The Tour de France, the most well-known professional cycling race, starts today. Thank goodness because I’m so bored with the World Cup. Soccer may be the most widely played sport but it’s also guaranteed to make me drowsy.
For the month of July, the Tour riders will sprint, climb gruelling hills and put more miles on their bikes than most people do in an entire year (or for some, lifetime). Just like baseball, I enjoy the intricate details of the team strategies. In baseball, it’s when to bunt, when to steal, when to bring in a relief pitcher. In cycling, it’s drafting, setting pace, catching those guys that break away from the peleton, and supporting the team leader. It’s amazing that a rider would be willing to put their bodies through the 100’s of miles and sacrafice where they finish to ensure the pre-selected team leader moves up in the standings…or better yet wins.
One aspect of cycling that many people, especially locally, seem to negatively comment on is the riders’ attire. Sure the sponsors of those in France make the Tour riders look like a 2 wheeled Indy car but that’s where the $ is coming from. It seems that it’s ok to ‘joke’ about hitting or ‘brushing’ a cyclist on the Capital Region roads because they are in padded spandex shorts. Cycling is a sport, transportation and a form of recreation. I’m sure that these negative commentors are not always the most fashionable (and should check their closet) when driving your car..and yes, we can still see them high up in their SUV. You don’t hear people saying “that car driver should be run off the road…did you see her shirt?” Another way of looking at this is that the roadways are the fields for cyclists. You never hear people talking about how baseball players look ‘weird’ in their sliding pants…not on the field anyway. AND, if discussions do center around how ‘weird’ baseball players look in their uniforms, they aren’t concluded with ‘hit em with a car”.
This is a time when everyone looks good in YELLOW. Be safe, enjoy the Tour, the holiday weekend, and remember that no matter what a cyclist wears, they are a human riding a bike (for a variety of reasons) and can be seriously hurt