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Bikes as art as bikes as art as etc
July 26, 2009 8:01 AM   Subscribe

The bike racing world has a tradition of attention-getting designs, but some spectators at this year's Tours of California or France might have done double-takes at some of the art on Lance Armstrong's rides. As it turns out, Trek and Nike have commissioned custom designs promoting Livestrong, and as I write this Lance is cycling into Paris on a bike covered with butterfly wings, courtesy of Damien Hirst.

Along with the Hirst piece, TdF fans have been able to see Armstrong riding art by Shepard Fairey, Yoshitomo Nara, and Mark Newson.

If you happen to be in Paris, you can attend the Stages (warning: Autoplay Flash video/audio) exhibition, which opened on the 17th and features some of the bikes and commissioned art by Ed Ruscha, Raymond Pettibon, Andreas Gursky, and more. After the show's over, the bikes will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
posted by ardgedee (50 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Someone probably should have pointed out to Lance that it's perhaps a bit tacky to have a TT bike the color of the GC leader jersey when you do not, in fact, possess that jersey.

Although when he actually rode it the front wheel rim was powder blue (along with his Astana jersey) and it didn't look nearly as bad.

Actually, it sort of makes me want a Mefi blue jersey... can we make this happen?
posted by selfnoise at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2009


Someone probably should have pointed out to Lance that it's perhaps a bit tacky to have a TT bike the color of the GC leader jersey when you do not, in fact, possess that jersey.

That's nothing. What about getting Nike to print a load of t-shirts with a big "8" on the front? Think that's the definition of counting your chickens before they've hatched.
posted by afx237vi at 8:25 AM on July 26, 2009


A couple weeks ago SPD featured a photo essay by Brent Humphreys titled Le Tour.
posted by netbros at 8:25 AM on July 26, 2009


I got all excited at the prospect of seeing bikes with new designs. These just look like bikes with new paint jobs.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:30 AM on July 26, 2009


In typical Hirst style ... he used real butterflies to ensure a genuine "shimmering" effect

Ah, Damien Hirst, are there any animals whose corpses you cannot turn into art?
posted by Nelson at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


afx: That's hilarious! I hadn't seen that.

YSStOG: Unfortunately for fans of such designs as the Y-Foil, UCI doesn't currently allow bikes without the traditional triangle of top, seat, and down tube.
posted by selfnoise at 8:39 AM on July 26, 2009


That Hirst bike reminds me of my grandmother's display shelves full of random tchotchkes.
posted by mathlete at 8:41 AM on July 26, 2009


That's nothing. What about getting Nike to print a load of t-shirts with a big "8" on the front? Think that's the definition of counting your chickens before they've hatched.

Which is reminiscent of Roger Federer's "15" jacket which incidentally was also done by Nike. Apparently some tennis fans didn't think much of that one either.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:46 AM on July 26, 2009


Yeah, but at least Roger won the 15th ;o)
posted by afx237vi at 8:47 AM on July 26, 2009


> perhaps a bit tacky to have a TT bike the color of the GC leader jersey

I noticed that on Friday. It was particularly noticeable since Contador was riding a bike with team-issue colors (albeit with his name painted on the seat tube). My suspicion is that Astana's team strategy was to have Armstrong in yellow after the Alpine stages, and Contador decided to break from script. You could see hints of this after the 7th(?) stage when he broke away on the final climb, Andy Schleck chased him, and ruined Astana's plans for dominating the GC rankings.
posted by ardgedee at 9:01 AM on July 26, 2009


Ardgedee - that certainly seems like a plausible scenario. The comments of Johann Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong's "I'll bite my tongue on that one" (when asked about Contador's break away on that stage) are all pointing to a different strategy than what played out. But I think it could also possibly have been a strategy to put Armstrong (and the other Astana rider who broke his wrist, the name is escaping me) all on the podium, with the top being left open. Contador rightly made his move when he felt it was right for him and it certainly caught Armstrong by surprise. Any links for the printing of the #8 shirt? I am a bit doubtful that despite Lance Armstrong's ego that he would be that tacky.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:31 AM on July 26, 2009


That Hirst bike is just begging for streamers, spokeydokes, and a basket up front.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 AM on July 26, 2009


Wouldn't it be great if the Hirst bike had a rotting shark tied to the back and a giant crystal skull up between the handlebars?
posted by Kikkoman at 9:53 AM on July 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


In typical Hirst style ... he used real butterflies...

At this time, I would like to thank Lance Armstrong for not representing PETA.
posted by rokusan at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2009


Levi Leipheimer bluesky. Looks like he'll be joining Armstrong's Team Radio Shack when his wrist mends.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:20 AM on July 26, 2009


Damien Hurst is a tool, and his art is uncreative and pretentious. I guess it's fitting that here he's matched with a jerk like Lance Armstrong.
posted by elder18 at 10:51 AM on July 26, 2009


How come Lance Armstrong's a jerk?

(It's not that I don't think he is...my intuition tells me that you're right, but I would like to know why someone else, who is hopefully more informed than I am, thinks this.)
posted by nosila at 10:56 AM on July 26, 2009


Because everything he touches becomes the Lance-friggin-Armstrong show. This annoys people in cycling because its not how champion cyclists usually behave, cycling is a team sport. And whilst Lance has always given his team credit, I think this year we saw how much he thought of himself when he basically refused to work for Contador - I think I saw him cover one break on Ventoux yesterday - despite the fact that Contador now is better than Lance ever was.
posted by munchbunch at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2009


Nosila, here's a nice example of Armstrong being a dick.

Hincapie did all the grunt work for those 7 tours and he wasn't a threat to win the whole thing. Lance paid 'em back by making sure George didn't get his day in the sun.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:27 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


nosila What about his divorce from his first wife after she'd supported him through his illness? And then his behaviour towards Contador in this Tour has been appalling. Contador was the designated team leader from the start, he had stuck with the team through a one-season team ban, was in clearly better shape than Armstrong and nevertheless had to see how Mr. 7-Tour wallowed in the media attention, conspired with the team manager and played all sorts of psychological games against him, culminating in his graceless announcement of the launch of the Radio Shack team just on the day of Contador's TT triumph (and a rather lackluster performance of his own).
posted by Skeptic at 11:29 AM on July 26, 2009


How come Lance Armstrong's a jerk?

Roid rage?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:31 AM on July 26, 2009


Awesome. Now I can back it up when I mock people's stupid "live strong" future-garbage.
posted by nosila at 11:33 AM on July 26, 2009


Some people are born with 'roid rage. In his first biography Lance was remarkably candid about how much of a jerk he was in his youth. He has mellowed and matured quite a bit since then, but as the NYT article shows (thanks cmfletcher!), not to the point of actually becoming a mellow, mature adult. sigh. George Hincapie is a mature and mellow adult, and truly deserves better.
posted by dylanjames at 11:40 AM on July 26, 2009


That Hirst bike is butt ugly.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 AM on July 26, 2009


Most cyclists capable of capturing the GC at the Tour are incredible egomaniacs. It's sort of required.

My only beef, really, is that a lot of people seem to want me to believe that Contador is somehow more of a jerk for refusing to lie under the bus. I just don't understand why that would be.
posted by selfnoise at 12:10 PM on July 26, 2009


When I heard about this, I was expecting something different. I had this picture in my head of thousands and thousands of individual wings, overlapping like scales over the whole frame so the whole bike looked like some kind of fantastic creature. It seemed the logical thing to imagine when hearing that Damien Hirst is covering a bike with real butterfly wings, no?

This looks like my daughters put stickers all over their beach cruisers.
posted by padraigin at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


how does dead bugs on a bike equate with Live Strong?
posted by scruss at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2009


"And then his behaviour towards Contador in this Tour has been appalling."

Actually Lance did everything he needed to do for the team. I think we'd have seen him attack more and possibly get into 2nd if he hadn't have been supporting Contador.
posted by cccorlew at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those aren't art bikes. These are art bikes. I'm sure Lance could make a good showing on a mountain stage with one of them.
posted by maudlin at 2:04 PM on July 26, 2009


> Most cyclists capable of capturing the GC at the Tour are incredible egomaniacs. It's sort of required.

Eh... I'm sure it helps, but I wouldn't say it was required. Carlos Sastre is well-known for his amiable nature and generally laid-back attitude, which is why everyone was so shocked when he criticised the media last week. Miguel Indurain was also well-known for his humble attitude, and he won it five times.

But yeah, where Armstrong is concerned, most cycling fans will freely acknowledge that he's an amazing athlete, but they'll also concede that the guy is an enormous dick. His undermining of Contador in the past few months has been utterly pathetic, especially from someone who demanded utter loyalty from his team-mates when he was number-one rider. A telling quote from Contador after he won today; "I competed in two tours, one on the road and one at the hotels."

Even more telling is that while the rest of Astana was celebrating Contador's victory at a team dinner last night, Armstrong went to have dinner with some Radio Shack executives. Nice.
posted by afx237vi at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it could also possibly have been a strategy to put Armstrong (and the other Astana rider who broke his wrist, the name is escaping me) all on the podium, with the top being left open.

Bruyneel and Armstrong have been trying to make these arguments all tour. Trying to run down Contador's image in the English speaking media (and maybe elsewhere as well), I suspect. They are spouting a pile of garbage. Strategy at the Tour is not "let's get multiple podium places". Strategy is to put your team leader at the top. Armstrong was able to execute a very cunning maneuver on Stage 3 to try and remove team leadership from Contador, and I don't think he can be faulted for the effort. Contador came back and established his superiority on a couple of other stages, and Armstrong/Bruyneel running him down for that is just trashy.

How come Lance Armstrong's a jerk?

cmfletcher's link is interesting (Of course Armstrong is blaming it all on Garmin.). But, there is also the fact that Armstrong chose not to attend the team celebration of Contador's victory.

Most cyclists capable of capturing the GC at the Tour are incredible egomaniacs. It's sort of required.

No doubt this is mostly true, but Sastre seems to be a pretty classy guy.

Nothing against the post, but.. I'm kind of disappointed that it has to be about Armstrong, again, even though there are much better tour stories.

And that idea that Cavendish was trying to slow down the winning sprint to aid Hincapie.. Seems very very unlikely to me..
posted by Chuckles at 2:12 PM on July 26, 2009


lance armstrong exudes smug.
posted by brandz at 2:19 PM on July 26, 2009


Actually Lance did everything he needed to do for the team. I think we'd have seen him attack more and possibly get into 2nd if he hadn't have been supporting Contador.

Don't be ridiculous. Andy Schleck kicked Armstrong's ass in all the mountain stages, and he only lost 35 seconds to Armstrong in the two time trials combined. The only thing that kept Armstrong on the podium at all was his shrewdness on Stage 3 and Stage 19, where he gained 41 seconds and 4 seconds respectively on all the GC contenders.
posted by Chuckles at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2009


> I'm kind of disappointed that it has to be about Armstrong, again

Actually, it's about the bikes he was on, not what he was doing. I got to watch most of the Tour this year and I kept wondering why his rides looked a little odd. The Stages campaign got absolutely no air time in the announcer's booths, doubly odd given the attention lavished on various other riders' bikes (such as Contador's, not to mention the Cervelo and Saxobank teams').

But if you want to talk about the other guys' rides, we can do that. Was Thor Hushovd's black bike with day-glow green tape and aero rims going for an archetypal hipster's fixie look or what?
posted by ardgedee at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2009


> I'm kind of disappointed that it has to be about Armstrong, again, even though there are much better tour stories.

Actually, Kenny van Hummel is my new hero.

ardgedee did a post on the lanterne rouge this time last year, so read that if you don't know what I'm talking about, then watch these videos: #1 and #2.

Kenny was going for a record deficit in the lanterne rouge classification, almost 1 hour slower than the next slowest guy. He'd get dropped on the first tiny hill and then spend the next 200 kilometres alone, being stalked by the broom wagon.

Over the first two weeks of the Tour, Kenny was developing something of a cult following on the various cycling fansites. We'd watch the big hitters duking it out for the win, then wait nervously and watch the ticking clock, wondering if Kenny would make it home inside the time limit. Here you can see him cresting the final climb as the other riders are going down back to the hotel.

Unfortunately, Kenny fell and forced to quit with just 4 stages left. He didn't get to make it to Paris, but I still think he is the most inspiring story of this year's Tour. Grit, tenacity, and determination. What a fighter.
posted by afx237vi at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


That Sastre apology Chuckles linked to is brilliant. I can't remember the last time I've seen such an honest, graceful, and detailed statement of regret.

And padraigin, I expected a real 3-d design, too. Hirst killed a bunch of butterflies and used their wings to make an expensive bike look like a K-Mart special. How disappointing.
posted by maudlin at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2009


Kenny was going for a record deficit in the lanterne rouge classification, almost 1 hour slower than the next slowest guy.

Seams like the entire Skil-Shimano team joined in the effort :)

Team Classification, final:
1. ASTANA  			256h 02' 58"  	 
2. GARMIN - SLIPSTREAM 		256h 25' 33" 	+ 22' 35"
3. TEAM SAXO BANK 		256h 31' 32" 	+ 28' 34"
4. AG2R LA MONDIALE 		256h 34' 45" 	+ 31' 47"
5. LIQUIGAS 			256h 46' 29" 	+ 43' 31"
6. EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 		257h 01' 03" 	+ 58' 05"
7. FRANCAISE DES JEUX 		257h 04' 46" 	+ 1h 01' 48"
8. COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 	257h 08' 32" 	+ 1h 05' 34"
9. TEAM KATUSHA 		257h 16' 55" 	+ 1h 13' 57"
10.AGRITUBEL 			257h 23' 36" 	+ 1h 20' 38"
11.CAISSE D’EPARGNE 		257h 26' 03" 	+ 1h 23' 05"
12.TEAM MILRAM 			257h 27' 08" 	+ 1h 24' 10"
13.SILENCE - LOTTO 		257h 27' 36" 	+ 1h 24' 38"
14.TEAM COLUMBIA - HTC 		257h 32' 52" 	+ 1h 29' 54"
15.BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 	257h 35' 57" 	+ 1h 32' 59"
16.CERVELO TEST TEAM 		257h 43' 06" 	+ 1h 40' 08"
17.RABOBANK 			258h 02' 43" 	+ 1h 59' 45"
18.QUICK STEP 			258h 42' 59" 	+ 2h 40' 01"
19.LAMPRE - N.G.C 		260h 02' 01" 	+ 3h 59' 03"
20.SKIL-SHIMANO 		263h 05' 50" 	+ 7h 02' 52"

posted by Chuckles at 3:03 PM on July 26, 2009


Yeah but no-one ever looks at the team classification!

In terms of team status and budget (Skil-Shimano are a very small team), the publicity they gained from a) Kenny van Hummel and b) having a Japanese rider complete the Tour, means their race was far more successful than, say, Quick Step or Silence-Lotto.
posted by afx237vi at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2009


Don't be ridiculous. Andy Schleck kicked Armstrong's ass in all the mountain stages, and he only lost 35 seconds to Armstrong in the two time trials combined. The only thing that kept Armstrong on the podium at all was his shrewdness on Stage 3 and Stage 19, where he gained 41 seconds and 4 seconds respectively on all the GC contenders.

I absolutely agree. Armstrong could keep up with those lower down in the classification but Schleck and Contador were not to be beaten.

And I *loved* Thor's bike!
posted by bluesky43 at 3:16 PM on July 26, 2009


Second that, afx237vi. Skil-Shimano got a lot of attention by repeatedly sending men into breakaways, had a great showing on the final stage, and can boast of a few good individual achievements for such a young wildcard team. They might not ascend the ranks as rapidly as, say, Garmin-Slipstream, but they're not working with the same mix of youth and veterans that Slipstream had last year.

Cadel Evans didn't seem to have sufficient support to do his best; the whole Silence-Lotto team underperformed this year.

Interpersonal drama aside, I think this was an excellent Tour this year. And as Jon Vaughters pointed out last week, when the worst scandal the sports news can come up with is disgruntlement about the radio-less stage 10, things are operating well.
posted by ardgedee at 3:27 PM on July 26, 2009


I'm kind of disappointed that it has to be about Armstrong, again

Actually, it's about the bikes he was on


I'm not so sure the Cult of Relics is an improvement over the Cult of Saints, but, yeah.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


You Should See the Other Guy,

You can't really expect visual artists, no matter how talented and diverse they are, to be able to "design" a bike that would be ridden in the Tour. It's a significant engineering problem for bike designers, not an aesthetic problem, to solve. For what it's worth, some of the TT bikes in the Stages series are indeed new designs, not ridden in compettion before. This Marc Newson-painted bike is the new Trek Speed Concept, completely different than their old TTX.
posted by danherwig at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2009


Nobody has mentioned Vladimir Karpets yet, so I will. Vladimir Karpets!
posted by queensissy at 5:48 PM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


If he's riding a Hirst bike, I'd like to see Lance ride a Stuckist bike as well. Of course, it would just be a painting of a bike.

As dickish as Armstrong has been this tour, I think Cavendish was still the overall winner for the maillot douche.

Oh and...Vladimir Karpets!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:38 PM on July 26, 2009


Bah, for all of the "Armstrong is done for" and "Armstrong wasn't playing a team role" rumblings, it sure seemed to me that he was regularly holding back on climbs until the GC competition dropped off, not responding to the attacks that Contador had to in the yellow, and then he hauled ass up the mountain stages to save whatever time he could. Don't get me wrong, the Schleck brothers are a force to be reckoned with (although the torch is definitely being passed to Andy), but Lance seemed to be playing the good teammate role to split the GC hopefuls and let Contador build even more of a gap. Wiggins (and a few others) took the bait, the Schleck brothers didn't. The man's an ass, the book makes it clear, but he's still a hell of a rider even 3 years out.

And continuing to blame Astana for Hincapie's loss on stage 14? C'mon. His own team is just as much to blame for setting a high pace trying to get Cav more sprint points. That whole stage was a mess- it's rare for teams to put work into chasing one of their own squad down, and yet they were lured by the green jersey and ended up fumbling. Nobody wants to see George up on a podium more than I do, he's a hell of a rider and is always the bridesmaid, but blaming Astana is merely being contrary. They are, after all, an opposing team. It's their job.

Skil-Shimano was fantastic. I hope that Beppu is merely the beginning. I was seriously hoping that he could somehow manage to keep the breakaway going all the way around the Champs, because that would have been a serious kick in the teeth.

</derail>

Anywho, glad for the link, Paul and Phil mentioned it on today's coverage, but it was rushed. Admittedly I usually zoom through 99% of the last stage anyway since it's more of a formal parade than race.
posted by Kyol at 9:28 PM on July 26, 2009


Ack, apparently <pre> still doesn't work right in Recent Activity. Luckily I can just make another comment and the offending text disappears. Sorry everybody else :)
posted by Chuckles at 11:30 PM on July 26, 2009


That Hirst bike? This is probably the first time I've ever said this, but: I prefer the work of Shepard Fairey.
posted by box at 6:13 AM on July 27, 2009


No mention of Bradley Wiggins yet? I loved him after I heard this:

“I was shouting on one of the climbs the other day,” he added, “just messing around trying to chill everyone out. Levi was going nuts at me: ‘What the hell’s the matter with you? Are you crazy?'

“You know, a little bit. And he was asking Dave Zabriskie that night, ‘What was Wiggins’s problem. He just started shouting on the edge of this climb.’ But everyone was so stressed and that, and you just think that sometimes they should relax a little bit. I know a lot’s at stake but I could have a lot of fun on the way.”

posted by misskaz at 8:30 AM on July 27, 2009


Also, re: Lance and Contador (I like neither):

"My relationship with Lance is non-existent. Even if he is a great champion, I have never had admiration for him and I never will," the Spaniard told a news conference in Madrid.

Interesting given the Personal Interest Interlude (I may (tm) that phrase) Versus showed the other day about Contador - I guess he had an aneurysm early in his cycling career (who knew?) and they made it seem like he read Lance's book during his recovery and was inspired by it. Then again, Versus was really pushing the "Everybody Loves Lance" story line.
posted by misskaz at 11:21 AM on July 27, 2009


Cyclingnews has a slightly more detailed quote, where Contador says Armstrong "is a great rider and has completed a great race but it is another thing on a personal level".

Various things I have heard or read over the past 3 weeks, none of which I know are absolutely true or not:

- Contador was not allowed to speak Spanish when at the hotels, even to his Spanish team-mates. Armstrong apparently booked an English teacher to travel with the team without Contador's knowledge.

- The blunder with the national anthem in Paris was caused by Bruyneel, who deliberately gave the organisers the wrong CD. Armstrong and Bruyneel taunted Contador about his first Tour win, saying Michael Rasmussen was the real winner; hence the playing of the Danish anthem.

- Contador was deliberately left alone in the hotel prior to the Albi time trial. His driver had been sent to the airport to pick up Armstrong's family, forcing Contador to call his brother for a lift.

Like I say, I don't know whether these rumours are 100 percent accurate or not, but even if just one of them were true, it might help to explain Contador's quote.
posted by afx237vi at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2009


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