At Boultbee Towers we have been looking on with dismay at the preponderance of pile-ups in this year’s Tour de France. To find out why our boys seem currently bent on crashing their bicycles at the drop of a hat, we’ve done some homework, and find ourselves this morning in a position to advance a theory or two.
The Big April Proofide Heist- We managed to keep it out of the papers at the time, but earlier this year, a large consignment of Proofide was stolen from a truck shortly after it had rolled off the ferry at Calais. Originally bound for several Dealers Of Excellence on the Continent, we had wondered how the thieves might successfully manage to fence several hundred thousand cans of saddle unguent. But now it seems they may have been more intent on “pranking” than “banking”, and by night are quite possibly slathering sections of each Stage with the stuff.
Pointy Saddles- Formerly the only perch for a serious contender, nowadays hardly a single Tour rider uses a Brooks in competition. The current trend is for lighter, pointier things which save the cyclist a couple of supposedly precious ounces in cargo. But a sudden switch of position in such a saddle can famously cause sensitive regions to snag or get poked. The ensuing automatic reaction of shock and pain can cause other riders to become momentarily distracted, and from there it’s just a short hop to the scenes we have been witnessing the past ten days.
Cars- Well, a car. That one didn’t require much homework.
The Breathtaking Scenery- The organizers have truly outdone themselves in 2011 with a range of Stages around the glorious French countryside. Whose soul would not be moved to poetry when confronted with the rolling majesty of Brittany or the country’s Central Plain? At the very least, one’s impulse would be to unthinkingly reach for one’s camera, perhaps catching a fellow rider in the face with one’s elbow in the process. Hence spills. All we’re saying is, a couple of laps around downtown Le Havre, par example, might help racers remained focused on their more immediate surroundings.
Google Plus- Coincidence? We don’t think so.
Absence of Hoxton Basket on Front of Most of the Bikes- The Hoxton conveys a subliminal message to those around it. “Hey. Slow down. Don’t overtake me. Give me some space here. Thank you!” We’re already discussing plans with several teams for 2012.
Small Jersey Pockets- Generally the classic three-verticals set-up is only spacious enough to store energy bars. But one big horizontal pocket could amply stow a large buttered baguette packed to bursting with some jambon, or fromage, or both.
Small Bottle Holders- If bottle holders had a wider diameter, they’d be able to carry a flacon of some halfways acceptable red or other. If riders had this, plus a good sandwich to look forward to, we could guarantee from personal experience a crash-free afternoon’s racing. Rain or no rain.
Too Many Riders Allowed Take Part- Less is famously More, so the Tour needs to take a leaf out of boutique cycling events like the Seersucker Social or the Tweed Run. Cap entry at around sixty, that way you only have the serious people, and they’re not all going to ride around crashing into each other, are they?
All That Coffee They Drink- Too much caffeine makes people jittery. Jittery people riding quickly en masse often touch wheels. Switch all that espresso out for milky cups of Earl Grey all round with maybe a spoon of sugar and race organisers will be assured of a less jittery (and therefore less crash-y) peloton.