Thoughts on Lance Armstrong and drugs in the world of cycling

To: BikeSnobNYC

From: Daner

Re: My apologies

You gave a nice talk here in Göteborg (aka Gothenburg) yesterday on your opinions about many things in the world of cycling and silly me had to throw a wet blanket on the discussion by asking your opinion on Lance. I’ll blame it on your choice of shirt (a Mellow Johnny’s T).

I was entirely too oblique in my line of questioning. I didn’t really want you to talk about Lance or about drugs in cycling, so I shouldn’t have asked those questions. The discussion that I was hoping for was “How important are those questions in the broader context of cycling?”

There are many different aspects of cycling:

1. Utility – Riding for personal transportation

2. Training – Riding as exercise to reach a fitness goal

3. Competition – Participating in timed and/or judged cycling events

4. Recreation – Riding for pleasure

5. Culture – Enjoying the historic, aesthetic, artistic, scientific, sartorial and/or social aspects of cycling

6. Entertainment – Seeing or reading about how other people ride or relate to cycling

There is of course overlap between these areas, but aspects 1-4 are by definition participatory in nature. We experience them ourselves. They are not dependent upon the performance of others, or the quality of the camera work, or the commentating, or the journalistic skill of the writer. We are primarily responsible for our own subjective experiences in these areas. I would submit that the broader context of cycling would be well-served if aspects 1-5 were to receive a relatively greater proportion of our collective attention and if aspect 6 could assume a smaller, more realistic role in the larger scheme of things.

The world would be a better place on many different levels if more people more often used cycling instead of automobiles as personal transportation. The best ways to make that happen have everything to do with making cycling a more practical and safe and accepted alternative and nothing to do with the results of the Tour de France.

Taking the kids for pizza on the cargo bike instead of taking the car is great. Riding to get fit or to prepare for competitions or other organized events is great. Enjoying a beautiful sunrise on a morning commute or the smell of the lilacs while on a spring training ride is great. Appreciating the talents of the engineer/artisans who transform tubes and components into beautiful, practical rolling art while imbibing our favorite beverage of choice and enjoying the company of other like-minded individuals is great. All of those things are much more important in the broader scheme of things than the actions of those in the entertainment industry.

Respectfully yours, Dane Thomas (aka Daner)

PS – FWIW I had my wife pick up plenty of goodies at Mellow Johnny’s when she was in Austin last year and I plan to continue to use them. Additionally, I have no problem wearing my Livestrong wristband and respecting the fine and honorable work that Lance Armstrong has done to raise both awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.

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  1. BSNYC’s blog entry on his trip to Gbg: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2011/06/bsnyc-field-trip-from-gotham-to.html

    That’s me sitting front and center in his crowd shot wearing the Vanilla shirt and my boy beside me wearing my MJ hoodie.
    – DRT

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