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I see docents

– I’ll die someday & I spend time daily trying to get cool with the idea. When my time comes I hope it’s not on the bike. And if that’s how it happens, I bet it won’t be because I ran a red light. I’m a red light running connoisseur, and when I do so it’s almost always for self-preservation.

Dewey beats Truman.

– Open invitation: Track me down after the day is done and I’ll buy your dinner and pick up the bar tab to boot. I’m quite pleased to have my training raison d’etre for 2010 buttoned up so early.

– The nearly-vanished-for-good blogger cyclingfansanonymous did us the kind favor of listing his RSS feeds. If you’re looking to freshen up your feed reader, there’s a lot of inspiration here.

– 2010 Tour of California, #1: When I think ToC, I think of Levi Leipheimer. His fellow Sonoma County residents are being struck with a case of vocal self-love endemic to Portland and Boulder. If it’s really that good (and I suspect it may well be), they’d be well-advised to keep it secret. Discretion has its rewards.

– 2010 Tour of California, #2: The final day Los Angeles circuit race stage takes in a climb called the ‘Rock Store.’ A friend of mine said it’s best known for this. Here’s to hoping it comes down to the sort of twisty-turny last stage drama we’ve gotten accustomed to in the last few years of Paris-Nice. That’s a great race to emulate.

– Amer Sports’ feverish attempt to unload Mavic continues. A free Competitive Cyclist T-Shirt to the best guesses as to who the European & Taiwanese bidders might be.

– The layout of this blog is ripe for ridicule -- The bold font cluster-bombing. The cheesy sticky-note graphics. The Y-Teens font inside said sticky notes -- But of inverse proportion is the quality of the article therein. It’s probably the 2nd most important thing written about the bike biz in 2009. The author is wise to point out that there are a finite number of decent bike shops in America (i.e. can provide adequate service AND have better-than-3rd world financing on their books.) Once Specialized and Trek gobble these dealers up, how will they derive the growth they’re obsessed with? IMHO it has to be the internet. At what point will Specialized and Trek stop demonizing online bicycle sales and instead take their natural evolutionary next step: Selling their bikes consumer-direct online? Based on the success Canyon Bicycles is having in Europe in consumer-direct sales (no, their profitability is not a function of the fact Cuddles races on a Canyon), the risk isn’t as great as some make it to be.

Detoxing themselves from their one-and-only sales channel, dealer-direct sales, will force Specialized & Trek to address the most screwed up thing about the bike industry: Its fanatical focus on dealer happiness. The lack of time spent on pursuing consumer happiness is alarming. If there is anything keeping Specialized and Trek from selling consumer-direct it might be their dumb-and-dumber grasp of the consumer. I’m not talking about marketing pizzazz or making their products appealing in other superficial ways. Rather, it’s about building authentic brand accessibility to consumers. How many tales have I heard of consumers calling a bike company and getting told ‘You’re not a dealer!’ and all but getting hung up on by an inside sales rep (who makes 100% of their commission off of, of course, dealer sales?) Crap response times by manufacturers to consumer email sends the same message. Relying on brick-and-mortar as the sole means of giving consumers access to bikes or small parts overtly deprives them of the opportunity to buy -- arguably the ultimate way of turning them off.

Excellent article by a rapidly rising star in cycling journalism, Podium Insight. In case you needed a reminder at the impact of the global economic mess on pro cycling, you get it here. At this point a year ago the 2009 NRC was projected to be 34 events with a total purse of $1.381m. Right now, the 2010 NRC is projected to be 27 races at $981k. And just a few days after this article was penned, the late season European semi-classic Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt said kaput due to funding issues.

– I am an unrepentant voyeur. And cqranking makes it even easier with this, their semi-authoritative list of twittering PROs.

– The most important thing written about the bike biz in 2009? From an unexpected source: Bikesnobnyc. He’s not his usual cynical-comic self here. Rather, it’s his take on something that has long driven us batty: The bike industry’s annual need to issue new model years on everything. Please, industry, quit devaluing our inventory investment in August every year!

This guy has been following pro bike racing for, like, 15 minutes.

– A big week for banned words around here. This link to a funky new Boston bike shop terrified us. Not the shop, which we’d definitely buy a T-shirt from & who is getting kudos galore for their unpretentious disposition + the great party they put on last weekend. Rather, it’s the name of the website linked above. ‘Curated’? Before 2009 was the verb ‘to curate’ ever used out of the context of an art museum? The idea that day-in-day-out existence can be ‘curated’ is a gross overestimation of the value of one’s own experience of the quotidian. Have you noted (as, sadly, we have) the recent proliferation of the verb ‘curate’ throughout hipster media outlets? These would-be tastemakers have a joyless, preening vibe (‘preensters’?) and a trait they all likely share is the A- each got in a long-bygone Art History seminar b/c of the semester’s worth of free weed they gave the professor in lieu of intellectual stimulation. The level of pretension-without-substance intrinsic to making a serious attempt of ‘curation’ outside the museum context bespeaks grand insecurity. There’s a long way between a curator and a docent. And I’m just the security guard over there asking you not to touch the paintings and praying to God to stay awake. So in case you’re keeping score, our banned word list is: robust, artisan, and curate.

– Nomination for banned word #4: This one terrifies me. ‘PRO’? Two people, now, have said it’s an inside joke with no fuel left in the tank. I use it as a tribute to the dearly departed Belgian Knee Warmers. It’s a word that has meaning to me. I know what it implies. I’m getting resistance. I can’t bear to ban it…but I’ve been in a banning mood of late…