Will Americans Forget Cycling?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by stone61cm, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. MudGrrl

    MudGrrl New Member

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    thought that this is appropriate to the thread question..
     


  2. concord

    concord Member

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    I have done this ride three times and every time it has been a blast! :D
     
  3. sixbolt

    sixbolt New Member

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    actually i think it has more to do with cycling being very boring to watch on tv.
    the big sports are very tv friendly, cycling is much less so.
     
  4. bikeboyoriginal

    bikeboyoriginal New Member

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    As much as I hate to say it(being American) I feel that even though we who do appreciate the sport as a genuine lifestyle, not
    just passtime activity, do so because of a sense of listlessness in local sports. I've never had an interest in the skatboarding, football, baseball, basketball, scene(or any sport with a ball or puck). My point is, from my experiences americans love their genres of entertainment more than they would biking. they think of biking only as a prolonged tumble down some hill in france that was on ESPN, between 2nd and third quarter. So until those sports are banned or our sport is recognized as a series of personal battles fought and overcome instead of a series of personal Injuries that could have been avoided we may not know if Lance is the reason for Interest.
     
  5. Thatch

    Thatch New Member

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    I am an American. I Have to agree with you to a point. Greg Lemond grew up in the Sacramento area and did the local race venu in the mid 80s. When he won his first TDF it barly made the paper here. The intrest however; did pick up when he won his 2nd. Who knows if he didn't have the hunting misshap I'm sure he would have won his third in a row. After he did win his 3rd TDF the local paper called him the "The come back kid". For those off us who are into cycling that was a magic moment. It gave us hope for the youg talent pool. Lance was only one of them. But; as most Americans LOVE a fighter. Lance's story was eaten up by the media. Yes it did bring the sport of cycling into the main stream of media hype. I do feel with more Americans showing up in Europe and ridding for strong teams. I do beleive there is hope for us.
    However; You are right with all of the sport saturation and the fact LA is near retirement it is up to another American to kindle the flame. I think Tylor could be the next LA. As an American, I hope some one will. I don't think it could compete with Monday Night Football.... my 2cts:D
     
  6. p38lightning

    p38lightning New Member

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    I caught a spot on TV about 6 months ago that dealt with a road course race in down town Philadelphia. (it was about a 10 mile circuit and the riders had to make several laps to win) Granted there was no admission fee but 70,000 people were said to have attended as spectators!

    Have you noticed the interest in Soccer these days? It sure isn't media driven but has to do with the fact that so many people are now playing it. The same is true with cycling. There seem to be more riders and products than ever. I don't knw about others but my interest cycling is driven by the fact that ride!
     
  7. Lt J.A. Moss

    Lt J.A. Moss New Member

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    The Denver Post
    sports

    U.S. cycling hopes getting local push
    Denver team geared to bridging gap
    By John Henderson
    Denver Post Staff Writer


    Monday, June 21, 2004 -

    The young cyclists stood at the back of the tony LoDo restaurant, all dressed in Lycra and looking a bit sheepish awaiting introduction. A packed room of cycling fans and friends watched as they modestly raised their hands, one by one, under the illuminating glow of overhead spotlights.

    It wasn't exactly an introduction out of the World Wrestling Federation, but the March 1 unveiling of the TIAA-CREF/5280 amateur cycling team represented more hope than spectacle.

    In 13 days, Lance Armstrong begins his epic quest for an unprecedented sixth Tour de France title. When a man not named Armstrong last won the Tour, in 1998, Don Baylor was the Rockies' manager and Rick Neuheisel coached football at Colorado. The face of the world's most important bike race is red, white and blue.

    The future of pro cycling in the United States, however, is merely blue.

    Jonathan Vaughters, Denver's former Tour de France racer and a Cherry Creek High School graduate, helped launch Denver-based TIAA-CREF in hopes of bridging a gap so wide it could drop Americans' cycling interest faster than a runaway bike down France's Alpe d'Huez.

    "Once Lance Armstrong retires, Tyler Hamilton retires, once we're past Floyd Landis, who's the next good guy - which isn't far off - there will be sort of a dearth," said Vaughters, the TIAA-CREF manager. "I don't want to see American cycling sink back to a small club sport, what it was before Lance or Greg LeMond in the early '80s and late '70s. I think the talent is there."

    The key is development.

    The results among the next crop of cyclists haven't been very promising. Besides Pueblo's Danny Pate winning the time trial in 2001, in the past six under-23 world championships the U.S. has had only three top-10 finishes in the time trial and road race.

    In the past six junior world championships the U.S. had only three top 10s, led by Michael Creed's fifth in the 1998 time trial. A year ago the U.S. didn't place anyone among the top 20 in either race.

    "They're having a tough time developing young riders," said Hamilton, a Boulder resident who finished fourth in last year's Tour de France. "It's not ideal. Italy's probably the top cycling country in the world. Every Italian boy or girl gets a racing bike when they're 8 years old and has at least an opportunity to try racing. What percentage of Americans have that chance, maybe one-tenth of 1 percent?"

    Hamilton is doing his part. His Tyler's Tough Tykes and Tyler's Tornadoes introduce the sport to youths. However, the uphill battle he and Vaughters face is bigger than anything Hamilton will find in the French Alps. While cycling as an adult recreational sport in the U.S. is up, numbers for registered junior competitive cyclists are down.

    LeMond, a three-time Tour winner, grew up in North Dakota and remembers traveling to Wisconsin and Chicago for junior races in the 1970s.

    "There would be 100 juniors in a big race field, which I'm hearing is five times more than now," he said.

    It's not that quite bad, but it's close. USA Cycling, the national governing body based in Colorado Springs, lists 1,474 licensed junior riders. That's a drop from 1,800 10 years ago.

    Compare that with Belgium, the start of this year's Tour de France. That nation of 10 million in an area the size of Maryland has an estimated 3,000 junior cyclists.

    "When I raced there at 16 years old in the '70s," LeMond said, "I could race during the summer seven days a week. There were seven to 12 races a day with 100-plus riders in each race - at 16 years old!"

    In the U.S., the number of races is dropping. Sean Petty, USA Cycling's chief of staff, said most race organizers cater to the growing over-30 recreational group.

    "It's a bit of a chicken and egg," Petty said. "If you've got more racers, you'd have more races."

    Why has the number of racers dropped? The factors range from the cultural drift of the U.S. toward a more sedentary, computer-crazed culture to the inclusion of pro cyclists in the Olympics.

    School physical education programs have been slashed. Instead of playing baseball in the park, kids are playing baseball on their Gameboys. Adolescent obesity in the U.S. is at an all- time high.

    Even Armstrong's five consecutive Tour wins haven't inspired a generation. Even if you are inspired, cycling isn't an easy sport to start. Ian MacGregor, 21, is a TIAA-CREF member who skied at Nederland High School. His first bike - used - cost $1,200. "That's a new car," MacGregor said facetiously. He rode his bike up to 500 miles a week, which took a pretty good chunk out of his social life. Now kids watch Chauncey Billups set himself up for a multimillion-dollar contract. What should they do: Ride their bike for four hours or shoot hoops with friends?

    "I really believe other sports have a draining effect on the number of athletes that take part in cycling," MacGregor said. "You grow up playing football, baseball and soccer instead of racing bikes. There's no TV and heroes except Jonathan Vaughters, Tyler and Lance. With Lance Armstrong being so big, no one cares except the Tour de France. And that only gets two minutes of coverage on 'SportsCenter.'

    "That's not enough to get people racing bikes."

    Pro cyclists say the inclusion of pros in the Olympics, starting in 1996, had a huge impact on the sport as U.S. cycling officials started diverting more money to the elite instead of the masses.

    "That's the problem," Le- Mond said. "It's all about medals. All the money goes to the next Olympics. I think 98 percent of the focus should be on youth programs."

    TIAA-CREF is trying to change that. Along with coach Colby Pearce, a Boulder High School graduate headed to the Athens Olympics in track racing, the team is sponsoring 15 under-23 cyclists with travel expenses, coaching and support.

    There is talent. Blake Caldwell, 20, a University of Colorado computer science student, is an 11-time junior national champion. Zak Grabowski, attending Colorado Mines, finished 2003 as the nation's top junior rider. The team also saves one spot each year for the intercollegiate cycling champ.

    "I'm optimistic," Vaughters said. "But here's the thing: You're going to see a trailing off after Lance and Tyler, and the question is if people involved in cycling are creative enough and intelligent enough to bring it back out of the nose dive.

    "Personally, I think I'll be able to do it."

    Staff writer John Henderson can be reached at 303-820-1299 or [email protected].
    :confused:
     
  8. stevenaleach

    stevenaleach New Member

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    This question hinges on the basic philosophy of what "cycling" is.

    Is it a sport? I guess a very very small aspect is "sport", but then again is driving a sport? If a major pileup killed all of the indy-500 drivers, would Americans forget about driving? If the answer were yes, I think we should immediately begin looking at how to make this happen!

    Cycling: The act of riding a bicycle.

    Bicycle: The most efficient form of personal transportation ever created: even more efficient than walking.

    Transportation: A means of moving from persons and objects from one location to another.

    Sport: An activity designed to waste time and keep Americans perpetually distracted.
     
  9. TechJD

    TechJD New Member

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    Will they hmm
    didnt know they had remembered it to begin with
    Americas are interested in very little that isnt happening right here in the USA and if it's not on TV then they forget it quickly
    but americans do cycle Mt and Pleasure ride a lot
    I have never heard of any of the cyclest you all mentioned

    most americans are only interested in them selfs and not whats goin on in the rest of the world unless it involes someone they know ( very sad I know )

    best way to get to their attention is make a movie about it like American Flyers ( good movie my kids like it a lot )

    Most Americans think Americans are the best at everything
    and if they arent then it dont count !

    Best thing they did lately for F1 was the deal with Jeff Gordan , it brought it to the Spot Light
    and like others said it isnt a bloody sport , not offten does any one get killed ,
    besides Bikes are for kids ! lol
    they are like games grownups dont do stuff like that ! ( standard thoughts )

    just my 2ยข worth
     
  10. oznation

    oznation New Member

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    im with you on this one. i also voted no. maybe im weird but im 17 and i have been watching cycling and following it since i was very small. i also think that when la retires tyler will step up into his role for america or maybe even a person we have yet to ever hear about.
     
  11. Ray R

    Ray R New Member

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    I can't imagine any sport being more American than cycling. Susan B Anthony said that cycling "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." Roads were first paved as a result of successful lobbying by The League of American Wheelmen. Around 1900, track racing drew bigger crowds than baseball or basketball. The "Madison" points race was developed around this time as a way to please the huge crowds at Madison Square Gardens Velodrome by keeping racing speed high through the use of two-man relay teams. During this era, the highest paid professional athlete in the world was Major Taylor, an African-American (!) track racer and world champion. Furthermore, with current American riders such as Floyd Landis, David Zabriskie, Chris Horner, and the great bunch of junior and under-23 hopefuls, I firmly believe that the sport has a bright future in America. Greg and Lance were only the beginning of what could be a major rebirth in the U.S. As for cycling at the amateur and public levels, all we need to see is for gasoline prices to rise to the projected point at which the American public will make a change in their behavior, vis-a-vis their pathological dependence on (and slavery to) to the automobile. In Europe, where fuel prices have been at this level for years, the bicycle is ubiquitous.
     
  12. ryan_velo

    ryan_velo New Member

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    yep american sports do pretty much suck. I kind of like it that it's not to popular in the us. it just makes us cyclists more uniqe. ALOT many people have a "passion" for these sports that are in the media. I dont really give a shit about em. "thank god for velo news" he he
     
  13. szbert

    szbert New Member

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    Sounds like a pretty good start on direction. Fitness, fun, a great sport. I hope you're doing group rides and maybe racing. I've met a lot of cool people on a bike. Whether you end up a pro or not . . . it's a great life long sport.
     
  14. ausgirl

    ausgirl New Member

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    From what I have heard from Canadian friends, that sort of comment is likely to make them hate the US even more than they currently do - and that is quite a lot, almost on par with how much Aussies hate the US.
     
  15. William Henry

    William Henry New Member

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    I dont think that I will forge tbecause i am too devoted too it as are many other americans. Some of the americans may forget it because too them it is just a cool fad that makes their legs a little stronger. Those of us who are devoted will never forget it;) If you do forget it you only cared too make you look cool.
     
  16. sixbolt

    sixbolt New Member

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    Canada and Australia are allowed to hate the U.S.A. It's a priviledge paid for by blood and the almighty Yankee dollar.
     
  17. warrior1

    warrior1 New Member

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    I am 32 years old and I agree, I think it depends on why you ride. I know that when I am on my bike there is nothing that feels this way, there is a great passion for the time that passes while on a bike. I commute to work 3-5 days a week and my ride to work at 5:30 a.m it is such a mind clearer. The rides home after just recharge my batteries and make me a better husband and father. I have raced in some duals and done some charity rides also and being with other riders I have seen the love for this way of life. Cycling for many americans, is not a sport, but a life altering experience. Without it part of us dies, so it doesn't matter who wins the tour or any other race for that matter we ride to live.



     
  18. Scottish Roadrunner

    Scottish Roadrunner New Member

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    There's a lot of other good American cyclists out there.
     
  19. jcthomasjr

    jcthomasjr New Member

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    Probably. In another year or two we will probably only see a few hundred bikes. By five years the numbers will decrease to less than 100. Then it is all down hill from there. I already forgot what the question was about. Is this a music forum? Oh yeah, it's about cycling. See, I told you.

    Good grief.
     
  20. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    i agree. the lure of lance is due in large part to the lust for sensationalism of the commercial media and those who watch it. cancer survivor, divorce, rockstar angle, these are in the spotlight while the fundamental enormity of being a tour winner go uncomprehended by the masses. look at what it is that sells his cycling in his image and it predictably will fade with his retirement.
    but we can always hope, just look at soccer, most americans do not watch or follow as fans yet is is played here.
    just wait until those who would be drawn to other traditionaly american sports such as boxing, basketball, track, hockey, ect. gravitate toward cycling. then the U.S. could explode on the int'l scene, as there would be such a large pool of population from which to separate the wheat from the chaff...
    an olympic win might do wonders by adding the appeal of the patriotic aspect.
    but still more are drawn to bowling, golf and softball.


     
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