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Subaru Drives Cycling
By Andrew Juskaitis
Like many of you, I’ve spent a good chunk of my cycling season parked infront of my TV watching OLN’s impressive road and mountain bike racingcoverage. And with that coverage I’ve received an equally significant shareof marketing bombardment from our cycling-friendly friends at Subaru NorthAmerica. You know the pitch, somewhere between 15 and 20 times an hour,you get a healthy does of Lance telling you he (and the latest Subaru model)are, “Driven By What’s Inside.”
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I fail to make a firm connection betweenthe motivational “drive” it takes a cyclist to win five consecutive Toursand the all-wheel “drive” that Subaru uses on it vehicles, but hey, atleast they’re supporting cycling-and that’s a good thing, right?
So when it came time to trade-in the ol’ Volkswagen for a more Colorado-friendly vehicle, Lance’s little voice helped drive my butt over to the local Subaru dealership for a little window shopping. There I was greeted by a friendly salesman (as well a six foot smiling Lance cardboard cutout) who answered my pricing and technical questions (the salesman, not Lance) with great aplomb.
When he found out I worked for cycling publication, he had plenty ofquestions of his own. “Why does Lance need teammates,” he inquired.
“How hard can it really be to win a bike race,” he followed-upwith. While my rudimentary answers seemed to satisfy his curiosity, I’msure he left the conversation firmly believing that a fourth down quarterbackoption on the five yard line with six seconds left on the clock was a farmore impressive display of athletic skill than pedaling one’s bike up amountain in France.
Regardless of our differences of opinions regarding cycling as a sport,I left our meeting thinking how cool it was to even have a discussion likethat. Think about crawling into an Oldsmobile dealership in the mid-80’sand try talking cycling turkey with the chain-smoking salesman. Andy Hampstenwho? Greg LeMond what?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand Lance was hired on by Subaru solelyto sell more cars, not ’cause the marketing department loves bikes. He’sa pawn in their marketing campaign targeted to a younger, more active demographic.
But consider that point for a minute. Out of all the candidates to choosefrom to headline its campaign they chose a cyclist. Yep, a skinny guy inLycra is getting paid millions of dollars to help hawk cars to mainstreamAmerica. Not bad.
And yep, if you were at all wondering, I fell for the pitch. I’m nowmotoring around the greater Denver area in a WRX wagon (in World RallyChampionship Blue, of course) and I feel pretty good about it. I get agreat car for my needs, I help line Lance’s worthy pockets and in someconvoluted way, I’m letting Subaru know I was listening to its ever-repetitivecycling-based campaign. Now maybe I can get some sort of exclusionary filterinstalled on my cable service to allow me to skip any further Suby brainwashingand cut right back to the racing action…And a UCI Disc Brake for ‘Cross Bikes Update
Just received this letter from Craig Wright over at Redline Bicycles(which has a fair stake in promoting the legality of disc brakes on ‘crossbikes because of its commitment to disc adaptable frames and use of disc-adaptableVeloMax wheelsets). Wright had put in an inquiry to the UCI (as did VeloNews)hoping to divine the rationale behind the decision to ban disc brakes fromthe pro category at UCI sanctioned events. Wright received this responsea few weeks later:
The board of UCI is attached to keep a difference between cyclo-crossand mountain bikes events.We can find there a cultural and historical approach. For massed startroad races inclusive cyclo-cross, there is a specific regulation for thematerial used. On the other hand, for mountain bikes events, the materielis free.Also, till to-day we have not yet received a request for approval forthe technology of disc brakes according to our article 1.3.004.Regards,
UCI Technical Consultant
Can anyone make heads or tails of this response?