Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What If Lance Rode an old 10 speed bike?

Would Lance Armstrong still be fast on a 10 speed?

When people talk about Lance Armstrong, is isn't without reservations, resentments, or any love lost for the recently dethroned athlete. Lance Armstrong, however, has done nothing to rectify his public image, besides showing us how to change a bicycle tire on an old Peugeot (We're glad you finally learned how to do that, Lance).

It's been almost two years since the USADA cleaned his figurative clock of all of his fraudulent Tour De France victories, Olympic medals and world records. Someone who has been raked through the coals the way Lance has should by now have attained a certain amount of humility. There are many things that Lance can do that will put him in a positive light again, maybe even reinstate his status as an athlete. Who better than Lance to set up cycling programs for the underprivileged youth of America, for example? There are good cyclists everywhere from all walks of life, but the sport doesn't follow them, it follows the money. Apparently so does Lance. Someone like Lance could turn the status-quo, like Jonathan Boyer did for team Rwanda or John Candy did in Cool Runnings. If Lance weren't so self centered, he would make a great coach.

The other thing Lance Armstrong created was the stereotype of the American cyclist. The Strava obsessed, weight weenie, goo slurping, middle aged jerk in a mid life crisis who makes it rain money every time he walks into a bike shop. Readers of my last article will see the illustration of how cyclists used to dress. Blue jeans, casual clothes, tee shirts and sneakers was the dress attire until the late 1990's. Now everyone who rides their bicycles on the roads or even on the trails is wearing full team kit, perhaps subconsciously thinking that is what they have to wear to be like Lance. The uniform serves it's purpose in the hot summer months, however its not a year round requirement to ride a bike. What Lance needs to do for his public image is to change the way that he is seen riding a bike. Trek no longer sponsors Lance, he needs to trade in his carbon fiber Madone for an old ten speed. He needs to  wear regular clothes on his training rides. He needs to show the world that it really isn't about the bike, because his whole career and the aftermath of it he has shown the opposite.

If Lance were to say, race me in an unsanctioned event like an alleycat, riding on a Schwinn Varsity or a Huffy Aerowind and still beat me, an avid recreational cyclist, then my level of respect would be much higher for him. That would turn the bike industry on it's head, since they could no longer sell people on the performance gains of high end bikes. If the average person knew that they could enjoy cycling on what they already own, instead of looking at cycling like a specialized equipment sport that requires endless upgrades, there would be more cyclists around the world and money would be trading hands hand over fist. After all, I'm just quoting Lance here. He was the one who wrote the book "It's not about the bike". Only somebody of his celebrity or infamy could pull it off, too.

Would you like to see Lance on one of these for a change?

Talking about Lance Armstrong is beating a dead horse to many people. I wanted to write this article because even though Lance isn't around racing his bicycle anymore, the damage he did to the sport still remains. On the local and national level, many riders are still juicing up to win races. Strava obsessed cyclists clip pedestrians on multi-use paths. I'm sure even though it hasn't been discovered yet, new methods of doping have already made their way into the professional ranks. I don't believe for a minute that a certain recent grand tour in Spain was raced cleanly, without drugs or sabotage. Lance can show redemption by condemning his own past actions as well as not letting anyone else get away with what he did, whether it be on a local, national or international field. Who better than Lance to point out the cheaters?

The truth is we don't owe Lance anything and neither does he. He will go down as the biggest loser of the 21st century. His public life has gone to tatters, and there is little he is willing to do about it. His example serves as a warning of the consequences of big headedness, arrogance and dishonesty.

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