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  1. #1
    Photog Extraordinaire Crack'n'fail's Avatar
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    American Ignorance (of the sport.)

    I just want to get some people's feelings on the relative lack of understanding of the sport of cycling by the general american public. Here are some questions:

    In europe, do people throw cans an bottles at you and spit on you for riding your bike?

    Men's Health magazine just had a list of the best athletes in the world. Lance was not in the top ten, but he did make the best of the rest list. Do you think this is justifiable, or is it because people don't understand the nature of the sport. For example, I was talking to someone about the TdF the other day and they asked me what city the race was in. They had no concept of the fact that the riders circumnavigate the entire country.

    Do you think people don't take cycling seriously because they all rode bikes when they were kids, so how hard could it be?

    I don't know just some thoughts to spark some conversation.

  2. #2
    bac
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    Senior Member bac's Avatar
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    I think that the great misunderstanding regarding the sport stems from the fact that such a small percentage of our population rides. I really think it's as simple as that.

    Regarding Men's Health: That's just silly.

    Regarding the can/bottle throwing: Those guys are just jerks.

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    Our sporting void is filled by football, baseball and basketball. There's not enough bandwidth leftover to be a big cycling country. Europe has soccer and cycling, both of which there are equal to the scale of football, etc. here. I don't think it's a right or wrong issue, it just is that way.

    With respect to athletics... Even with my bias as a cyclist, I can safely say that there can't be any more physically demanding endurance sport than multi-week stage racing. Perhaps hiking to the north pole or something. Even basketball here doesn't have the duration or intensity. Football and Baseball - forget it; they're short-intensity things.

    When I lived in Europe I noticed much less hostility when on my bike. I get called all kinds of names here for wearing tight clothing, have people honk at me when I go around a pothole. I just don't think it's a respected or even at all understood sport here.

  4. #4
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    Lance not on the top 10 atheletes list, i'd like to see that list and find out what they define as an athelete.
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
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  5. #5
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Men's Health must not have seen that copy of Sports Illustrated with Lance on the cover.
    Sick BubbleGum

  6. #6
    Photog Extraordinaire Crack'n'fail's Avatar
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    Here's the list they had:

    10. Ian Thorpe (Swimmer, Australia)
    9. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Biathlete, Norway)
    8. Roman Sebrle (Decathlete, Czech Republic)
    7. Tony Azevedo (Water Polo, Stanford)
    6. Kevin Garnett (Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves)
    5. Alexei Nemov (Gymnast, Russia)
    4. Bob Burnquist (Skateboarder, Brazil)
    3. Ronaldo (Forward, Real Madrid/Brazilian National Team)
    2. Bode Miller (Ski Racer, U.S. Ski Team)
    1. Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons QB)

    The magazine asked a panel of sports experts including a renowned sports physiologist Jim Wharton, a former Olympic downhill skier David Currier, the world's foremost orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman, and two ESPN anchors, Jeremy Schaap and Stuart Scott among others - "to grade the ten athletes who inspired us most in seven categories." The seven categories were strength, speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, and endurance, plus a couple of intangibles, with each getting a score between one and ten, according to the magazine.

    To be fair, Lance did make the list of the next ten which was just in alphabetical order, which put him with the likes of Tiger Woods and Serge Fedorov.
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    I know I may hear it from a number of people, but what's the deal with NASCAR? This is the most watched "sport" in the U.S. Just my opinion, but thats messed up!

    I own a gym, and I try to explain to some of the people that think they are in such great shape a little bit about cycling, and what kind of athletes they are.

    I usually tell them about the "hour record." (The record is just over 35 miles in a one hour period) Okay, for all of you that didn't like math.. that means the guy (chris boardman) averaged over 35m.p.h. for 1 full hour!! To put that into perspective, I tell the "athlete" to get on a bike with a speedometer. Find the tallest bridge you can find. Starting at the top..pedal with eveything you've got until you reach the bottom, then check out the speedometer for the MAX Speed. Most of the time the rider won't even have a max over 35m.p.h. That means that they didn't even hit 35 for a second.. going downhill! Now imagine going that fast for an hour!! Crazy.

    Truth is, I sort of like being involved in a "fringe sport," as opposed to the mainstream sports people concern themselves with here in the U.S. I enjoy the looks on the faces of the guys at the gym when they ask me: "who won the game last night?" and I have no clue what game, what teams, or even what sport they are talking about. (Who cares if it's the Super Bowl? Thats the best time to get out on your bike!!)
    "The miracle isn't that I finished, but that I had the courage to start." - John "the penguin" Bingham

  8. #8
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    Mens health magazine is full of sh*t. But they have a tendancy to promote bodybuilding type workouts for fitness. Body building (not power/str training) increases muscle mass and typically does little for athletic performance.

    Also this magazine seems to be more of a beauty mag for men not a serious health publication. I bought one once and found it to be a joke. It also wreaks of sex and implied soft porn which makes it hardly a fitness periodical.

    The American public is generally sedentary and most have no clue what a real athlete should be capable of.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    well in all fairness, they didnt say top ten atheletes, they said atheletes that inspired us the most, and the list is actually more comprehensive than i expected.
    that kind of list is really kind of silly, there really too many people that are great in so many sports i dont know how you can limit to 10 let alone say one is better than the other.
    imagine the arguments you'd get if you just said name the top 10 bicyclists. it wouldnt surprise me if lance didnt make some peoples lists even limiting it to that.
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
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  10. #10
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by shaharidan
    well in all fairness, they didnt say top ten atheletes, they said atheletes that inspired us the most. . .
    Geez, if coming back from having cancer and being written
    off by almost everyone to win TdF 4 times (and counting) isn't
    ispiring what is?

    marty
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  11. #11
    Sneaky Slow pgreene's Avatar
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    a skateboarder made the list but lance didn't? i just decided never to read that magazine ever again. thanks for the tip!

  12. #12
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    i find him extremely inspirering, but thats me and you. they asked a personal feeling/opinion question. and while we can make an excellent argument for our view, other people may feel differently. its also the type of question where people are bound to forget people.
    o and believe me i think it's ridiculous, i was just playing devils advocate. i think those kinds of polls are stupid. trying to name the top ten atheletes is ridiculous, just gives people a topic to argue about, and i think half the time they leave out obvious choices on purpose just to make it more contreversial.
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
    there are no bicycles in the valley, the only bicycle you find in the valley is the bicycle you ride down there.
    Ride in the front, this space is available to anyone that wishes to take it-jjmolyet

  13. #13
    Rider in the Storm
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    Originally posted by lotek
    Geez, if coming back from having cancer and being written
    off by almost everyone to win TdF 4 times (and counting) isn't
    ispiring what is?
    Evidently, doing neat tricks on your skateboard according to the #4 slot on the list.

  14. #14
    Senior Member stridercc's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with a skateboarder making the list, I have a problem with it being anyone other than Tony Hawk.

    -Matt-
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  15. #15
    Junior Member pets_or_meat's Avatar
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    The article was about best athlete and was based on pure talent and athletic ability. I agree that Lance is an outstanding cyclist and the people who can do stage race have to be top notch. But look at Mike Vick, arguably one of the best players in the NFL, and could probably play at the pro level in baseball or basketball as well. I'm not saying I agree, i'm just saying I can see where they are coming from.

  16. #16
    Photog Extraordinaire Crack'n'fail's Avatar
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    All valid points. It's the same as the US Today list that said hitting a baseball in the Major Leagues is harder than winning the Tour. Depends on who you ask I suppose.
    I'm looking for 1,200 people who think that $10 is a reasonable price to say that you think cancer research should be a national priority.

    Please read my personal story and donate at:
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  17. #17
    The Cycling Photographer SipperPhoto's Avatar
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    Originally posted by stridercc
    I don't have a problem with a skateboarder making the list, I have a problem with it being anyone other than Tony Hawk.

    -Matt-
    Tony Hawk is the man... but Burnquist is doign things no one else has even come close to yet.... he will go down as one of the greats right up there with Tony... he's probably even more well rounded that Tony too

    Jeff
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    The Cycling Photographer SipperPhoto's Avatar
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    I agree for the most part with the top 10... I do feel Lance should be in there though... maybe i'm jsut biased :-)

    Jeff
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  19. #19
    Go Boilermakers!!!!!!!!!! RunYun's Avatar
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    Geez, if coming back from having cancer and being written
    off by almost everyone to win TdF 4 times (and counting) isn't
    ispiring what is?
    I agree with Lotek.

    4. Bob Burnquist (Skateboarder, Brazil)

    You have to be kidding me.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Piratello's Avatar
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    Americans shouldn“t consider their country to be the heart and soul of our planet.

  21. #21
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Piratello
    Americans shouldn“t consider their country to be the heart and soul of our planet.
    It's not?!?!
    JK
    Re/can throwing, etc., and cycling in Europe, I've heard that cycling there is kind of like basketball in the US... it can be "a way out." In the US, the roadie/racer tends to be more the yuppie type.

    Please excuse the gross generalities implied by the above statements... Europe and the US, there are obviously exceptions.

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    Germany - what does America having itself at the center of the universe have to do with this discussion? If anything we are lending extra credit to a primarily European sport. When Europeans make such comments it makes them look jealous of the US. We call it here 'sour grapes'. Not sure how the idiom translates. I lived in Germany for two years and heard this sometimes from certain individuals.

  23. #23
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Piratello
    Americans shouldn“t consider their country to be the heart and soul of our planet.
    What exactly besides American bashing does this post have to do with the thread? Why is it that you feel it neccesary to throw that in? I do not remember reading negative comments about other countries here in this thread! Just leave your opinion to yourself.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mjolnir2k's Avatar
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    The fact of the matter is plain: Cycling is not considered a "major" sport in the USA.

    Lance is the most recognized US cyclist ever (sorry Greg LeMond) but do you realize that the 12th man on a pro basketball team, a 3rd string QB, a pitcher with a 3-17 record and the guy who finishes 20th at the masters all make more $$ in Salary than Lance. (Not that Lance is doing poorly in that category, but I bet George could use a few extra $$.) Hell the AVERAGE salary in Baseball is about 2 Million, AVERAGE!

    Lance is actually the first cyclist that has really ever had any US endorsement contracts (Major company endorsements).

    The hierarchy in US sports goes (some of these could be flip flopped, but you get the idea):
    Football
    Basketball
    Baseball
    Motor sports
    Hockey
    Golf
    Boxing
    Everything else...

    We all wish it were different, because we all have a passion for our sport. We are all glued to the OLN coverage of the TDF (and happy to get that much) while ESPN is showing some fishing or hunting show or the 7,000th repeat of the "Worlds Strongest Man" competition from 1987.

    Just enjoy the fact that you are involved in a sport that still is unspoiled by corporate greed and politics.
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  25. #25
    FOG
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    Originally posted by mjolnir2k
    a pitcher with a 3-17 record
    A pitcher with a 3-17 record is quite likely a very good pitcher with a very bad team, otherwise he wouldn't be on the mound for 20 decisions. There have been a few superstars on lousy teams who get less recognition for it. He may not be on the same level as Lance, but given the number of kids who play baseball in this country as compared to the number of kids who race cycles, he may be in the same percentile of skill within the US participants in the sport as Lance. Further, in both cases, the individual success does have a lot to do with a good team behind the athlete.

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