Dear Ben Edwards,
Hi there! Bike Ladies Unite here, your friendly local feminist cycling blog. Yesterday I read your article in Peleton Magazine, “UCI to Ban Champagne Use During Podium Celebrations" and fell for it, as I do for most April Fool’s jokes, because I am a sadly gullible person.
For a minute, I believed that UCI really decided to address sexism in cycling by banning champagne showers, saying that such an “overtly male” and “gender biased” tradition is unwelcome in ”today’s society of gender equality.” I believed it because women are used to seeing our concerns handled badly. I believed it because UCI is only beginning to get its shit together about women’s racing. And I believed it because, as previously stated, I’m gullible.
But when I read the part about Italians and sprinters having the strongest sprays, I realized your article is a poorly executed dick joke, one at the expense of women cyclists. You are equating our sincere efforts to address sexism in cycling with something completely ridiculous that we do not care about. You are warning the (male) cycling world that if we continue on this path to gender parity, we should expect to have less fun and more rules, since women are always out to rain on everyone’s parade (with water, not champagne, of course). You are trivializing a very real problem and mocking us for demanding long-overdue respect. Maybe you didn’t mean to, but that’s what you did.
Here are some headlines you could have written articles for instead: “UCI Preemptively Bans Podium Boys, Citing Insult to Male Cyclists”; “La Course by Le Tour To Require Pink Skirted Kits For Riders”; “Investigation Finds Pat McQuaid Behind 95% Of Angry Comments On Women’s Cycling Articles.” Notice that they satirize how far behind cycling is in supporting women. They punch up where yours punched down. Hell, maybe you should have just stayed away from the gender issue entirely. Maybe then your article would have been more like Road.cc’s April Fool’s joke, which was actually funny and also succeeded in lambasting UCI’s tendency toward over-regulation. That would have been nice.
But because you wrote this article in the first place, I don’t expect you care that I’m pissed off. I’d be surprised if you’re even reading this, but if you are, I bet that if anything you’ll issue a non-apology, where you say that you’re sorry if you offended anyone. Or maybe you’ll mock me for being a humorless feminist who can’t take a joke. Most likely you’ll do nothing.
Whatever you do or don’t do, rest assured that when it comes to supporting women’s cycling the peleton has already left the start. Holding out will only get more embarrassing for you, so I suggest you hurry up.
See you on the champagne-soaked podium.