We will always find unity through Cycling. VLVV.

The Power of Sport

by / / 72 posts

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.

HG Wells

The world is a strange place. Our planet is more globally connected than ever before where our differences are measured by increasingly smaller margins, yet they represent apparently unbridgeable chasms. The horrific events in Paris and elsewhere around the world emphasize this point, and the resulting political responses make us seem as though we were magnets held at opposing poles: the closer we are held together, the more fiercely we are pushed apart.

In this world of increasing violence, the world of sport appears to be a uniquely unifying force. This first struck me at the Whistler Olympics in 2010. People of every religion, ethnicity, and political view came together harmoniously in the spirit of international competition; there was no question of politics or religion, only a shared excitement for the events taking place around us. Having spent loads of time in Whistler before the Olympics, it was striking to feel the contrast between how the village normally felt, and the radiating energy and spirit of goodwill that permeated everywhere. This alone was inspiring well beyond the the performances of the athletes themselves; it is this global spirit of community that is unique to sport.

Terrorism takes place all over the world, with a frequency so staggeringly high that we tend to become shamefully numb to it so long as it doesn’t affect an area we have a personal connection to. At that point, the bubble of isolation and abstraction we built around ourselves comes crashing down and we’re left with the tangible reality that we are at the mercy of chance.

As many of you know, I attended the Rouleur Classic this past week in London. I must confess that the size of London, its proximity to France, it’s own history of attacks, and the recent airline bombing gave me a certain degree of consternation at my impending trip. But once I arrived, I was once again overwhelmed by the incredible atmosphere that these sorts of events can bring; within the walls of the Rouleur event, people from all over the world were united – brought together by a common and unshakable passion for Cycling. Personal differences that might otherwise represent tangible obstacles to friendship were instantly swept aside by an unshakable sense of community.

The world today is an intimidating place, but I am buoyed by my faith in sport and Cycling in particular to find a way to bring us together. For me, Cycling will always bring unity. VLVV.

// La Vie Velominatus // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    I agree. Late 80s/early 90s is when I came of age in road cycling/racing. Some things are the same (both good and bad). A lot of things are different … like the whole MAMIL phenomena. As someone who just came back to the sport last year, what I noticed most was that there were a lot of people who were physically good/strong riders but who didn’t know how to ride. And they weren’t necessarily newbies, but maybe newbies to group riding. One of the things I do is try to help them along (at least those that want the help).

  2. @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    If I could re-publish newsletters from my old club/team, it would be like reading the prequel to the Velominati. :-)

  3. @chris

    Haha, “swapping spit”!

  4. I read a great article about Ivan Basso in this months Cyclist. I can’t quote verbatim but he was basically saying that Cycling has made him a better man. I feel the same, Mrs G knows instinctively when I need to hit the bike and will forcefully order me out on a ride on occasion, knowing that I’ll come back settled, knackered and with sense of perspective back in check; a better man than the one who left a couple of hours earlier. It’s healthy to remind ourselves just how grateful we should be to Cycling.

  5. @chris

    @Oli

    @chris

    Me and Donald Trump both love food, but I have to admit I find it hard not to hate him.

    there are going to be dicks like Trump…

    There ALL assholes, he’s just more open about it.

    (I was going to write “haters gonna hate” but since my street lingo hasn’t progressed past late 1970’s white dude jive, I have no idea what that means and “chump want no help, chump get no help” didn’t seem to make any sense).

  6. @Ccos

    @chris

    @Oli

    @chris

    Me and Donald Trump both love food, but I have to admit I find it hard not to hate him.

    there are going to be dicks like Trump…

    They’re ALL assholes, he’s just more open about it.

    (I was going to write “haters gonna hate” but since my street lingo hasn’t progressed past late 1970’s white dude jive, I have no idea what that means and “chump want no help, chump get no help” didn’t seem to make any sense).

    fixed the grammar (apologies).

  7. @gilly

    I read a great article about Ivan Basso in this months Cyclist. I can’t quote verbatim but he was basically saying that Cycling has made him a better man. I feel the same, Mrs G knows instinctively when I need to hit the bike and will forcefully order me out on a ride on occasion, knowing that I’ll come back settled, knackered and with sense of perspective back in check; a better man than the one who left a couple of hours earlier. It’s healthy to remind ourselves just how grateful we should be to Cycling.

    Hear hear. I had a Grand Canyon sized load of stress in 2012 and 2013. Had I not had the bike and had to seek solace in something else, I’d be so messed up right now I don’t want to think about it.

    I hear the other comments re niche sport versus wider popularity. Both have their plusses and minuses.I hit the Scottish TT scene in the 80s. It was wonderful. With all the increased traffic and the destruction of many courses now, I doubt it’s as much fun. When I rode, the stakes/winnings were so paltry you had to do it for fun.

  8. @gilly

    I read a great article about Ivan Basso in this months Cyclist. I can’t quote verbatim but he was basically saying that Cycling has made him a better man. I feel the same, Mrs G knows instinctively when I need to hit the bike and will forcefully order me out on a ride on occasion, knowing that I’ll come back settled, knackered and with sense of perspective back in check; a better man than the one who left a couple of hours earlier. It’s healthy to remind ourselves just how grateful we should be to Cycling.

    Snap. Very similar situation in the Muur household. She can read the signs and fair play to her for that.

    I definitely consider cycling as – among other things – a form of meditation. Not too long ago, my doctor asked me “what do you think about when you’re on the bike?”. I took a moment or two to ponder on the question. “Nothing”, I replied.

    Some call it Zen, some call it mindfulness, I call it cycling. Without it I would be an angrier, lesser man.

    VLVV

  9. @DavyMuur

    I definitely consider cycling as – among other things – a form of meditation. Not too long ago, my doctor asked me “what do you think about when you’re on the bike?”. I took a moment or two to ponder on the question. “Nothing”, I replied.

    Some call it Zen, some call it mindfulness, I call it cycling. Without it I would be an angrier, lesser man.

    VLVV

    On long rides I like to have well done cycling music running through my head

  10. @nowave7

    Terrorism takes place all over the world, with a frequency so staggeringly high that we tend to become shamefully numb to it so long as it doesn’t affect an area we have a personal connection to. At that point, the bubble of isolation and abstraction we built around ourselves comes crashing down and we’re left with the tangible reality that we are at the mercy of chance.

    This here, sad but true.

    Sports unite. In most cases.

    Until the fans become, … well a rioting mob, as seen so many times here in Europe, and that even crosses national, religious, or any other boundaries.

    Cycling, on the other hand (and some other sports, of course), is different. Camaraderie on the road, and willingness to help a fellow cyclist stranded on the side of the road, really brings hope for the human kind. If but for a moment.

    You bring up a great point; I’m not sure true “team” sports do much uniting across team boundaries as your remark illustrates. That makes Cycling, Skiing, and other Winter Olympic sports unique that way.

  11. @edster99

    Sport mirrors the rest of life in one important aspect – you get to accept which things you can and which you cannot control. In sport you are forced to do that. Choosing to do that in the rest of life makes it a whole lot easier.

    Spot the fuck on. A great example of how sport puts in place the framework from which we live out our lives; it is such a simple world that allows us to build the context we need to understand the rest of this complicated world.

    @rhods

    Shouldn’t all feelings of consternation be immediately squashed by a healthy dose of Rule #5?

    Yes, that and Rule #43.

  12. @Oli

    News coming in of a hostage drama and gunfire in Roubaix. These swine are fucking with our heritage. Hope no one is killed…

    I hear tell it was a robbery gone wrong, which is not unbelievable given what I know of the state of Roubaix. But to the larger point, Robbery or terrorists, it is still awful beyond comprehension. Fuck.

  13. @Oli

    I just heard today that a young man named Max who I met on the Seattle Book Signing Ride last year decided to dedicate his life to helping under-developed countries gain access to affordable food and aide. He travelled to Tanzania with his girlfriend and on the first night there, he was murdered by a group of guys who first mugged him (he gave them all he had) and then attacked his girlfriend at which point he intervened and was stabbed to death.

    The world can be an impossibly cruel place.

  14. @Oli

    @chris

    Me and Donald Trump both love food, but I have to admit I find it hard not to hate him.

    There are plenty of cyclists I can’t stand, also. Commonality is one thing, liking a dick because he happens to ride a bike too is quite another. There’s nothing more bullshit than the idea of forced fellowship.

    I agree to a certain extent; at the same time, if I’ve suffered alongside someone for a few hours, there is some common ground.

    But, of course…

  15. @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    That is the fundamental responsibility we have as Velominati: We have an obligation to guide the uninitiated. Sure, the sport is more popular now and more people are getting into it, but I would never want to deny these people the incredible experience that Cycling can bring. Them being uninitiated is not their fault.

  16. @gilly

    I read a great article about Ivan Basso in this months Cyclist. I can’t quote verbatim but he was basically saying that Cycling has made him a better man. I feel the same, Mrs G knows instinctively when I need to hit the bike and will forcefully order me out on a ride on occasion, knowing that I’ll come back settled, knackered and with sense of perspective back in check; a better man than the one who left a couple of hours earlier. It’s healthy to remind ourselves just how grateful we should be to Cycling.

    This.

    @Chipomarc

    @DavyMuur

    I definitely consider cycling as – among other things – a form of meditation. Not too long ago, my doctor asked me “what do you think about when you’re on the bike?”. I took a moment or two to ponder on the question. “Nothing”, I replied.

    Some call it Zen, some call it mindfulness, I call it cycling. Without it I would be an angrier, lesser man.

    VLVV

    On long rides I like to have well done cycling music running through my head

    In your head, but not listening to headphones, right?

  17. @frank

    Correct, all my Tesh TdF music is safely in my head, no headphones or earbuds.

  18. @Ccos

    Say what, blood!? Dang, Rufus!

  19. @frank

    Man, that’s so sad. Poor guy. RIP

    Was his girlfriend okay?

  20. @frank

    I don’t race any more, but there are a few guys that I suffered alongside in many a hard race back in the day who I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire. There are even one or two I wouldn’t let ride alongside me in those races, let alone training, but then again I am a cunt.

    Sometimes the only common ground is the road you ride on.

  21. @Oli

    @frank

    I don’t race any more, but there are a few guys that I suffered alongside in many a hard race back in the day who I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire. There are even one or two I wouldn’t let ride alongside me in those races, let alone training, but then again I am a cunt.

    Sometimes the only common ground is the road you ride on.

    Fair enough, on all counts. And I include in that the cunt count. (hee hee)

    @Oli

    @frank

    Man, that’s so sad. Poor guy. RIP

    Was his girlfriend okay?

    She’s alive and well from a health perspective, but riddled with guilt and feeling the brunt of her boyfriend’s family’s grief. Again, this is not a fair world.

  22. Poor woman. That’s a terrible story, and I’m sorry to hear it.

  23. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    That is the fundamental responsibility we have as Velominati: We have an obligation to guide the uninitiated. Sure, the sport is more popular now and more people are getting into it, but I would never want to deny these people the incredible experience that Cycling can bring. Them being uninitiated is not their fault.

    It’s part of why I ride and why I’m happy to be back riding after 15 some odd years away from it. There was always a part of me that mentored new riders/racers. In fact, it was one of the “core values” of the club/team I founded back in the 90s.

    Speaking of the uninitiated, here’s a great article on the subject by my good friend Maynard Hershon (one of the best cycling writers/journos ever).

    http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/587-A-Few-Suggestions

  24. @Oli

    @frank

    I don’t race any more, but there are a few guys that I suffered alongside in many a hard race back in the day who I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire. There are even one or two I wouldn’t let ride alongside me in those races, let alone training, but then again I am a cunt.

    Sometimes the only common ground is the road you ride on.

    Word. I have no desire to keep the company of assholes … either on the bike or off.

  25. @frank

    @Oli

    I just heard today that a young man named Max who I met on the Seattle Book Signing Ride last year decided to dedicate his life to helping under-developed countries gain access to affordable food and aide. He travelled to Tanzania with his girlfriend and on the first night there, he was murdered by a group of guys who first mugged him (he gave them all he had) and then attacked his girlfriend at which point he intervened and was stabbed to death.

    The world can be an impossibly cruel place.

    So incredibly sad and tragic. My condolences to his family. And I hope his girlfriend recovers from the trauma and injuries inflicted.

  26. @RedRanger

    vive le velo

    Vive le vélo libre!

  27. @chuckp

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    That is the fundamental responsibility we have as Velominati: We have an obligation to guide the uninitiated. Sure, the sport is more popular now and more people are getting into it, but I would never want to deny these people the incredible experience that Cycling can bring. Them being uninitiated is not their fault.

    It’s part of why I ride and why I’m happy to be back riding after 15 some odd years away from it. There was always a part of me that mentored new riders/racers. In fact, it was one of the “core values” of the club/team I founded back in the 90s.

    Speaking of the uninitiated, here’s a great article on the subject by my good friend Maynard Hershon (one of the best cycling writers/journos ever).

    http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/587-A-Few-Suggestions

    For newbies that have an income they can always hook up with a World Class Pro Rider’s training camp in a nice warm area for some group riding and coaching.

  28. A day early. And even if you’re not American and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Eat (turkey), drink (wine), ride.

  29. @chuckp

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @chuckp

    So many newbies with all these fondos and charity rides not to mention all those other sport types jumping on the road cycling bandwagon over the last 15 years.

    It was much better back in the 90s than it is today. Back when everyone was dropping the road bike for the new mountain bike scene roadies were much more of a real brethren thing, that is gone now.

    That is the fundamental responsibility we have as Velominati: We have an obligation to guide the uninitiated. Sure, the sport is more popular now and more people are getting into it, but I would never want to deny these people the incredible experience that Cycling can bring. Them being uninitiated is not their fault.

    It’s part of why I ride and why I’m happy to be back riding after 15 some odd years away from it. There was always a part of me that mentored new riders/racers. In fact, it was one of the “core values” of the club/team I founded back in the 90s.

    Speaking of the uninitiated, here’s a great article on the subject by my good friend Maynard Hershon (one of the best cycling writers/journos ever).

    http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/587-A-Few-Suggestions

    Reading of riders being leaderless, I’ve just started the Fotheringham bio of Hinault. There was a Patron! From his first Tour in 1978 he showed who was boss not just within the peloton, but with organizers and politicians. The last of a vanished breed for sure.

  30. @chuckp

    A day early. And even if you’re not American and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Eat (turkey), drink (wine), ride.

    I will endeavor to treat my neighbors more kindly than the Pilgrims did the Native Americans!

  31. Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

  32. @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    Who the hell were the “Comancheros”? Would that be a tribe related to the Comanches? I think we should be told.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVQqQuOO9yQ

  33. @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    This is an international community with no specific geographic, ethnic, or religious (unless you count Rule Holism) definition of “our”. So which side, specifically, do you mean?

  34. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    This is an international community with no specific geographic, ethnic, or religious (unless you count Rule Holism) definition of “our”. So which side, specifically, do you mean?

    Ok, put me in the penalty box if you must.

  35. @Chipomarc

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    This is an international community with no specific geographic, ethnic, or religious (unless you count Rule Holism) definition of “our”. So which side, specifically, do you mean?

    Ok, put me in the penalty box if you must.

    Seriously, I’m just asking you to be more specific. I just don’t know what you mean by “our” side – the Native Americans, the Americans, the British…?

  36. on a lighter note, early ’90s tri-guy’s riding the boards…those bikes tho’

  37. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    This is an international community with no specific geographic, ethnic, or religious (unless you count Rule Holism) definition of “our”. So which side, specifically, do you mean?

    Ok, put me in the penalty box if you must.

    Seriously, I’m just asking you to be more specific. I just don’t know what you mean by “our” side – the Native Americans, the Americans, the British…?

    It’s just the way the western movies had the pilgrims minding their own business driving around in covered wagons and always being attacked by the natives for no known reason according to the movie writers.

  38. My last post doesn’t seem to be making much sense to me

  39. @wiscot

    Reading of riders being leaderless, I’ve just started the Fotheringham bio of Hinault. There was a Patron! From his first Tour in 1978 he showed who was boss not just within the peloton, but with organizers and politicians. The last of a vanished breed for sure.

    It’s on my Christmas list – don’t give away the ending!

    I’m going to whisper this…but the more I learn about Hinault the more awe and respect I have for the bastard. Think he might be my favourite rider of all time. Shock. That P-R win in the bands is just stunning.

  40. @piwakawaka

    Must be me, but do not understand the excitement about a guy running bare foot, indoors. But the one bike without seat stays is centuretro for sure.

  41. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Seems some people need a good history lesson. The Pilgrims were on our side.

    This is an international community with no specific geographic, ethnic, or religious (unless you count Rule Holism) definition of “our”. So which side, specifically, do you mean?

    Ok, put me in the penalty box if you must.

    Seriously, I’m just asking you to be more specific. I just don’t know what you mean by “our” side – the Native Americans, the Americans, the British…?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KMEViYvojtY

  42. @frank

    Man that’s awful, that’s going to be a heavy burden to carry for the rest of her life.

    My grandparents, Mother and Uncle spent most of my Grandfather’s career in Kenya, and have some wonderful stories of Africa and the people there. Kenya’s been one of the relatively stable places in Africa to visit, but it is very sad to see terrorists and riots there over the last few years.

  43. whoooo boy. This article started depressing( I totally get how Frank was feeling, I would be the same), then it got more depressing. We have some crazy stuff that we will never be able to figure out in this world. I need to go for a ride to get over the way I feel after all this. There is no way to laugh this mess off.

  44. @RobSandy

    @wiscot

    Reading of riders being leaderless, I’ve just started the Fotheringham bio of Hinault. There was a Patron! From his first Tour in 1978 he showed who was boss not just within the peloton, but with organizers and politicians. The last of a vanished breed for sure.

    It’s on my Christmas list – don’t give away the ending!

    I’m going to whisper this…but the more I learn about Hinault the more awe and respect I have for the bastard. Think he might be my favourite rider of all time. Shock. That P-R win in the bands is just stunning.

    I won’t, but if you like the Badger now, you’ll still like him; if you didn’t like him before, I think you’ll like him now. He was a Patron not a COTHO.

    Just started the Bartali bio. Really good so far. We don’t know how good we have it these days!

  45. Well folks, it’s time for me to officially admit defeat to Kurt Searvogel on the 2015 distance done on Strava. : (

  46. @Chipomarc

    90 hours per week? Must be nice not having to work…

  47. @Mikael Liddy

    @Chipomarc

    90 hours per week? Must be nice not having to work…

    Just to be clear, that’s NOT my stats.

    My per week hours average out at about 8 hours lately.

  48. @Mikael Liddy

    @Chipomarc

    90 hours per week? Must be nice not having to work…

    Surely Strava having a lend of us, ( i am, and don’t call me Shirley )

    And whats with the repeat offender and the smiley face.

  49. @Chipomarc

    2015 so far; 112,113km / 394 rides = 284.55km each ride! Sometimes twice a day?!!

  50. @sthilzy

    @Chipomarc

    2015 so far; 112,113km / 394 rides = 284.55km each ride! Sometimes twice a day?!!

    Those guys going after the yearly mileage record are nuts.

    Check this guy out https://www.facebook.com/tarzanrides/

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