The juice is worth the squeeze. That is a line I heard on NPR last week in a story about bike thieves in San Francisco. The story was about how common it was to have a bike stolen, even though you can buy a bike on the street for between 10 and 20 dollars. The guy talking, who I think was a cop, said they set up a sting operation and busted a complete ring of bicycle thieves, but not one served a day of jail time.
By juice, he meant the reward. And by squeeze he meant the penalty, or potential penalty.
That is exactly the situation with using drugs in the sport of cycling or maybe using drugs in most sports, I don’t know.
What is the worse penalty presently that can be levied upon a rider. Life suspension. So the worst penalty if you get caught, if you happen to get caught, is that you don’t get the privilege to race bicycles anymore. Actually, you have to be usually caught twice for that to occur. Usually, the worst case scenario when you get caught the first time is a maximum of a two year time out.
And the rewards are pretty great, compared to working a 9 to 5 normal everyday job. Even for the lowly rider. But if you excel, like you should, if you’re abusing drugs while racing, then the rewards are life changing. Cycling is baseball or basketball, but a good rider who has raced professionally from his early 20’s to mid 30’s should be able to accumulate enough money to retire on. Some times much more. Look at Lance for example. He’s made 10’s of millions, if not more. And other than the 2.95 million Euros prize money he’s supposed to pay back, I’m pretty sure he gets to keep the rest. Not bad considering.
This obviously is known to just about everyone in the game. It is just one of the reasons that the doping escalated so rapidly to begin with. When the sanctions are virtually non existent, it encourages young riders to take the step. Currently, the juice is much, much better than the squeeze, The sport needs to invert that if they ever think they are going to get a handle on the situation. If not, we’re going to keep getting our bikes stolen on the streets and keep seeing $20 bike racing on TV.