Asda, the UK supermarket chain owned by US retail giant Walmart, gave us all a good chuckle earlier this year with its advert – which it quickly pulled – showing what it claimed to be “Britain’s cheapest bike” with the front fork facing the wrong way round.
After all, no semi-serious cyclist – someone who, say does a daily commute and gets a few miles in at the weekend – would let a picture of their bike go out to the world like that, would they?
So how about a former wearer of the Tour de France yellow jersey, and current US national champion? Unthinkable, yes?
Um, no. Step forward George Hincapie, who yesterday posted a link on Twitter to a picture of an MTB supplied by BMC, the Swiss bicycle manufacturer that sponsors the team he will ride for in 2010, with the caption “If you see me on trails. Move out the way.”
“Yup...,” came the response from one of his near 60,000 followers on Twitter, “but check your forks first.”
Another chipped in with “Hahaha these roadies ;-)” and a third, clearly a student of these matters, said “Of course it's backwards! Negative trail helps stabilize the bike at speeds over 100mph. With that, for sure, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!! :)”
Hincapie was quick to reassure his fans: “Yes forks were backwards. They got moved after photo!!!!,” even posting a second picture to prove it.
Not that the forks were the sole issue of concern raised in the comments. One, presumably from a seasoned mountain biker, stated: “Too clean. Post another picture after you ride.”
We’re sure the mechanics at BMC Racing will also indulge in a bit of leg-pulling over this one when Hincapie’s telling them exactly how he wants his team bikes set up next season.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.