Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weight Weenies

Ah, cyclists.  Among our other issues (shaved legs, saddle sores, spandex), many of us suffer from the delusion that the only possible thing standing between us and Tour de France glory is the extra 3 grams we're carrying around, unnecessarily, on our bicycle.  We go to extreme, and often absurd lengths to shave grams.  Well, not extreme or absurd, just extremely and absurdly expensive.  

You see, most cyclists won't go to extreme or even ordinary efforts to eliminate the extra 3 (or 30,000) grams they're carrying around on their ass.  If you go into most any bike shop, but especially one in an expensive suburb, you'll see a steady procession of average looking guys looking to spend almost any amount to save a bit of weight on their bike.  Because excess weight makes you slower.  And, by my reckoning, every gram of weight slows you down by at least 11.3 mph, so going from an 18.5 pound average bike to a sub-seven pound featherweight will make you 140 mph faster.  Yep, it's science (though not necessarily sound mathematical reasoning).  

Just to illustrate for any non-believers out there, the friendly people at Speedplay make a wide variety of road pedals, all of which have the same performance (you know, they hold your foot), varying only in physical materials and thus weight.  Their baseline pedal weighs 305 grams and costs $115.  Their top of the line pedal weighs 218.5 grams and costs $630.  That's negative 86.5 grams for $515, or $2,703 a (negative) pound!  Just for reference, negative pedal weight costs more than actual weight of marijuana, and is significantly less enjoyable.  

So why are we all so dumb?  Two words.

Lance Armstrong.

Yep, I pin this one squarely on ol' Lancey.  See, before Lance came along, the guys winning professional bike races looked like this:


Yeah, the kind of guy who had no problem eating and even carrying a tray of pastries during a race, because it looks fucking cool.  Alright, to be fair, maybe a tray of dessert is not the most badass example, but this definitely is:

Smoking and endurance sports?  Nothing cooler.

My point is, cycling used to be cool, until Lance and his team of nerds sucked the fun out of it and made it all about results and winning.  I want to go back to the good old days, when it didn't matter if you failed to win because you were carrying some extra weight, as long as you were enjoying yourself.  Really, which of these situations would you rather find yourself in?

No comments:

Post a Comment