Paceline Podcast #66

Paceline Podcast #66

In this week’s episode we discuss bike commuting because our man Hottie is now working for a radio station and his duties require him to be up at 3:00 a.m. to be able to make his eight-mile ride into work. We talk about the challenges of the work commute, from how to dress, cleaning up and changing and coworkers who don’t comprehend adults on bikes.

For our big interview, we talk to Mark Johnson, author of the book “Spitting in the Soup,” about the history of doping in cycling. It’s an enlightening education into the early mindset that gave rise to doping in cycling and the reasons why it remains so prolific and how wrong our understanding is about the dangers. As it turns out, doping isn’t nearly as deadly as we’ve been told.

We’re sad to report on the death of professional rider Chad Young at the Tour of the Gila. It’s tragic any time the cycling community loses one of its own, but Young was only 21 and had a promising future.

We also discuss lasers and sharks and buying lasers that include sharks. Best thing ever.

This podcast is supported by Health IQ, a life insurance company that celebrates cyclists and other health conscious people.  Visit to learn more & get a free quote, or check out their life insurance FAQ page to get your questions answered.

The Paceline is also supported by Eliel Cycling. Crafted in California, the Eliel brand combines the latest technology with cycling tradition to deliver an experience that is authentically California. View their retail gear and custom program at



Show links:

Spitting in the Soup

Küat Sherpa 2.0

Padraig interviews with Mark Johnson, Part I

Padraig interviews with Mark Johnson, Part II

Spurtreu wheel alignment tool

Montana kills invasive species bill for cyclists


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  1. Jeff Dieffenbach

    My bike commute in Cambridge is a whopping 0.9 miles (each way–it jumps to 1.2 mi each way if I use the Hubway bike share system). I drop 7 feet between home and work, but have to make that up on the way home. On even the hottest of summer days, I’m able to make it in without breaking a sweat, in part because most of the route is in the shade.

  2. TomInAlbany

    I bike commute 11.2 miles each way 2-3 days/week.

    My #1 tip.
    I stash clothes in a locker at work. (We have a locker room and showers! Woohoo!) The used clothing NEVER goes home unless I bring a replacement first. I’d rather rewear the same clothing from two days ago, than borrowing a car to drive home and get clothes.

    My #2 tip
    If I want a longer ride, I get up a bit earlier and do those extra miles in the morning. I feel even better when I get to my desk for having exercised and no guilt for taking family time to add miles.

    My #3 tip
    Lights. Bright ones! (I have to light up the road for some stretches.) Lumens are everything. And now, they have USB rechargeable lights so, all good!

  3. Eric F

    Why don’t I commute to work? It is 35 miles each way and there is no safe way to get there on these roads. I really wish there was a safe route because I’d love to do it once a week but 10′ lanes on windy roads w/o a shoulder is not something I’m willing to risk. I’ve been doing this commute for 15 years now and its getting old!

  4. Brandon

    I know you guys gave Fatty some grief about the Tune Spurtreu handlebar/fork alignment tool. But, I have to say, as a freelance wrench for a few different pro teams, as well as the personal mechanic for my spouse who races the domestic pro circuit, the Spurtreu has been one of the best tools I have bought in a long time. If you have ever worked on the bike of a “picky” cyclist, or are yourself one of those cyclists, this tool saves so much time and effort getting the bars aligned “properly.” Sight lines be damned, as Fatty mentioned, having even slightly misaligned bars can be such a point of contention for some riders. The Spurtreu makes it so much easier. And, if nothing else provides a placebo effect since you know the alignment will be done correctly.

    1. Author

      Great point. Having wrenched for both a shop and for teams, I can see how having an objective measure of whether it’s right or not would settle all discussion in a hurry. In a setting where someone is working on the bicycles of other people, eliminating debate has its own value. I’d pay the $80 in that case.

  5. James P

    I would love to hear what people use to carry items in with them: backpack, messenger bag, panniers?

  6. dropoutdave

    As an aside to the descending subject:
    I love watching riders descending on the tours, either from a camera on a helicopter or even better the back of a motor bike. Unfortunately once riders have struggled to the top of a climb and are about to start an exciting descent the TV producers usually cut off to show a commercial break and don’t re commence until the riders are on the flat. This frequently has me shouting at the screen out of sheer frustration!
    I would rather they showed less of the (sometimes interminable) flat riding and more of the downhill stuff.

    1. Author

      In the past, most of that cutting to commercials was because there simply was no feed on the descents. The TV and still photographer motos had to stay out of the way of the riders and usually the best way to do that was to try to stay between groups on the road. Even the motos can’t keep up with the riders on technical descents. Why the helicopters didn’t shoot the groups I never got a good answer to, though certainly the fact that many descents are pretty heavily forested plays into that. That we see any coverage of descents now amazes me, and while I enjoy that coverage, it serves as a corollary to the riders’ arguments that the motos are allowed to get too close.

  7. Stephanie

    This week’s Podcast was excellent. I look forward to your weekly shows each week. I love the endurance stuff, especially Leadville Trail 100 MTB prep and preview and after. RAAM is starting soon and review would be cool. Also summer tours, such as Ride the Rockies or Bicycle Tour of CO, et al. Also, consider more diversity on your show if possible, such as female and minorities. I know that can be difficult to arrange. Just a thought. Your podcast is top notch.

  8. Steven

    I already own a great alternative to the Tune Spurtreu. It’s called a Plumb Bob, and it’s available at any hardware or home improvement store. The best part is unless you get carried away and get a real fancy brass version, the Plumb Bob will likely set you back less than $10. When it’s time to align the stem to the wheel, I simply hang the Plumb Bob over the center of the stem face plate and tie off the string holding it to the seatpost such that the point hangs just above the crown of the front tire. You then just need to make sure your bike is standing straight up and down (aka, plumb), which I accomplish by standing a 4 foot level up and clamping it to my workbench. I then alight the front wheel with the level. The you can obsess over just how ‘perfect’ you want your alignment to be. Boom, done!

  9. Dirt Road Dave

    Catching up with this podcast today, the descending conversation is most interesting. I don’t find this to be a crazy thought. Look at what has happened with mountain bike racing. Downhill has become a sport unto itself. Adding a “Straight Line” jersey to the other jerseys that are awarded is not that far fetched of an idea.

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