The Power of Sport

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.

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72 Replies to “The Power of Sport”

  1. @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.

  2. @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!

  3. @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?

  4. @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.

  5. @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…?

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

  7. @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.

  8. @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.

  9. @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.

  10. @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

  11. @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.

  12. 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.

  13. @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!

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

     

  15. @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.

  16. @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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