A Fondness for the Recumbent Position
At a press conference for the US Postal cycling team, held in Solvang, California (site of the wonderful Solvang Century ride that I’ve done twice), Lance Armstrong faced some bizarre questioning from an “unidentified older gentleman” with a fondness for recumbent bikes: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Who was that guy? (Hat tip: Keith Devens.)
Older Gentleman: Lance, do you remember learning how to ride…a bike…when you were very little?
Lance Armstrong: Uh, yeah, I remember. [Laughter begins to fill the room]
OG: What was that like? Did you fall down? Did you have training wheels?
LA: I had training wheels, like most kids.
OG: Were you slow to pick it up, or fast to pick it up?
LA: I started riding with no training wheels after my neighbor rode with no training wheels, and she was a girl. [More laughter from the room] The first time I rode without training wheels I was lucky enough not to crash, although I thought I was going to. Nothing against girls…
Approximately fifteen minutes of standard questioning passed, until, during a momentary lull, the older gentleman struck again. This time the questioning bordered on the absurd.
OG: Um, who makes…your bike?
LA: Who makes it? Trek.
OG: Trek makes the bike, and then you have the Shimano derailleurs and parts…
LA: All that, right.
OG: Yeah, all that. You’ve heard of, I assume, a ‘recumbent bike’ - a sit down bike?
LA: I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never tried it.
OG: Never tried it. Well, they claim to have the world record on the flats.
OG: I tried one…
LA: [interrupting] Well, one of them sits three feet off the ground and the other sits about six feet off the ground, so aerodynamically, it’s far superior.
OG: Yeah. Would that type of bike be legal in the Tour de France?
LA: No, totally illegal, [fighting back a laugh] one hundred percent. If it were legal, we would have tried it by now.
OG: Well, it’s got two wheels…
LA: Yeah, but you have to have a traditional geometry. They call it double triangle. We’ll get you a rulebook. [At this point Armstrong allows himself a laugh] And when they pass it, believe me, we’ll be on it.
OG: The thing is, I noticed when I tried it, going up hills, it was much more difficult. I slowed down, and of course the owner then told me that you have to develop the muscles, you know, if you’re going to go uphill…
That’s why you get paid the big bucks, Lance.