Product Review: Inside the Postal Bus

News & Results

08/5/2005| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

Product Review: Inside the Postal Bus

Review of Michael Barry's popular book bringing you the action taking place inside the US Postal/Discovery team bus.

the soigneurs? room. While one rider is on the massage table, another will be sitting on a bed using the ultrasound on his knee while another rider roots through the food bin looking for a cookie or piece of fruit. MTV, CNN, or Eurosport is usually on the television as background noise.

In the bus there are also bags of ice and ice packs, which we tuck under our tights or place over our knees, necks, or any other part that aches from the race. It?s not uncommon for us to be spread out across the body of the bus, nursing our aches in hopes of better muscles the next day.

The kitchen is beside the shower that is beside the bathroom. On the way to the races all of the doors separating the different compartments need to be closed, as the stench that comes out of the toilet is unbearable for the passengers. Most musicians have a ?no number two rule? on their tour buses for good reason, whereas we pretty much have a bus so we can take care of number two before a race. On a bumpy, sinuous mountain road, the stench is even worse as the corners seem to stir odors up from the depths of the bus. The soigneurs do their best to keep the bathroom and shower clean, but there are odors they can?t remedy, even with all the air fresheners and antibacterial sprays available.

Cyclists are generally not clean and neat right before or after a race.

The bus is a sty after everybody has scurried and pushed about in an effort to get ready. After the race all anybody cares about is consuming calories and putting their feet up. When we arrive at the hotel for the evening, from the front to the back of the bus there are wrappers and open empty cans and bottles rolling around on the carpeted floor. It was really nice to have Berry Floor as a sponsor?they would replace the carpeting when it became nasty with stains.

During the few years I spent racing with the U.S.­based Saturn cycling team, we had no bus or camper, so we often had an issue finding toilets prior to the races. In
Europe riders duck behind buildings or bushes and nobody really seems to care, whereas at several races in the States the organizers penalize or disqualify riders caught peeing in the bushes. As a result, we frequently ended up simply using a water bottle in the team van prior to the start and then tossing the bottle in the garbage. PDM, the Dutch superteam of the late ?80s and early ?90s, was the first team in the peloton to get a bus. Prior to the PDM bus, teams used minivans and team cars to shuttle the riders to the start line and then to the hotel after the finish. Now every team in the peloton either has a bus or a camper van. It seems a necessity now, and it?s hard to imagine how the riders managed before the bus.

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