I’m not giving any more money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and I don’t think anyone else should either.

This has nothing to do with my belief that Lance Armstrong is a doper, as evidenced by his “positive” retroactive EPO test on one of his remaining urine samples from 1999, his “positive” test for cortisone (with a retroactive doctor’s note) in either 1999 or 2000, or even testimony from various former employees of the US Postal Service professsional cycling team in various forums, including Pierre Ballester & David Walsh’s book, LA Confidentiel: les secrets de Lance Armstrong, which I strongly urge anyone who can read French to buy and read. Maybe someday, the English translation will be made available …

I’ve always felt that Lance Armstrong was doping, but I also believe the professional peloton is not as clean as they proclaim, not as dirty as WADA contends, but I don’t really care. Cycle sport is entertainment; when I watch it on TV, I’m looking for spectacle and drama, which will exist with or without performance enhancing drugs.

Nope, my thoughts on the LAF boycott now have to do with the 800-lb gorilla stomping on the little guy.

Gary Boulanger, the Bike Evangelist, and owner of Cycles Gaansari, formed SKIDSTRONG back in May of 2004, around the same time that the LAF came out with their wristbands. One of their customers saw their yellow-rimmed wheels in the window, and said “Cool wheels! They remind of those new yellow bands! You should call them Skidstrong!”, so they did.

SKIDSTRONG was formed to benefit the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund, a non-profit organization that provides emergency compensation to bicycle messengers who have been injured on the job. The BMEF is not a huge organization; they provide $300.00 to an injured messenger within the first week of an accident to help cover immediate expenses like food and medicine.

But now the Lance Armstrong Foundation is going after anyone and everyone who they feel is trying to cash in on their name. In late November, Cycles Gaansari was served with a cease-and-desist letter (which I wish Gary had posted on the SKIDSTRONG website). Rather than fight the battle, SKIDSTRONG has changed their name to FISSO, which is Italian for “fixed”.

Gary is an evangelical Christian. I seldom agree with his politics, but I have lots of respect for the man I met many years ago (when he was working for Rivendell Bicycle Works and Waterford Precision Cycles), and have remained in sporadic contact with over the years. I believe in what he is doing with his life; if that is inspired by God, then so be it!

I’m sure that Gary is too much of a Christian man to express how he feels … but I’m not.

The SKIDSTRONG concept is not hurting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is helping a small group of people who are too often overlooked or sneered upon in our society, and you’d think that the LAF would have bigger fish to fry.

Why aren’t they going after the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for selling pink “SHARING THE PROMISE” wristbands? Why aren’t they going after the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for selling red “HOPE” wristbands?

Nope … they’re going after SKIDSTRONG, because it has the word “-strong” as part of its concept (something the LAF didn’t copyright until August of 2005, by the way, yes 2005 … this year) … and people might confuse the LAF with the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund.

What a fucking load of horse-shit.

So no, the LAF is not getting any more of my money. I’ll be donating directly to the BMEF, supporting FISSO.

I’ll also be supporting the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, because despite his own current doping allegations, I believe in what the THF is doing, and they’re not trying to smack-down the little guys who are also trying to accomplish some good.

For more information on SKIDSTRONG and the LAF, read the following:

I’d appreciate it if someone points out other links, and definitely encourage everyone to contact the LAF and express your displeasure.

Time to break out the LIVEWRONG bracelets again.

Update: 12/9/2005

A toned-down version of this rant was published as a webletter on VeloNews.com.

Update: 12/12/2005

A reasoned response to my webletter was published on Velonews.com.