colourless but is light-reflective in the dark.
The reflective effect is useful for the evening walks with your dog, horse-riding or jogging. Increase the visibility and safety of yourself and your pet in traffic by spraying e.g. the leash, tail or legs of your horse or dog.
Sounds about right.
And not to be outdone, GM is offering a flame retardant version for the American market, which may or may not be rebranded spray-on truck bed liner:
If the car companies can't tar and feather us then one out of two ain't bad.