Archive for the ‘Lance Armstrong’ Category

Lance, Sandy, and more news…   Leave a comment

The shop awning after Hurricane Sandy

Welcome to the second installment of the Bicycle World’s World News Blog. In this issue, we’re going to cover a few of the big stories in the news that have impacted us and cycling.

Lance Armstrong
We would be remiss if we didn’t address the “elephant in the room” when it comes to cycling news: the Lance Armstrong story. Over the past few weeks, not a day goes by without some new revelation coming to light, or another rider getting caught up in the controversy. It has also been a very polarizing subject, with some people vilifying Lance, and others supporting him. We wanted to give you our perspective on the whole controversy in the hopes that we can move onto more positive topics. Still, since it’s the biggest story in cycling at the moment, we feel compelled to address it rather than ignore it.
While this story has been very damaging to professional cycling, and has virtually destroyed Lance Armstrong’s legacy as a sports hero, there are other sides to the story that are important. It’s an understatement to say that Lance Armstrong had an enormous impact on cycling in the US. While Greg LeMond was the first US rider to win the Tour de France, and inspired a new level of interest in cycling in the 1980’s, Lance’s success and notoriety took cycling to new heights. It’s no secret that the bike industry benefitted greatly from this phenomenon. Lance’s superstardom increased interest in cycling, and put thousands of people on bikes. The ripple effects of this influx of new cyclists are still being felt with things like more bike lanes popping up around the country, more attention being given to safety issues (i.e. Merrill’s Law in New York, and 3-foot law in Connecticut), more bike commuting, increased interest and participation in bike racing, and an increase in overall ridership.
All of these great things can, to a certain extent, be traced back to the impact of Lance Armstrong’s success in professional cycling. In addition, the Livestrong Foundation has helped and inspired thousands of people who have been impacted by cancer. So whether you like him or not, there are some lasting positive things that will always be associated with Lance Armstrong.
The “Lance effect” on the bike industry had already declined after he retired from racing the first time back in 2005. Today those riders who came into the sport a decade ago during Lance’s heyday are now hooked on cycling. Nothing Lance could do or say at this point would tear them away from their bikes. So even if these cyclists were bought into the sport by the “Lance effect” and started riding, they’re not going to quit doing something that they’ve grown to love, just because their one-time hero has fallen. Moreover, a new generation of riders is coming into the sport for reasons that have nothing to do with Lance mania, but instead are part of cycling’s natural growth in the US. So when we hear somebody say that the Lance controversy “is ruining cycling”, we’re just not seeing it in the areas that matter most.
So here’s our bottom line on the Lance story: like many things in life, there are few clear “black or white” distinctions and a whole lot of “grey”. Pro cycling has obviously had a problem with drugs for a long time, and we hope that the attention that this case has gotten serves to finally make positive changes in the sport at the elite level. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the positive impact that Lance had on cycling in the US, and with cancer awareness. When you boil it down, it turns out that despite the bad stuff, there’s some good stuff mixed in. Human beings are imperfect and will make mistakes and bad decisions. None of this, however, can rob us of the enjoyment we find in just going for a ride. If more people are doing that today than in the pre-Lance era, then that’s a good thing in our view.

Hurricane Sandy
The other major story that has impacted almost all of us was Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Luckily the shop escaped with little damage beyond the loss of our awning and some loose siding. We hope everybody out there is ok, and is getting back to normal in its aftermath.
While the storm might not have an obvious connection to cycling, the blocked roads and long lines for gas reminded us that getting around on a bike has some distinct advantages. Whether it’s skirting around trees that are blocking the roads from cars, or not having to wait in line for gas, a bike can be a pretty useful thing in times like these.
While the storm reminded us of how useful our bikes can be, it also reminded us of a great program sponsored by Clif Bar. Their 2 Mile Challenge (www.2milechallenge.com) encourages people to replace short car trips with a bike. According to their site, 40% of urban travel is 2 miles or less, and 90% of those trips are done by car. By choosing to make some of those short trips by bike, you won’t be burning gas, will get some exercise, and might even have a little fun. If you want to officially participate in the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge, you can log your rides on their site, and they’ll donate $2 for each trip you make to a variety of charities each month. We think this is pretty cool.
Even if you don’t participate in the official Clif Bar promotion, replacing short car trips with a bike is still something to think about next time you reach for the car keys to go grab a carton of milk, or head over to a friend’s house. If it’s a short trip, think about taking your bike! Funny that a natural disaster had to come along to remind us of a really simple idea.

Other News
Other than the wacky weather and Lance Armstrong story, the only other big news item that we can think of is the election, and we’re not touching that with a 10 foot pole. Suffice it to say Bicycle World carries both red and blue bikes, so no matter which way you voted, you’ll find an appropriately colored bike.
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