Outta the way, fatboys!  photo-Steephill.tv

Walk Don’t Run

Walk Don’t Run

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That any cyclist can enter the same arena with the same equipment as the professional helps to make cycling an awesome sport. True, the same thing could be said for golf or tennis but as a fan you can’t stand a meter away from any of those pros and scream encouragement. “Come on Tiger, RIP THAT FUCKER!” And if you attempt entry into Wimbledon wearing a super-fat inflatable sumo wrestler outfit, good luck to you.

Just because you can does not mean you should. Fan behavior has spun out of control on the Grand Tours. I breath a sigh of relief when the riders make it to the protection of the barriers toward the top of each mountain stage. I swear it started with Americans, as usual, during the Tour of California. People were dressing up and acting obnoxious, in hopes of getting on tv. Obviously this has been going on long before the Tour of California but before it seemed these were spectators who were there to watch bike racers go by yet felt compelled to dress up like giant…somethings. At TOC it was all about themselves. 

Now that behavior has spread to Europe, perhaps it is Americans on vacation but we can’t afford to travel anymore so I’m afraid the cat is out of the bag. Literally, I saw a giant cat pawing the air at the Giro. 

Obviously I don’t understand any of this and I sound like a crank. So be it. I love watching a bike race from the side of the road and I am usually silent, mouth agape when riders go by, holy shiet, they are fast, they are skinny. I approve of yelling and cowbells. I don’t know what compels people to run along side a rider and scream into his or her face. Why?

I have huge respect for professional cyclists, maybe more than they deserve. They are the current embodiment of all the pros that have gone before them. I can’t cheer Fiorenzo Magni going by, and I wouldn’t ever want to get so close as to disturb his line. I afford any current pro the same respect and fully endorse any racer who stiff arms some drunken fan who gets too close.

Here is my starter list for fans that need to be held in small tents with drunk Dutch when the riders pass by. Oh, these people have had their chances and they have abused them.

Cheap bastards who use the tv coverage for their cheap motor home ads

Religious nuts who flash biblical verse toward the tv moto

That guy with the antler helmet

The human sized bike bottle fool

The devil, that’s right, he has had his run

The inflatable sumo people

The four year olds running unleashed 

I think we should not crush the ambitions of the Borat-in-mono-kini crew, I don’t know what drives them but somehow, for some unknowable reason, I like them.

Some argue professional cycling is just entertainment, adults riding bikes, but I know there are many cyclists out there who see it as more than just entertainment, it’s, in some way, a reflection of life, and it deserves a little respect.

// Etiquette

  1. This was my favourite from last years TdF.  Self regulation!  That’s what we should be encouraging.  Spectator on Spectator action is always the most entertaining…

  2. Way back in 1910 everything was orderly.  Single gear, unsealed roads, the fans gave room for Octave Lapize on the Col du Tourmalet.

  3. Great call for respect and decency, Gianni. I fail to understand why people do this. I guess, mainly, the want to feel special for a few seconds. There was a funny recent New Yorker cartoon showing two people playing with their phones. One is saying to the other, “I want my 15 seconds of fame, then I want it to disappear.” I thought that was an amusing, but ultimately depressing, commentary on the lust for fame these days.

    I went to the CX WC’s in Louisville and all I did was cheer like mad. I could never, ever imagine running or throwing or disturbing a PRO as they undertake their profession. How terrible.

    wiscot – WOW! That is strong work! Really enjoyed those.

  4. @sthilzy

    Way back in 1910 everything was orderly. Single gear, unsealed roads, the fans gave room for Octave Lapize on the Col du Tourmalet.

    I think you will find that as a frenchman Octave Lapize was probably benefitting from thefrench crowd giving him a little “help” rather in a similar fashion to the Tifosi.  They are also blocking the road (although back then with far less riders and much more time gaps this may have had little effect).

    However if I recall (A race for madmen is a great read) back in the day the french supporters used to tear the Belgians off their bikes, beat the crap out of them and then send them on their way.  I am not so sure whether it was quite as glorious as you imagine back then, although the re-occurance of tacks in the road last year was a definite nod to the past.

  5. The absolute worst is when they impact the outcome of a race or a stage. It’s one thing to make an ass of yourself on international tele but another to effect another man’s livelihood and the experience of fans worldwide just so you can prove what an ass you are.

  6. @Deakus

    @sthilzy

    Way back in 1910 everything was orderly. Single gear, unsealed roads, the fans gave room for Octave Lapize on the Col du Tourmalet.

    I think you will find that as a frenchman Octave Lapize was probably benefitting from thefrench crowd giving him a little “help” rather in a similar fashion to the Tifosi. They are also blocking the road (although back then with far less riders and much more time gaps this may have had little effect).

    However if I recall (A race for madmen is a great read) back in the day the french supporters used to tear the Belgians off their bikes, beat the crap out of them and then send them on their way. I am not so sure whether it was quite as glorious as you imagine back then, although the re-occurance of tacks in the road last year was a definite nod to the past.

    Yes, probably not add glorious, but at least the pictures look classier.

  7. @therealpeel

    @Deakus

    @sthilzy

    Way back in 1910 everything was orderly. Single gear, unsealed roads, the fans gave room for Octave Lapize on the Col du Tourmalet.

    I think you will find that as a frenchman Octave Lapize was probably benefitting from thefrench crowd giving him a little “help” rather in a similar fashion to the Tifosi. They are also blocking the road (although back then with far less riders and much more time gaps this may have had little effect).

    However if I recall (A race for madmen is a great read) back in the day the french supporters used to tear the Belgians off their bikes, beat the crap out of them and then send them on their way. I am not so sure whether it was quite as glorious as you imagine back then, although the re-occurance of tacks in the road last year was a definite nod to the past.

    Yes, probably not add glorious, but at least the pictures look classier.

    That photo is fine. People are crowding the rider and running along next to him. At least no one is is wearing a multi-colored wig or wearing a chicken outfit. But I bet someone is a little drunk in that photo too. It’s good to be reminded how far back this whole thing goes.

  8. @sthilzy

    Way back in 1910 everything was orderly. Single gear, unsealed roads, the fans gave room for Octave Lapize on the Col du Tourmalet.

    They gave him room and, I think respect. The biggest difference is that the spectators in the Lapize pic are dressed normally. They’re not wearing some stupid costume seeking a few seconds of fame on TV. The latter seems to be indicative of Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” comment, except in this case the 15 minutes are achieved through the possibility of watching a few seconds of highlight film hundreds and hundreds of times.

    Has anyone else seen the “Respect” videos put out by ASO featuring top Pros? Seems like ASO are very worried that things are getting out of hand and don’t want their race negatively affected by some douche interfering with the riders. If you don’t respect the riders, at least respect yourself and stay home in your stupid costume.

  9. @Nate

    Dirk Hoffman Motorhomes is OK by me. It’s low key and is sort of an under the radar meme.

    Fans going nuts like this are OK

    The rest of these fuckers can fuck off. Didi in particular, he is a faded and unfortunate icon of the Lance era.

    Interesting picture here. As far as I know, I’ve never seen fans chasing a rider up one of the Murs in Flanders. Admittedly, there’s not much room to do so, but something tells me the hard core Belgie boys would take swift action on your costumed ass.

  10. @Deakus

    This was my favourite from last years TdF. Self regulation! That’s what we should be encouraging. Spectator on Spectator action is always the most entertaining…

    Pretty dangerous as the spectator fuck almost goes into the front wheel.

  11. Idiots with national flags! Japan almost took out Porte.

  12. Hahaha, it’s all the Americans fault! Hahahaha!

  13. Don’t know about you. … but I liked the 2nd to last stage on the 2013 TDF when Froome punched that spectator in the face. The part that made it was the commentator s yelling, HE JUST HIT THAT GUY IN THE STOMACH!!

  14. @Ccos

    @Nate

    More of the same. Nice choice, Ted.

    Lord I hope no one took anything from the dude with the muffin top. ‘Aint nothing good happening there.

    That dude weirded me out; he’s got the guns in pretty shape, but Lord help whoever has to wake up to the rest of that package every morning. Hard to reconcile.

  15. Is it a Grand Tour or stage race thing maybe? This year the Giro seemed to have more idiots than normal, the Tour is very stressful to watch on TV as you are waiting for some tool to do something stupid.

    This year we were at Amstel Gold, Fleche and LBL  races (and rode the sportives the day prior to each)  and we saw few, if any idiots. Even on La Redoute at the Phil Gilbert fan club AKA massive beer ten,t the fans were very pissed but well behaved.

  16. @unversio

    Idiots with national flags! Japan almost took out Porte.

    ……and Froome still looking at stem while all this shenanigans is going on!

  17. @sthilzy Ah, but Froome isn’t human. He uses his Batfink like senses to see his way through the crowds. Plus Porte as his whipping boy….

  18. There are so many layers of understanding in cycling. For example, as Gianni mentions, what other sport let’s you interact so intensely with the pro’s while they are competing? When done right, it’s a thing of beauty:

  19. I fully support racers throat punching these flaming douche bags.  Although the antler guy seems to stay out of the way, I would be amused if someone would grab one of the horns, and rip that helmet off the guys head.

  20. @VeloSix

    I fully support racers throat punching these flaming douche bags. Although the antler guy seems to stay out of the way, I would be amused if someone would grab one of the horns, and rip that helmet off the guys head.

    Antler guy, I don’t want to know more about him, life is too short already. I hope his parents are proud of him.

    @Darrenberg Trenchfoot

    Yeah, that is beautiful.

  21. @Nate

    I have got a lot of money to give to someone who can help find me one of those Colnago sweaters

     

    Dirk Hoffman Motorhomes is OK by me. It’s low key and is sort of an under the radar meme.

    Fans going nuts like this are OK

    The rest of these fuckers can fuck off. Didi in particular, he is a faded and unfortunate icon of the Lance era.

  22. @sthilzy

    @unversio

    Idiots with national flags! Japan almost took out Porte.

    ……and Froome still looking at stem while all this shenanigans is going on!

    Gah! Beat me to it.

  23. The Police are looking for the tool that pushed the rider onto the wheel at the Giro. The report said the fine wouldn’t be much but at least it’s something.

    The thing about that tool that annoyed me is he regretted doing it, then minutes later was pushing another rider! I’ve been unexpectedly pushed and it scares the shit out of out making you loose concentration and your rythm. People like that need to be drawn and quartered.

  24. @DeKerr

    @sthilzy

    @unversio

    Idiots with national flags! Japan almost took out Porte.

    ……and Froome still looking at stem while all this shenanigans is going on!

    Gah! Beat me to it.

    To be fair to Froome he appears to be eating – isn’t that the incident when Porte went back for a gel?

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