I've struggled with what to write today. A sport that I love to watch is in chaos. I knew this before Le Tour started. I wrote about it. I swore I wouldn't get caught up in it. But, then, as the grand lady of all tours came closer, I found myself drawn to it again. I wanted to watch the great scenery. I wanted to see the athletic feats unfold in front of my eyes. And, yes, I wanted to hear Bob Roll's commentary. I looked forward to it all again.
I've enjoyed the Tour right up until yesterday. Watching with heartache when Rogers had to abandon, watching Vino bleed through his bandages and keep plugging along through the crosswinds, watching the young pup Contador win a stage and seem like he was playing with the field and, of course, watching Vino come back from all the blood and stitches and win two stages. Yes, I was cheering in my living room at the sheer wonder of it all.
Yesterday was a tough, tough day. A tour without Vino, a Cofidis rider being taken away and then the grand slam....my friend and fellow cycling fanatic, Reva, called and asked if I heard what happened at the tour. Yes, I had heard about the Italian and Cofidis...but, no I hadn't heard the proverbial cherry on top..the yellow jersey pulled out of the tour, after winning that day's stage. I hadn't heard that; it was a good thing I was sitting down when she told me. Not positive dope test, just yanked for lying to his team.
Now, we could go back and forth all day long about who is guilty, who may be guilty and who is innocent. But, I'm just too jaded to do that. Yesterday, I was done, totally done with cycling. That's it - fini!
But, today, I looked at my bike in the corner and thought...it's not the bike's fault. I loved riding my bike around my neighborhood as a kid. I lived on a very rural road and found myself riding further and further from my house as I got older. It was a great freedom. I lost that when I went to college in the city (no, I am not a city rider...I admire messengers more than I can say but it's not for me personally), got a car and had friends that lived in places too far to ride my bike to. When I came to Kryptonite, I got the bug again and got a new bike that I love. I still don't ride that often - life is busy, busy, busy. But, I know why I like riding when I actually do it.
I like "getting somewhere" when I'm out. When I walk, I get a couple of miles. When I ride I get 3 to 4 times that far; see more things. I love looking at people's gardens, watching kids in yards, and dogs and squirrels and such. When I go out it is a true "Tour Day Neighborhood," not a training ride.
So, pro cycling puts a black mark against 'cycling', but we as the every day bike riders can still make sure that kids find the love of bike riding. It's not all about the pros. It's about all of us bike riders - there are a ton of us out there. Start your own Tour Day Neighborhood today. Don't sit around and stew about the 'state of the sport'. It's only the state of the pro sport that is in shambles. The state of bike riding is as great as it has always been.
As Bob Roll said, it's about freedom, which is "just another word for two-wheeled self-propelled nirvana". Get out and ride your bike. Get out and tour your neighborhood. What do you see? Let us know. Share your neighborhood adventure with us all. Let's get out and see what's around us, as we see it on our bikes, not from the car, not what we see on the television with the chaos in France, but in our own neighborhoods.