the good cyclist

the good cyclist

What makes a good cyclist? Strong heart? Big lungs? Legs like tree trunks? Good bike handling skills (cough…Chris Froome), ethical (COUGH…Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, go on…cough… Wiggins!)

That’s maybe unfair but we now know that Team Sky’s marginal gains programme was heavily reliant on doctors’ notes rather than ingenious previously unimagined improvements.

If it’s too good to be true it probably is.

Don’t be too hard on the riders. They’re just the “inconvenient interface” – soon to be replaced when cycling regulations permit – between the sophisticated Corporate Behemoths that fund mega teams like Team Sky & the high-tech bike manufacturers – all driven to extreme behaviour to get you and me to buy their product. Guilty.

Back in the real world, not the otherworldly world of elite sport, what makes a good cyclist?  How’s this?

Self-aware, take responsibility for their own actions and always ready to help others.  Not a physical attribute in sight.  Do you ride with someone like this?

Not only do they think of others, they think like others.  Cycling is about putting yourself in someone else shoes.  Or behind their wheel.  You must to stay alive.  Cycling is about thinking about other peoples’ point of view; can they see you?  What are they about to do? What are they thinking?  Are they thinking?

Sound a bit religious?  Cycling is a religion to some.  Or it’s just a good old fashioned code of conduct.  If you live your life on a bike like this what about extending it to your real life?  Projection doesn’t have to be just for cycling.

Why do others think and behave how they do?  Not everyone can be right or wrong and it’s rarely black/white.

  • Trump Supporters: what makes a near majority of voting American’s vote for an egotistical, volatile chauvinist?  Desperation?  Frustration?  A feeling that it can’t be any worse than it already is?  What’s wrong with wanting to break a system that failed to punish the Bankers that created the Financial Crisis that saw their houses repossessed, their City’s decay and the Political Elite get ever more elite?
  • Brexit Voters:  how can the unemployed factory worker in a UK Northern City not understand the benefits of the European Union?  Why would they want to restrict the free movement of labour that provides cheap cleaners, cheap builders and cheap factory workers?  Don’t they want exotic barista’s in their artisan coffee shops, exotic street food in their gentrified districts?  Or did they just want to give the fat-cat bureaucrats a bloody nose?
  • Right Wing Fascists / Islamic Terrorists: what makes these young (predominantly) male so prone to fanaticism?  So Angry?  So easily turned to violence?  Surely unlimited data bundles and lack of responsibilities make them happy and content?  Maybe the violence has always been there, just now there’s no outlet (no state sponsored war) or their zero prospect of owning a house, moving out of their parents’ home, having what their parents had is so depressing it makes them angry and seek a cause of their own.

If you don’t consider life from another perspective and bowl on blindly, thinking everyone has got you in their sights, watching your back, are looking out for you, are the same as you, think like you – you’re not going to last long.

Subconsciouscycling is about using the freedom of cycling to free the mind and travel in a direction you might not otherwise.  Is it time for a Newpolitics to think differently too?


only human

only human

Never meet your Heroes.  You can’t avoid it when the ex-Heavy Weight Champion of the World is in a lift in your office building.  Big Frank Bruno was going up whilst our biggest cycling hero Bradley Wiggins is going down.  Frank Bruno provided some of the most vivid sporting memories of my childhood, to say I was shocked to be shaking his hand is an understatement.  Shocked about Wiggo’s TUEs?  No.

Wiggo’s story is changing almost as often as he changed gears on the way to his 2012 Tour de France victory.  The UK media love building up homegrown sporting heroes, almost as much as they like knocking them down. They did it to Frank Bruno.  Whilst he’s not broken any rules (that we know of…yet) they’ve got Sir Bradley firmly in their sights.

Put aside his too convenient use of TUEs, timed to coincide with his 3 big Grand Tour attempts, that ‘no needles’ in his autobiography meant ‘not those kind of needles’, what does it say about our sporting heroes?  It says we put them on a pedestal from which the only way is down.

There isn’t much difference between Team SKY and Armstrong’s US Postal.  They both ride at a tempo that can destroy the peloton and they both employed institutionalised doping. The difference? Team SKY did it within the rules.

This puts Wiggins TUEs in a different light.  When your employer tells you to do something how often have you said – No?  If you’re offered the chance of promotion, a pay rise in return for doing something that doesn’t quite feel right – it takes a brave and courageous person to say no.  Wiggo was just doing his job.  He’s just has to ride the bike.  He’s no doctor.  It was his colleagues at SKY that were responsible for his preparation.

What does it say about our athletes? Complicit Robots? Naïve Robots?  Or just supremely hardworking, dedicated and genetically superior employees.  Elite athletes are just like us then. Human. Employees. They may achieve super human feats (by fair means or foul) but they’re just doing their jobs.

Hard work and dedication can achieve great things (in sport).  We shouldn’t expect more or put athletes on pedestals if we don’t like it when they fall back down to earth.