The Spokesmen #92 – The David Hasselhoff of Cycling

Listen now by clicking here: [audio:]


Topics Included:

How to Listen:


  1. Dawud
    December 2, 2012

    Can someone please tell DL Byron to stop playing with his ratchet, or poker chips, or whatever it is during the show. Its really distracting and becomes quote annoying.

  2. SimonJ
    December 3, 2012

    Focus Cyclocross? Really? Not sure if my sarcasm meter was just set too low for a monday morning, but OF COURSE Focus makes cyclocross bikes.

    JPOW? Jeremy Powers? Behind the Barriers? Heard of him? United States Cyclocross Champion who rides for the Rapha-Focus team!

    Focus was the ONLY bike at the UCI World Cup at Tabor, CZ to use disc brakes.

  3. December 3, 2012

    I’d have to defer to my colleagues on that one. As I said on the show (I think), CX isn’t my thing. I don’t follow it, do it, or really know that much about it.

  4. DonB
    December 3, 2012

    Why not as much women cycling, or women sports in general? I don’t know, but it amazes me, too. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to see women’s cycling (e.g. Olympics) it’s been very exciting. We have WNBA in our city and I really enjoy watching when I get a chance. I even prefer women’s soccer to men’s. I think it’s more competitive.

    Of course, as as you pointed out in your show, it’s all about the money. Promoters follow what’s popular and sells ads. I know my preferences don’t often follow those of the general population….but that’s probably true of all cycling fans. All cycle racing, women or men, is a niche market. I guess women cycling is even niche-ier.

  5. DonB
    December 3, 2012

    Got to thinking. I think we’re on the tail end of the Lance Effect. I mean, when Lance was popular it brought pro cycling to the the masses. We enjoyed normal folks (not just cycling outlets) actually talking about our sport. Now we have, what I would call, the Negative Lance Effect. He’s pushed our sport back into obscurity by making a mockery of real athleticism. That’s the sense I get when talking with non-cycling fans.

    It was good while it lasted, but I wonder how much longer even NBC Sports (Universal, etc…) will continue to cover this obscure sport. Well, at least we have the internet and By the way, has some women cycling links, but even there they are not nearly as prevalent as the men’s events.

  6. December 3, 2012

    Hey Dawud, I was making a sandwich. Turkey on gluten free bread.

  7. December 3, 2012

    Gee, thanks for mentioning bread, Byron. After 4+ weeks of eating paleo, I was just starting to forget that bread even exists. Now I have to go eat a huge steak so that I don’t backslide and head to my favorite local bagel bakery. Sheesh.

  8. December 3, 2012

    @simon, there’s a recent article in the NYT about sarcasm, the importance of it and that was a joke meant for Tim Jackson, a regular on the show and the new marketing manager for Focus.

  9. Jim Martin
    December 4, 2012

    Both California Bike Racing and ACA/BRCA (Colorado) in the last year or so have bowed to the power of USA Cycling. The power held by USA Cycling seems to be the license upgrade and rankings issues. Seems Oregon and Washington don’t care as much about those issues.

  10. December 4, 2012

    @jim correct.

  11. December 4, 2012

    Dl Byron is your head buried in the sand did you not see the results of what’s appending in the USA? Latinos are exploding buddy, we are not all riding our bikes to go wash dishes. This is your view of Latinos riding our bikes to go wash dishes? Currently in my garage are over 5 k in bikes and even more in kits in my closet. The biking industry should be working on the Latino community guys like you are ignorant dinosaurs that are going extinct . How are people going to feel welcomed with comments like yours?

  12. December 4, 2012

    Julio, your comment is taking our discussion out of context. What we were talking about what was how white male dominated the sport and industry is. A glaring example of that is when attending Interbike, where expensive bikes are celebrated, outside of the convention halls, the cyclists you see on the streets are latinos riding to and from work in the casino kitchens on Walmart bikes. Your point is valid, but we weren’t labeling latinos as low-end bike riders. The opposite is true, as you say or with choppers in LA, racers, and whoever else rides like you.

  13. Drew in NJ
    December 6, 2012

    David and the Spokes-men,

    Greetings from the Jersey Shore where we are still digging out from Sandy. Thanks for the well wishes.

    I have a few opinions on the conversations you had on the last show 1-DEC.

    First, about Lance. I actually do still not consider him “guilty”. I base this on the fact that not long ago a real investigative group looked into these allegations and found insufficient evidence to proceed to a real trial. USADA took the results of this investigation and declared Lance guilty anyway. He as I understand it is frustrated and sees no end to having to repeatedly defend himself from attacks from all sides. If a real court with a rigorously established Standard of Evidence says it can’t find enough, should that not be enough to stop the charades?

    Perhaps I’m drinking kool-aid. I really don’t care anyway as I don’t know Lance and after all we are talking about an entertainer, but it seems to me that this is not really that fair play I hear people screaming for in the doping conversation to begin with. I am also curious why Jim didn’t bring up this point, either to argue for it or show why legally it might be fallacious, maybe he can address these points in the next show? I’m not a lawyer and am curious.

    Moving on to why bicycle racing is predominantly male. This to me is obvious and I’m surprised no one could answer the question. Remember back to your childhood. The girls in my neighborhood used their bikes as a means to an end. They would ride from A to B and then do whatever mysterious things little girls did. My buddies and I though, as often as not saw our bikes AS the end. We set up ramps and race courses and had competitions with each other all the time. I. Follows naturally that many more boys would attempt organized racing than girls who are interested. With the video games and lack of cycling these days it may change soon.

    Why is cycling as a sport seem to be dominated by Caucasians? I think two reasons, at least in North America. First, there are more of us, hence the term minority to describe other ethnic groups. It stands to reason we would dominate in numbers alone anything we are interested in. Second cycling is predominantly a suburban sport for kids. It is hard for children to ride in cities and there are, or were back when I was a child almost no minority families in the burbs. They tended to live in more urban environments and maybe didn’t have the exposure to cycling we did. The number of minority sport riders I see has gone up recently as more minority families move out to places where it is easier to ride.

    Lastly I think sports on tv is dominated by males for a very big reason, and all you marketers should have seen it straight away. What is the largest group of people who consume pro sports? Did you say men? Ding ding ding. We can address why men don’t want to watch women compete in most any sport, ill offer a few quick thoughts.

    First, many guys wish to fantasize about being on the big stage. That is hard to do if you are watching some one you could never be like, such as a woman.

    Guys who are almost good enough or think they are alma of good enough to have been pro may not be impressed enough with what women can do to watch.

    Guys who stink at sports but like them probably don’t want to see women perform at levels they can only dream of.

    If more women were interested in watching sports then I think we would see more pro women leagues and see them on tv more. Of course women may be interested in watching women but not men so perhaps it is Chicken/egg thing and may never be resolved. That’s too bad because I have seen some really great completions with women and was just as excited as watching men compete. Olympics anyone?

    Anyway, just a few thoughts. I’m interested in your thoughts.

    Great shows, your fan, Drew in NJ

  14. December 6, 2012


    Thanks for your message. Here are my thoughts on it.

    You know that I disagree with you about Lance Armstrong. Here are just a few of my reasons.

    The real investigative group you mentioned was the FDA and the United States Attorneys Office, led by investigator Jeff Novitzki. They were not investigating use of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong per se, but were instead looking into fraud and RICO-type charges because the US Postal Service, who sponsored Armstrong’s team, is a pseudo-governmental agency. The issue at hand was whether or not Armstrong committed fraud by taking bonus money, if he won races by using PEDs. By dropping the case, the US Attorney wasn’t saying that Armstrong didn’t use PEDs, but many believe that what he was saying is that he couldn’t find evidence that a crime was committed within the jurisdiction of the US Attorney (i.e. inside the United States).

    So the abrupt conclusion of their investigation without charges does not indicate that he, Armstrong, is innocent, guilty, or that they didn’t find any evidence of PED use. It only indicates that they dropped their investigation. They are under no obligation to explain why. So we can’t say that they found insufficient evidence, as you mentioned.

    What was curious to me, and many others, was the timing of their announcement. By making an announcement on the Friday of Super Bowl weekend, they were guaranteed to have little attention paid by the mass media. This is one of those days that is well-known by PR agencies as the best time to make an announcement and have it buried.

    As for USADA’s decision, it was by the book, and the final decision to strip him of his titles was just and correct. Despite his protestations and arrogance in the face of the anti-doping authority of record for American athletes whose sports are governed by the International Olympic Committee, Armstrong was investigated and charged by the proper authority. He chose (this is a critical point) a path akin to pleading No Contest in court, knowing full well that by doing so he would be sanctioned. I believe he thought that he could fight the sanction and win (he didn’t), and I also believe that by playing the victim, he would win in the court of public opinion (he has, in some cases). He could have had his day in court, but he chose this path and therefore must accept the consequences.

    I have read every page of USADA’s Reasoned Decision and the supporting documents. I simply do not understand how anyone who has also read these documents can believe that Armstrong is innocent. I have repeatedly asked my audience for anyone who has similarly read all of the documents in this case to tell me how they can still believe that Armstrong raced clean for the entirety of his career. I have yet to have anyone challenge the documents, affidavits and depositions. The only challenges are based upon emotion or the press releases, cover stories and diversions of Armstrong and his cohorts.

    I am angry and disappointed about this situation and what it means about professional cycling over the past decade or so. I wasted hours and days of my time on a sport that was, in my view, tainted. I do not see Armstrong as a victim, I see cycling fans as the victims. The process of investigation and judgment was fair, and as a result I feel cheated and lied to by Armstrong and the rest of the racers of his era. Reminds me of Nixon saying he wasn’t a crook and Clinton saying he never had sexual relations with Lewinsky.

    (deep breath)

    Now, as for your comments on why cycling is a predominantly white male sport . . . I think your comments and insights are spot on. I will share them with the listeners and The Spokesmen the next time we raise this topic on the show. I have been criticized for not paying enough attention to women’s pro cycling on my shows, but as I do not regularly follow women’s cycling I would not be an authority on the topic. My shows are not general cycling news shows, they are shows devoted to people like me . . . Freds.

    I hope the above provides my perspective on the issues you’ve raised. Thanks again for your note and, most importantly, thanks for listening!



  15. Drew
    December 19, 2012

    Well I broke down and purchased Hamilton’s book. I can certainly see how someone who wants Armstrong to be a doper finds evidence there, however it just rings hollow. There are two conspiracy theory moments in the positive test during the Tour of Switzerland and then with the Federal Prosecutor dropping the case for reasons other than not enough evidence. If we are to believe the UCI, the lab, the US government and how many people involved are covering up? I know Lance got paid but how much $$ can he spread around in bribes?

    All in all Tyler sounds like a bitter ex- team mate who got shafted and now has an axe to grind. He may well be telling the truth but his word is not beyond reasonable doubt and for me that is what it takes to declare some one “guilty”. Ill check the USADA document and check back in.

  16. December 19, 2012

    Drew: I will be looking forward to your thoughts after you read the USADA Reasoned Decision and supporting documents. I think you’ll find that it corresponds to the Hamilton book pretty closely.

  17. Drew
    January 15, 2013

    Well it sounds like Lance is confessing to Oprah, I guess we will find out Thursday.
    I didn’t get to the USADA document but did read From Lance To Landis. The only thing of interest I read there was about the markers used to detect testosterone doping should have been triggered by his cancer but was not seen. Otherwise it’s all the same as I have seen in other accounts, people with obvious agendas making claims that are impossible to prove and/or are contradicted by the accounts of others. I truly think that is why the Federal Prosecutor dropped the charges, his evidence was compromisable and a conviction was not certain. I’m still gonna get to that USADA document but more to decide whether it is a group worth respecting in the future. From what David says its pretty much what I’ve already read and as such so much claptrap.

    As for the possible confession on O. I don’t get it but its not my story. I doubt there are very many people who truly think he raced clean but coming out now is just dumb IMO. If he does admit to it the. I hope he at least has more character than the others who have come out before him. The whole story is predictable from the “yeah I did” down to the ” but I was coerced and now my conscience can’t take it” BS that Floyd and Tyler have paraded out amongst others.
    Just man up and say doping was an option and I decided to take that road and move on.

    Anyway I suppose there will be a Spokes-men show shortly !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.