It’s July and I’m obviously a bike guy. I love to ride my bike and get all fired up about all things bike related but I’m no expert. I don’t really know all the technical nuances of bike riding. I’m not even 100% sure how to pronounce the name of my road bike, it’s a Specialized Allez.
But every July is an exciting time even for a novice (who likes to think he’s an expert) like me because the Tour de France offers 3 weeks where I am an expert compared to 99% of the population in the USA. I can explain to people that “peloton” is not a really good rider who is always close to winning who never seems to finish first, that’s a true story, and in my circle of friends I’m the “go-to” guy for tour knowledge.
Personally, one aspect of the race that I have always enjoyed watching is its ability to not only showcase cycling as a whole but really highlight the amount of endurance and skill required just to ride the course. The tour always represented that gold standard of cycling in many ways but none no more than the idealistic manner in which bikes own the road for these 21 days in July. It’s that dream most bike riders have, in which their favorite route is completely void of cars or the roles are reversed and every vehicle gives complete deference to the bikes. As most dreams are, it’s completely unrealistic but somehow fuels our imagination on those early morning holiday rides when the road is desolate for that one 5 minute spell and we are all alone off the front of the lead group buzzing through some tiny French village.
As every Tour de France reminds us, pro cycling is very dangerous in itself and this race is the granddaddy of the fantastic crash but this past weekend a sad element that every bike rider is far too familiar with found its way into the Tour. I’m not talking about another doping scandal or unsportsmanlike behavior, although both are present again this year, but the most dangerous element on any road. The momentary lapse of concentration and judgement by a vehicle driver.
This crash is a tragic reminder that it only takes a split second of distraction or carelessness for even a tiny European car to become a weapon on the road especially to a 170 pound rider cruising along at 30 mph.
I’m really glad that no one was seriously injured or killed because I’m one of the first sick people who “ohh” and “ahhh” at the intense crashes and pile ups.