What exactly does that little UCI sticker do?

November 20th, 2012 by Don Walker

Well, as it turns out, nothing, really.  It pained me to be a part of what I consider the largest scale shafting of the bicycle industry. Before I really get all uptight, let me explain the back story here.

It started a couple years ago when the UCI decided that frames and forks need to be “approved” for competition. The basis was one of compliance to UCI specifications, however, it turned into the biggest money grab for this self serving entity. Yes, the same entity that “allegedly covered up a Lance Armstrong positive doping test” for a nice “donation” of $100,000.

Now, that means for any small builder like myself, I had to go through the procedure of submitting sample drawings of small, medium and large size frames in each model I make for road, track and cx, with all possible tubing diameters listed, and fork options that I use, etc. It was kind of time consuming drafting all these samples on bikecad, but I knew that in the end, I would be on their list of “approved” builders and could have my bikes raced at any UCI event. I wired the UCI the cash for the approval process and bam! Within a week or so, I received the email that said I was now approved and here was my decal graphic so I could have them produced and put them on my frames now.

Here’s where that upsets me. A few weeks back I was at the Cincinnati 3 day UCI CX race and I decide to walk down to the staging area for the opening day Elite Womens race since I have 2 women in the field. I encounter a friendly UCI Commissar and make small talk as they are preparing to get the ladies on the grid. I ask that question, as I should being that I “paid” for the privilege to watch my bikes start a UCI event, to the Commissar, “Hey, aren’t you checking for approval stickers?” and much to my dismay, he replies “No, we only investigate if someone protests the use of a bike.”

Wind immediately taken out of my sails.

So, I paid money for a decal that doesn’t even get looked at or any consideration at a UCI event? Wow, do I feel duped.

What is the point of applying said decal if it doesn’t even garner a look by an official at a UCI event?  Excuse me, but I believe if you say that as of a certain date, you cannot start a race without this decal, you best fu**ing enforce this rule.

I believe that if this rule is not enforceable, I, as well as all the other small builders who “paid to play” should be eligible for a refund and/or we start a class action lawsuit to make them enforce this rule.

Ok, I am done ranting. I feel better. So should you, that I cared enough to get my bikes approved so you may race them in UCI events (despite the fact they won’t look for the decal on the line….).


PS. If you, as a builder, have seen the same thing happen to you, contact me. Thanks!