Disc brakes for the people!
It seemed to have concluded in a very sensible fashion, this disc brake episode. Within a few hours of the open letter from Francisco Ventoso in which he laid the blame for his grizzly Paris-Roubaix leg wound firmly in the disc brake camp, the UCI had suspended their use in pro racing.
A prompt move and the correct one. It's too much of a coincidence that this kind of injury occurs within a few months of this technology being permitted in the peloton. Let the doubters cry "knee-jerk" all they like. It's not Gladiator, its a bike race. People shouldn't be getting cut up.
So it was done, dusted. Back to bike doping, everyone.
Then this week, along come the French. Overreacting as usual, all "sacre bleu" and "merde", banning the use of disc brakes in every event sanctioned by the French Cycling Federation. Probably ran out of things to strike about. The scope of this ban is enormous and includes those seminal events, L'Etape and the Marmotte.
People actually buy new bikes just to do these rides. It's a fair bet that a good few people already have done, and they would have gone for something with disc brakes.
The UCI suspension wouldn't have had much impact on the bike industry. People drool over the pro's bikes but they don't usually think they're going to own one. The return to rim brakes isn't going to be noticed all that much by potential purchasers of bikes. Half of them don't watch the racing anyway.
But if all of a sudden a legion of bike owners is going to be prohibited from taking part in events on account of their choice of brakes, we're going to have a problem. People who think they're even in with a slim chance of taking their bikes to the high mountains for a marshalled ripper are going to be thinking about that ban when they're weighing up whether to go for disc brakes or rim brakes. If one option is banned, they're going to go for the other. Potentially we have an obsolete technology. The betamax of braking.
If British Cycling followed France's lead, then that's Ride London-Surrey 100, and all the other sportives out of reach for every disc-braked bike owner.
The UCI response might have been hasty, but it was right. The French Cycling Federation was wrong. There don't tend to be mass, high velocity crashes at mass participation events. It's a different kind of riding. Even the gran fondos have relatively few racers going off the front. The rest of the field regards it as a challenging jolly around the countryside. Disc brakes just don't pose the same amount of potential danger.
Ban them from road races by all means. It would be a bit of a surprise if many competitors are using them as it is, on account of the weight disadvantage.
But on a road with a bit of space between the riders disc brakes are fine.
France needs to weigh this one up a bit more, have a nice glass of Bordeaux and mull it over. Think twice before denying the people superior braking power.
Or you'll have striking bike shop owners next.