Newsflash – Cyclist Placed in Rehab for Being a Cyclist

Tony Diaz, riding out in Santa Monica, several months before being committed to the new C.O.U.C.H. program.
Tony Diaz, riding out in Santa Monica, several months before being committed to the new mental health program.

Rolling Press. January 22nd, 2013.

After an unsuccessful intervention by his family and friends, Tony Diaz of Broken Arrow was placed into a rehabilitation program for several weeks. “We just didn’t know what else to do,” says a close friend of the family, who asked to not be named. “He’d go home, say how much his ride hurt, how hard it was, how far he rode. And then, he’d go out and do it again. It had to stop!”

Mr. Diaz didn’t help matters when he tried to explain that this was typical cyclist behavior. “His statements were virtually nonsensical, full of contradictions,” says Dr. John Corto, currently assigned to the Diaz case. “He said that cyclists will ride in sub-freezing weather and hundred+ degree heat. He said they do dozens of miles as races and hundreds of miles as races. He said they ride to eat and they eat to ride. He seemed very confused. If only they had brought him in sooner.”

Dr. Corto and his staff interviewed Mr. Diaz for nine hours trying to determine the extent of his mental illness. “After an extensive evaluation, we decided for his own protection, we had to put him in a safe, comfortable, non-stimulating environment. Basically, the exact opposite of riding a bike.”

Concerned local community leaders – in conjunction with Dr. Corto – have set up the Community Outreach Urging Cyclist Health program. The program is designed to break cyclists of their obsessive behaviors. “C.O.U.C.H. is a ground-breaking program that’s never been tried before. Our aim is to get these people the help they need. To show them that they don’t have to make themselves suffer.” says Lindsey Kartoffel, lead developer of the new program. “We take the cyclist and introduce them to better, saner ways of enjoying their leisure time.”

The program has several features that Ms. Kartoffel says “retrains a cyclist’s thought processes; re-orients them to ‘normal’ behavior patterns.” Some of the program’s features are noted as follows:

  • All clothing is provided for the patient while at the clinic. Each article of clothing is designed to be as loose-fitting as possible (without falling off).
  • All horizontal surfaces in the facility are required to be at least 24″ wide and well-padded. “This keeps the patient from remembering what it’s like to sit on a saddle.”
  • Motorized scooters are used to encourage muscular atrophy. “We want their legs to remember what they were intended to do: sit under a desk.”
  • Access to staircases are strictly prohibited (except in the event of emergencies) to prevent unnecessary leg exercising.
  • Patients who complete the program are provided with a discount towards the purchase of a new car at any local Ford or Chevy dealership.

When asked if there are any side effects resulting from this program, Kartoffel said, “No program is perfect. Early studies seem to indicate – but remember, it’s not conclusive – that suppressing the urge to bike can lead to things like irritability, excessive saving of money, and weight gain. But that’s true of almost any detox program.”

But not everyone is happy with the new program. “It’s an outrage!” shouts a cyclist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “People are allowed to smoke and give themselves cancer. People are allowed to drink and destroy their livers. Why can’t we be allowed to bike and live longer?” Several local cycling groups discussed holding a protest ride by the front of the clinic, but were unable to agree upon a route or departure time.

Some cyclists were leaving items such as inner tubes, CO2 cartridges, Gu gel packets, and more on the front steps of the clinic to honor the cyclists pressured into the program. But this stopped shortly after it was discovered local bike shops were picking up the items, labeling them with the word “Pro”, increasing their price by 30% and selling them back to the public.

A week into his treatment, we were allowed to briefly and privately speak with Mr. Diaz during one of their outdoor sessions. Rolling up to us on his scooter, we asked how he was handling the treatment. He said, “I disabled the motor on this sucker days ago. Been pushing it myself – the way a scooter should be. Too bad it’s not made of carbon. Could get some real speed out of this puppy if the wheel bearings were ceramic. Hey, wanna grab a latte?”