Cycling is more than finishing first

News & Results

01/3/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne

Cycling is more than finishing first

As the new year begins I think about what cycling means to people.

As the new year begins I think about what cycling means to people.

Cycling isn't always about who is the first across the finishing line or about the newest tech gadget. Cycling is much more than that and I look at what inspires the passion before focusing on the approaching 2012 road season.

I recently discovered a new social media site that has started to suck up my time - Pinterest. Type "cycling" into the site's search engine and you're rewarded with pages of beautiful images of not only racing, but the spectacle of the sport and the passion of those who enjoy it - either as a competitor or as an enthusiast. Who isn't inspired by an image of the peloton climbing a sinuous mountain pass? The colors of the various jerseys create a kaleidoscope and you're no longer looking at the individual riders but the whole image, which has always inspired me to ride.

Of course racing images aren't the only ones that evoke that type of reaction. I love looking at the photos of riders in chic cycling inspired clothing. The style of the riders as they commute through some European city is the epitome of style - and I love it. It almost makes me want a job that I can commute to. Almost ...

Speaking of chic, fashion has been touched by cycling. There are several clothing manufacturers that have developed their clothing line to something that is suitable for casual wear. To get a better handle on riding chic I contacted Robin Bylenga, owner of Pedal Chic, a shop dedicated to cycling with style. Bylenga has her pulse on the fashion side of the cycling industry.

"It's a whole movement of people riding fashionably that became a viral movement. There are chapters all over the world," says Bylenga.

My European readers know that commuting by bike is part of their DNA, but as Bylenga tells me, "Americans are trying to catch up with that." I'm hoping that's the case. I can envision major metropolitan cities as New York embracing this cycling chic lifestyle, but there does need to be a change in how we (by "we" I mean Americans) look at the bicycle and regard it as more than just a toy, but as a legitimate mode of transportation.

Cycling has given us many iconic images beyond just gritty race photos. There's the photo of Albert Einstein riding a bike with his quote, "I thought of that while riding my bicycle," referring to the theory of relativity. Here's a guy who had a billion ideas rattling around in his brain that only a handful of us could possibly understand and he still has a huge, silly smile that reminds me of a small child going for their first unassisted ride - pure joy.

And speaking of people who have invented or discovered things I am always blown away by the creativity of people within cycling. I recently saw on Kickstarter.com (a site where creative projects can receive public funding) a lighting system that attaches to the


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