Shoally You Jest

I was looking at the Twitter yesterday when I saw this:

Presumably I’m the last person to know there’s now something called the National Cycling League, and it’s the “future of professional cycling:”

To that end, they’ve set forth their vision using various cultural buzzwords:

The founder, Paris Wallace, is an Entrepreneur In Residence at Harvard Business School, which I didn’t even know was a thing (Entrepreneur In Residence, that is, not Harvard Business School), as well as the founder of at least two health-related companies:

I’m all for entrepreneurs and bikes and bike racing and people getting paid to race bikes and more opportunities for people to watch other people race bikes, so I wish everybody involved with this endeavor nothing but the best. However, while the United States has had its share of big races:

They’ve never been the sort of monumental generation-spanning events that become a permanent part of the mainstream sports culture, like the Classics and Grand Tours of Europe, or the Superbowl here in America, or the Canada Cup of Curling in that other country–what’s it called again?–right, Canada:

[Such a beautiful sport. Holy shit. The concentration and determination is fucking inspiring.]

Moreover, as the founder of the NCL, Paris Wallace joins quite a rogues’ gallery of other charismatic entrepreneurs who have vainly attempted to ride the sputtering comet of cycling to glory and fallen short, including pants mogul Michael Ball:

And of course this guy:

They should have called it the “Tour de Mullet.”

Alas, things didn’t turn out well for either of them: Ball went bankrupt, and Trump was forced to become president of the United States, which is even worse. So let’s hope Wallace can avoid both those potential pitfalls and emerge from the wreckage with his dignity intact.

All of this is to say I’m more than willing to give the NCL a chance, though I wouldn’t put money on it. As for the teams, they include the Denver Disruptors;

Who embody American multiculturalism:

As well as the Miami Nights:

Who embody American multiculturalism:

Hopefully they NCL does take off and the league starts selling franchises, because I would totally purchase one and call it the New York Shoalers:

New York City is the city of selfishness. The New York Shoalers team kit reflects this, as it consists only of a pair of jeans cut low at the waist so as to foist the riders’ ass cracks upon the world. Inspired by crappy Citi Bikes, salmoning in bike lanes, and generally not giving a fuck, the Shoalers will be the worst team in the NCL, though in true New York fashion they’ll blame everybody else for it. They’re guaranteed to be the most-hated team in the league, unless Boston or Philadelphia field one–or Portland, though tall bikes are currently banned from NCL events so as of now that’s unlikely.

Speaking of shoalers, the practice is often associated with sexism, male aggression, toxic masculinity, and so forth. However, as I’ve noted before, I invented the term after being shoaled by a woman:

And any shoals that form in front of me are invariably co-ed:

However, at the risk of perpetuating gender stereotypes, it is worth looking more closely at the participants in a typical shoal:

Notice that the women appear to be cycling casually and elegantly, their shoes open of toe and their hair and scarves flowing free, whereas the men are total helmeted dweebs who look like they are soldiers in a massive dork army headed off to the world’s doofiest battle. Moreover, while they’ve all shoaled the shit out of me, the male goofballs in their foam hats of fury have taken the lead position, whereas the women are quite shrewdly using them as human shields and at the same time taking full advantage of the one schmuck who actually stops where he’s supposed to, said schmuck being Jörs Trüli.

I’m not sure what conclusion to draw from this, though it does support my theory that bike helmets make you stupid.

As for racing road bikes, I suspect we’d all be better off if we came to terms with the fact that, in America anyway, it’s a sport for middle-aged hobbyists. This is certainly true in New York City, where there’s always been a robust road racing scene centered mainly in Central and Prospect Parks, and here’s a video I recently came across that captures it perfectly:

Say what you will about the Fredly lifestyle, but it feels good to get home at 9am on a weekend with a full day’s riding in your legs and the rest of the day still ahead of you.

Finally, it looks like Campy is losing its only remaining Campy-esque feature, that being the thumb shift nubbin:

I suppose as a vestige of its mechanical origins it was only a matter of time before it vanished, but it’s sad anyway, because once Campy abandons cable-actuated shifting at the high end it’s gone forever.

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