Lisa's Mum

Lisa's Mum does Cadel's PR

The words on everyone's lips today: Cadel Evans. Well, actually, the words on Lisa's Mum's lips were 'bin night', but she was distracted. But WHAT A TOUR, and what an achievement. One of the highlights of Le Tour was seeing the huge number of Aussies getting behind Cadel with the 'Yell for Cadel' and 'Crikey Cadel' campaigns. Not many people realise, but there were also some other, lesser-known and less succcessful Cadel PR campaigns... Lisa's Mum investigates: - Spell For Cadel: An ultimately unsuccessful campaign launched by the NT Dept of Education, where children were encouraged to spell words like 'Go' and 'Cadel'. It was abandoned after the spelling challenges posed by Voeckler taking the yellow jersey proved too great.

- Sell For Cadel: An Ebay initiative, this campaign folded after it became apparent that Cadel prides himself on philanthropy rather than salesmanship. Apparently, 'I just want the best price I can get out of myself, that is enough' is not a valid minimum bid.

- Libel For Cadel: The Victorian legal community got behind Cadel as only lawyers can: by suing people. Popular targets included parallel imports from Luxembourg, Spanish butchers, and the driver of the media car on Stage 3 (Jonny Hoogerland's favourite). The campaign was halted by the LIV, citing incompatibility issues between clocking up billable hours and following SBS live coverage.

- Smell Like Cadel: Doomed from the start, this campaign failed to think through the implications of supporters smelling like a Tour de France rider after 6 hours in the saddle. On the positive side, it did free up some space on the mountain side during some of the more popular stagess

If you know of any other campaigns, please send them through to Lisa's Mum via the Contact Form.



Lisa's Mum's guide to surviving a conversation with a Tour tragic

Lisa's Mum understands the unenviable position of being stuck in a conversation on a topic she knows nothing about. She encountered this very problem only the other day when sitting next to Julia Gillard at a roundtable forum for Influential Women of the 21st Century held at the Altona South RSL. Although Lisa's Mum found Julia charming and very smartly dressed, her views on carbon pricing were somewhat limited, which made for some awkward silences between the pair. Lisa's Mum is here to ensure that the same does not happen to you during Tour time. Here are some fail-safe phrases to throw into water-cooler discussions about Le Tour / the Giro / Vuelta. Just make sure you deliver your snappy line and move smoothly away before the other person draws you into a proper conversation:

On the way the tour is panning out:

  • It's a game of cat and mouse
  • Ah yes, but they haven't hit the mountains yet
  • It's because Cadel still has a crappy team

On individual riders:

  • He's bluffing
  • Crikey he's arrogant. Can you believe what he gets paid?
  • What a hard man. They say he can crack walnuts between his calves just by putting his feet together and sneezing

On doping:

  • Doper or non-doper, Contador is still the best cyclist in the world
  • I ate a steak once, but I didn't test positive
  • Have you read 'Rough Ride'?

On the race radio debate:

  • Rider safety is important, but it's also important that I get to watch exciting TV
  • Why don't they all just listen to ABC NewsRadio? I do.

Good luck! And get some of your wife's eyeliner onto you - those dark circles are unbecoming.

Lisa's Mum's guide to the Tour de France

The Tour de France starts on July 2 and Lisa's Mum is excited. She is still a little bit miffed that Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen have declined her offer to join them on the SBS TdF commentary team. Apparently, they do have enough women commentators and no, they do not think omitting Lisa's Mum from this year's line-up would alienate a large portion of their audience.

Alberto is a big Star Trek fan but even big fans can get the official greeting wrong sometimes
Le Tour this year winds through all sorts of romantic-sounding French places before ending up on the Champs-Elysees where, like most tourists visiting Paris, the peleton will be too tired to do any decent shopping and won't be able to afford anything there, anyway.

Lisa's Mum appreciates that not all of her fans will have as intimate a knowledge of Le Tour as her. Accordingly, she will be providing Le Commentary for the next three weeks to help the uninitiated through the Greatest Show On Earth. To start with, here is a glossary for beginners:
  • Tour: A multi-day stage race (like the Tour de France). A Tour provides many days of racing, but just one overall winner. Which makes you wonder why the other 197 riders are so slow to catch on. The overall winner and some lucky other guys get to dress up in colourful jerseys at the end and everyone else loses 5kg. [See also Lisa's Mum's previous Guide to Cycling for Non-Cyclists]
  • Stage: One day of racing in a Tour. Even though there is only one winner at the end, each stage tricks riders into thinking they may have won (a 'Stage Winner'). On the podium, the Stage Winner is told the sad news that no, they are not the real winner, and they have to race again tomorrow. The frustration leads him to throw his bouquet of flowers into the crowd in a huff.
  • Time Trial: A stage of a Tour where each rider races not against other riders, but against the clock. Each rider is set off one or two minutes apart and told that there is only enough hot water in the showers at the end for 3 people. Each rider turns themselves inside out trying to get there first.
  • Neutral Start: Technically, this is where the start of the race is 'neutralised' and not part of the race, so that riders can parade through the start town nice and safe. I think in most pro men's races where the stages are 200km+ this generally works. In women's pro races of 100km, 'neutral start' means 'get to the front any way you can, as fast as you can, before the neutral zone ends'.
  • Finish line: Where the race ends. A rider's finishing time is taken from the moment they cross the line... unless they are in a big bunch, in which case the time is taken from the first wheel and given to everyone in the bunch. This is so that the riders who have not yet worked out what a Tour is (see Tour, above) will not be tempted to race everyone else in the bunch in order to 'win' the sprint for 38th place.
  • King of the Mountains: The smallest and skinniest rider who gets to look like Where's Wally as a reward.
  • Sprint Leader: Given to the rider with the biggest and strongest legs. Also the first rider likely to get fat when they retire.
  • Domestique: A rider who can ride just as well as their leader but is paid half as much. Often seen getting water bottles and getting spat out the back after an epic 150km solo breakaway.

Next: Lisa's Mum's guide to surviving conversations with a Tour de France tragic!

What Would Cipo Do? Bike v Girlfriend

Ride Happy received the following What Would Cipo Do? dilemma via Twitter:
@LJridehappy can you ask Cipo what percentage ratio I should give My GF on the weekend? Am currently giving bike 80% GF 20% seems fair to me
Cipo would never give 20% of his weekend time to a girlfriend. Mostly because it would be hard to decide which girlfriend he would give it to. Also, it would be mathematically impossible to allocate 20% to every girlfriend, even for Cipo.
However, being a fair man, Cipo would probably allow 10% for his wife and 10% to girlfriend #1. His wife would be motorpacing him so that gives him 90% of bike time, plus more if he rides to girlfriend #1's place.
Cipo even makes looking like a tea lady cool

If you have a problem and need guidance from the king of smooth, drop us a line, tweet, or comment below. Remember, it's not worth doing unless Cipo would do it.

Lisa's Mum replies: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

Lisa's Mum was thrilled with the helpful suggestions that came in from readers in response to the letter she received last week. As you may remember, the irrepressable Jerry Castle sent Mum a letter asking how he should deal with an Office Douchebag who insists on coughing and sneezing all over the office, threatening his preparation for the 2012 Commuter Olympics. The comments that came through following the post contained wisdom that would have made Confucious proud. Suggestions for avoiding sickness in the office included eating tuna, drinking craft beer, and turning Japanese. Lisa's Mum enjoyed all these suggestions, although despite being a lady of small stature she was unable to effect a complete Japanese transformation.

Lisa's Mum's complete response to Jerry is below. Remember, if you have a question for Lisa's Mum, send it to her in the comments section below, or send an email to her at

Dear Jerry

 The Office Douchebag is a strange beast. Oftentimes I've noticed that ODs are possessed with such a generous and sharing spirit that they will share their germs freely, along with their e-galleries of wedding pictures and their opinions on office politics. You cannot fault their giving nature. ODs are typically endowed with a rather inflated sense of their own importance in the office environment. You can see this best when someone drops a big fat hint that the OD should go home and stop sneezing all over everyone: 'Oh [OD's name], you don't sound healthy. Maybe you should go home and rest.' To which the OD will respond with some kind of false matyrdom, 'Oh no, I can't. I've got too much work to do. I'll be ok.'

The reality, as you and I both know, is that should the OD go home, the world will indeed keep turning, and probably no one will even notice. But if they were to go home, they would probably sneeze all over their kids and their partner, and then they would REALLY get it.

In an ideal world, all work environments would operate in the same way as a European Protour team. At the first sign of a sneeze, the offending athlete is whisked into quarantine, where they remain for the duration of the sneeze and the following 14 days. I have even heard that Lance Armstrong, in his heyday, would order the quarantine of any domestique who demonstrated a sharp intake of breath (often the first warning of an impending sneeze). As a result, most of Lance's domestiques were quarantined within the first 5 minutes of their time trial warmup, which is why only Lance performed well in the Tour de France prologues.

Sadly, thanks to democracy we can no longer lock up people who sneeze over other people. All we can do is eat lots of tuna, drink craft beer and perhaps turn Japanese. When an OD gets you sick before an important race, you should, in the spirit of generosity with which you were infected, freely share your thoughts on the subject to the offending OD. And go and get some Sudafeds and thank your lucky stars that ASADA does not test athletes at the Commuter Olympics.

Love and kisses

Lisa's Mum

Letter to Lisa's Mum: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

Last night Lisa's Mum received a letter from the indomitable Jerry Castle. You may remember Jerry from such Ride Happy posts as What is a cyclist and the $15,000 starter kit (including Lisa's Mum's replyand A solution to magpie season: the RMD project. I think Jerry's problem will be shared by many. Lisa's Mum is taking it to the people for inspiration and advice for Jerry - please leave  your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and I'll pass them on to her. Dear Lisa’s Mum, Can you offer any advice on how to avoid sickness during winter? Well… that’s not really what I want to get to the bottom of. Not quite. Let me explain. At the moment I have a colleague who insists on coughing and sneezing all over everyone in the office. His philosophy when infected with a cold is to “share the love”. I didn’t mind so much when I was a typical office drone. In fact I was often excited by the prospect of minor illness as there was a chance of a day off. The chances of infection in the modern office are high as well – the lack of fresh air, fluoro lighting and 1 sqm of personal space would make most battery chickens feel at home. In an effort to fill my wage-slave life with something a little more interesting, and to provide an avenue to “release some steam”, I took up bike riding (in a mildly competitive way). Now that I train and race regularly nothing shits me more than a douche bag proudly infecting the whole office with his latest illness. It is the height of murderous selfishness. I can see a network diagram of illness starting with this guy, and then spreading to 5 others, then 25 others, then 125 others… Some of these, the old and frail, will be steamrolled as the illness builds in intensity with each transmission. Some of these folks will be Olympians training for their once-in-every-four-years-big-day-out. This office douche bag is undoubtedly responsible for not only thousands of nursing home deaths but the loss of 20 or 30 Olympic gold medals for Australia (this is hard to stomach, particularly when our track team is performing so well). So Lisa’s Mum, I’m hoping the wisdom of 30 years of Earl Grey drinking can help me with two questions? (1) How do I avoid sickness in the presence of an office sneeze machine? (2) What is a suitable punishment for those who infect me with illness prior to a race? Is this, for example, a bunny-boilable offence? A related question is… 3. How do I quickly get back into form after a minor illness? (perhaps that’s one for Lisa though?) Cheers, Jerry

Lisa's Mum presents What Would Cipo Do

Lisa's Mum and Cipo go way back and have been friends ever since Cipo spied Lisa's Mum at the 2010 Giro d'Italia and demanded a picture. Since then Cipo has been a major source of inspiration for many of Lisa's Mum's advice columns and many happy hours have been spent musing about Cipo over a pot of English Breakfast.

Mario Cipollini was an Adonis even before Adonis was an Adonis. He bought so many tickets on himself that they sold out and he had to put on an extra show. He was a great sprinter (just ask him) and won 191 races as  professional between 1989 and 2005, including the world champs title in 2002. Cipo would typically prepare for big races in the discotheque and declared that, 'If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star.' Ever the diplomat, Cipo would refuse to ride the  mountain stages of the Tour or Vuelta and instead release photos of himself lounging around in deck chairs at the beach while his compatriots turned themselves inside out in the mountains. He also got arrested in 2002 for motorpacing on an Italian autostrada (average driver speed 150kph), and in his defence claimed that the autostrada was the only place where he could safely maintain the speed his glorious legs demanded.

Cipo's flamboyance also led to some dubious skinsuit choices:

Incidentally, it is good to see that Cipo abides by Lisa's Mum's rules of cycling fashion, which dictate that if you are extremely good at riding and can beat anyone over any distance, on any terrain, then you can wear what you like.

Given Cipo's credentials, it is fitting that Lisa's Mum's new column 'What Would Cipo Do?' is devoted to the aspirational Super Marios among her readership. If you have a conundrum that requires the wisdom of Lisa's Mum and the spectacular manliness of Cipo, please direct it to her either by commenting below, or by email at We will consider them carefully in the context of what the Lion King himself would do.