Paul Andrews

Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

This Day in Doping: Landis dreams of BIG comeback, Rebellin must wait it out

In Lance's Chances, This Day In Doping on November 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Having served his penalty for doping in the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis now aims to get back into Euro stage racing. What team will he join? Expect the rumor mill to churn back up as trial balloons get sent … Team Radio Shack anyone? Lance & Floyd, reunited? Davide Rebellin will be stripped of his 2008 Olympic silver medal after testing positive for EPO. Another indication that even if you dodge detection the first time or two around, technological advances will eventually nab ya.

Daily Roundup: Food bank ride, Crashing the boyz, Bike licensing & more

In Daily Roundup on November 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

David Longdon: Join David and friends for a Thanksgiving Day Ride to benefit Northwest Harvest, the food bank people.

Jacquie Phelan, who’s as good a mountain bike historian as we have these days, recalls crashing the boyz ride back in the day. Great writing, great reading.

Yeah that’ll work: The City of Brotherly Love looks at licensing bicycles after two pedestrians got hit by cyclists.

Mountain bikes on the Continental Divide Trail? Are bike people friendlier?

This Day in Doping: Kenny Williams joins the fallen

In This Day In Doping on November 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm

So now the doping scandals are making their way into the amateur ranks. Kenny Williams, a household name in Seattle-area cycling for years, a cycling instructor and top Masters competitor, is caught using DHEA and owns up to it (be sure to read comments queue).

What to say? There’s no point in being naive or righteous about doping at the amateur level. Anyone who goes to a high school football game these days knows that performance enhancers are as easy to find and ingest as a double cheeseburger with fries. Drugs permeate our culture, to the point where enforcement has become so politically manipulated and selectively rendered that any deterrence factor is utterly lost.

Kenny’s heartfelt apology, in this context, is pointless. No one with any experience in the sport will take him at face value. See comment queues in Drunkcyclist and Papillon. Cyclists testing positive these days have only two credible options: 1. To own up to all their past misdeeds while noting, as Bernhard Kohl did, that in order to win these days you have to dope. We repeat, you have to dope. 2. Or to just STFU, serve their time and let the chips fall where they may.

Denial is ludicrous. Abject admission in a context of greater denial — the Kenny Williams path — invites scorn, cynicism and disbelief.

Williams has been a role model and comported himself well by all accounts over the years. It’s sad to find him in these circumstances. But shock and outrage serve no point.

If I were him, I’d take the BikePure pledge and really truly mend my ways (which would undoubtedly mean a fall from the top ranks he’s dwelled in over the years). Go on the lecture circuit about the poisoning impacts of drugs on health, self-respect and sports.

It’d be a departure from the norm. I can’t think of many banned athletes who have fessed up and crusaded on doping, because let’s face it, they want to get back to the top once their suspension is served.

But it’s the only path that would allow Kenny Williams, who raised the hopes and fed the dreams of so many fellow cyclists, to live the rest of his life being able to look others straight in the eye.


How bad is doping corruption in cycling? So bad that Team Elk Haus’ manager, noting that the taint from doping kept his team from finding sponsorship, suggests cycling should simply look the other way like swimming, football and other sports. He has a point: No steroids user, even those admitting it, has ever been penalized in baseball, and the last time I checked two of the most famous juicers just led their team in the World Series. But is covering it all up really useful — or sustainable?

Joe Papp lays it on the line about his own doping, the way a true confession should read.

BikePure teams up with a BMX bike maker to get its point across. Not a bad idea — reinforce the anti-doping message with the younguns when it can still make a difference.

Daily Roundup: Easton recall, Sam Brown on TV, Part III “Missing Link,” & more

In Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on November 14, 2009 at 10:00 am

Easton recalls bikes because of piece-of-crap stems that break.

The saga of Sam Brown, the brilliant slopestylist who took his own life after being arrested for drug trafficking, makes CBC television.

Part III in SeattleLikesBikes wonderful series on the Burke-Gilman Trail’s “missing link” in Ballard.

There is justice in the world: Palo Alto cops track down a bike thief.

Fat Cyclist’s appeal: He’s Everyman on Wheels. Here his crew takes on Fuita — and yes, Fruita wins.

Daily Roundup: Meet Tyler Farrar, Bike sharing to Silicon Valley? SF Bike Expo update, Bicycle meditations & more

In Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Videos on November 13, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Coming up: SF Bike Expo on Saturday, Nov. 21st. Just added: Dirt-jump competition! What’s more is the platinum list of competitors, drawing heavily on the nearby Aptos (Santa Cruz) Mafia of Jump Jivers like Greg Watts (winner of the past summer’s Whistler Crankworx slopestyle competition), Tyler & Cam McCaul, Paul Basagoitia (only walk-on winner of Crankworx ever), Mike Montgomery, Andrew Taylor and others.

Should be quite the show. More here.

Also coming up: Tyler Farrar, the best pro sprinter the U.S. has produced in two decades, will be at a Cascade Bicycle Club “Evening With” at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Magnuson Park Theater (7110 62nd Ave. N.E.). Get a discount on the $15 tickets by ordering with code CBC Member (if you are one!). Is bike sharing coming to Silicon Valley?

New World Disorder 10, “Dust and Bones,” is now available on iTunes, which is where I hope “Race Across the Sky,” the Leadville 100 epic, soon winds up, because I can’t seem to carve out the time to go to an actual theater and watch it.

RC posts his $.02 on siping mountain bike tires. My rear Nevi is a little worn around the lugs. I’ll give RC’s advice a whirl and see what happens. My gut tells me that siping won’t affect tire longevity simply because if you’re siping you’re undoubtedly riding a lot, and riding a lot is what wears out tires, siped or unsiped.

I’ve long compared mountain biking to meditation, especially to my long-suffering spouse, in an effort to communicate its transportive dimension. Not sure what to make of the Bicycle Meditations site, but if you’re into this sort of thing, here it is.

Daily Roundup: Creative ways to make $$ from cycling, the nation’s bike boom, ‘lectronic shifting and more

In Bicycle Commuting, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on November 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Amusing piece from on how to make money from bicycling. The furniture thing is truly inspired.

More on the nation’s bike-commuting boom: New York. San Jose ( has a rundown on some others…) Seattle’s increases — up 27 percent from 2005 to 2008 and 29 percent from 2008 to 2009 — aren’t among the leaders, but it has a pretty broad base and comparatively strong percentage (modal share) of bike commuters. The list of leaders is here.

A mountain bike with electronic shifting? As always, I say lemme try one during a nice moist freezing mud-besotted Pacific Northwest winter, and I’ll get back to ya!

Fox Racing Shox is the latest bicycling industrial titan to take a header in 3Q, joining Mavic, Easton Bell, SRAM, Shimano, you, me…

Tale of Two Ryan Leeches

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm

What are the chances there are TWO Ryan Leeches in North America, close to the same age, who have made names for themselves in the cycling world?

100 percent.

The B.C. trials rider Ryan Leech.

The American cyclocross rider Ryan Leech.

Can Elected Bike Riders Impel Change We Can Believe In?

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Obama Bikes on November 11, 2009 at 1:55 am

With the election of Mike McGinn as mayor of Seattle and re-election of Council president Richard Conlin, it now looks as though the two most powerful office-holders in the city are, of all things, bike commuters. The third most powerful, newly elected County Executive Dow Constantine, is a bike lover, as is another newcomer, Council member Mike O’Brien, Together they comprise a two-wheeled coalition atop local government unlike any other municipality of Seattle’s size and prominence.

Will it make a difference? And if so, how much?

Conlin’s 12-year tenure, crossover popularity and political capital gained from a resounding victory in last Tuesday’s election have led some to designate him Seattle’s “interim” mayor while McGinn learns the ropes. There may be some truth in the appellation, but we think McGinn’s dedication to civic causes over the years gives him considerable momentum going into the job. And as anyone who has worked with Mike knows, he typically has a pretty good idea going in what he wants to do on any given issue.

We think McGinn’s infamous “flip-flop”— more like a soft-pedal (given his avocation) — actually won the election for him. It didn’t lose him any votes; what were tunnel haters going to do, vote for build-baby-build Mallahan? Instead it won crucial votes from the rule-book set, traditionalist Seattleites who needed a sign from McGinn that he could put aside personal conviction when due process dictated a different track. That said, we still hope Mike finds a way out of the geologic insanity and bottomless money pit of the Deep Bore.

If the tunnel does proceed, cyclists hopefully will benefit from increased surface options in the city. But the big imprint that cycling leadership can leave on the city will involve long-sought integration of bikes into Seattle’s traffic grid and transportation infrastructure. With downtown bike counts continuing to escalate exponentially — the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan calls for tripling the amount of bicycling in Seattle by 2017 — such integration is not only prudent but necessary.

Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club and the City will spend much of 2010 developing a 5-year update of the Master Plan. It will be fascinating to watch a transportation blueprint put together with cyclists as equal participants rather than afterthoughts. What might cyclists hope for in a McGinn administration?

Our wish list includes:

Completing Ballard’s “missing link” on the Burke-Gilman Trail. This is under litigation, but there are pressures and bargainings that a McGinn administration can bring to bear to “ameliorate” the process. Let’s git ‘er done guys.

More bike lanes. A recent study showed that bike lanes are safer for cyclists than is competing with cars on streets and highways, and with pedestrians, dogs and strollers on bike paths (although bike-only paths are safer). Yet the city has in crucial corridors moved away from lanes in favor of “sharrows,” or on-pavement arrows indicating that vehicles need to “share” the pavement with bikes.

Sharrows hold some symbolic persuasion. But we feel they’re more a sop than solution. The painted arrows soon wear off. “Shared” lanes invite “dooring” from parked cars. And we all know when push comes to shove who gets shoved out of the right-of-way.

True bike lanes on North 45th Street and on Stone Way should be a high priority. And while you’re at it, on Broadway, Queen Anne Avenue, Rainier and Columbia Way. I’m missing some, I know. North 80th or 85th (McGinn lives up there!). And more. (Check out Page yll of the Master Plan for a graphic of what the ideal bike grid should look like.)

North-south bike corridors are in pretty good shape; east-west needs to be beefed up. Cyclists shouldn’t have to fear for their lives just getting between the city’s main districts. It will mean pinching already heavy car flow on major arterials, but that’s an inconvenient truth of reducing car dependence.

More bike racks. It sounds screwy, but Seattle is running out of places to lock up bikes, particularly downtown. Especially at festivals, conferences and conventions, or grocery and department stores — anywhere large numbers of people converge — not only are existing racks woefully inadequate, even light pole availability becomes scarce. New construction still fails to take increased cycling traffic into account, an example being Trader Joe’s in Ballard. As we’ve noted on several occasions as well, bike racks should not be put in the nether regions of underground or covered parking garages, where theft is easier and the “door-to-door” time advantage and convenience of riding a bike is lost.

Better law enforcement. Cascade will resume its valiant efforts to pass legislation at the state level to improve traffic justice for riders and walkers. Although the state Supreme Court ruled that state law overrides local jurisdictions, police can still give out tickets and otherwise make their presence known when drivers endanger cyclists. There needs to be heightened awareness that cyclists truly do belong on city corridors and do not relinquish the legal system’s protections for street users simply because they are not sitting behind the wheel of a car.

Setting an example. McGinn drew attention during the campaign for commenting how he would change the go-everywhere-by-car policy of gas-guzzling Mayor Greg Nickels. Now’s his chance to show exactly how, and to provide a model for dignitaries everywhere about what it means to reduce four-wheel transport to two.

Bicycle advocacy in city government. We’re no fan of bureaucratic featherbedding, but cyclists have been under-represented in City Hall for so long (even though Nickels improved somewhat) that enhancing their presence at the planning table with a few good administrators would be well worth the salary allocations. Any McGinn/Constantine vision of transportation in Puget Sound that moves commuters out of cars needs to contain huge incentives to go by bike. Mass transit especially should give discounts or other benefits to velo travelers. We need fertile thinking to enter the post-carbon society, and there are a lot of creative bike minds in Seattle that can be tapped by City Hall.

At Cascade, advocacy director David Hiller says the club is looking forward to blue-skying about the future, and to being a driver (so to speak) of policy rather than a check-box constituency to be informed after decisions have been made. Cascade’s tireless efforts to broaden its own identity as well as McGinn’s appeal throughout Seattle, especially among Asian and minority communities, were undoubtedly the difference in the narrow election. The payoff will come with a local political clout rivaled only by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition among urban cycling organizations.

“We’re dreaming the big dreams, all of us, right now,” Hiller said.

This One’s Making the Rounds

In Mountain Biking, Videos on November 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Mountain Biking by 198 billed it the funniest mountain biking video ever, which got me to wondering: Is there another funny mountain biking video around? Anywhere? People? Anyway, substitute your fave trail(s) and this one will have you laughing no matter how much it’s weeping outside…

This Day in Doping

In This Day In Doping on November 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Alberto Fernandez De La Puebla Ramos, whose name in Spanish means “I didn’t do it that’s my story and I’m sticking to it,” is suspended for failing a doping test.