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The typical cyclist

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

The typical cyclist

Old 08-04-03, 08:47 AM
  #76  
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Yeah, but it's more than just getting into the sport- it's breaking into the elite level- where are all the minorities?

I'm going to investigate this MUCH FURTHER- there is a big professional cycling race that's going to be held here on the 16th and 17th. I'm going to go out there with cameras and I will COUNT the numbers of ethnics and post my results here.

I wonder how my "research" will turn out after I come back from this race? This will be my third professional race I've attended. I went to the Giro last summer, and I saw no minorities there. I went to a women's professional race in Montreal in June- saw one Asian chick out of all the women there, and that was it. So we'll see what happens at this upcoming race. I have plans on being there on both days, so I can report it all back.
 
Old 08-04-03, 10:55 AM
  #77  
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Went on a group ride on Saturday that attracts most of the really fast guys (and wannabe fast guys) in the Sacramento area. Thinking about this thread, I counted ethnic minorities.

In a group of about 30, I counted one African-American, 3 Asians, and 3 Hispanics.

Given that Sacramento is among the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA, the group seemed pretty pale and it seems to bear out Koffee's premise. Just my observation.
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Old 08-04-03, 12:07 PM
  #78  
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80% of my high school students are minorities from lower socio-economic backgrounds. When I mention cycling they are, for the most part, not interested. They pay attention to whatever is popular culture. And that seems to be whatever the mass marketers feed them on video. Regardless of their economic status, they must have the right team jersey (at $75-100) and shoes (more than $100). And, it is football in football season and basketball in basketball season. Nothing else. Not even baseball. It is too white/hispanic. As for cycling? Pleeaasseee. What's that?

Many of the males I teach get around on bicycles. Obviously, none of the bikes they ride are at the higher end of the scale. I do believe they would be interested in doing more and would enjoy riding on a team and getting something organized, but they have no means to do so and the bicycle companies don't seem to be interested in same. I think that the USAC should be doing much more in this area than it is. I even wrote to them about a year ago to see if they might be interested in putting together a program to address this. However, they stated that they would only be interested if it didn't cost them anything. Guess they feel that they have enough problems of their own at this time. Something I can't really argue with.

So my take on the lack of minorities in cycling is that mass marketing does not believe it is cool so the word just doesn't go out to the target audience that cycling is "in". And second, that our single, most centralized governing/promotional organizations in cycling in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) have what they consider bigger fish to fry at this time. Until cycling (cyclists) as a group are willing to put some money into getting anyone other than us white folks into cycling, it will stay pretty much as it is. A distinctly white sport.

Having said that, on those occasions that I have riden with the large group that leaves on Sunday mornings from behind the Philadelphia Art Musuem, it has had a good minority representation. Not the 40+% minoity that the city has, but probably 20%. And I would also say that the minority representation of all cyclists in the U.S. probably about the same as that minorities population representation (i.e. ~14% for blacks, etc.). The reason we don't see this is that we ride in clubs and groups that are predominately white and in the suburbs. But go to the large center cities and you will seem most of the cyclists are black, or at least represent the ethnic/racial makeup of the city. They, however, are primarily using their bikes to get around and not for recreation.
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Old 08-05-03, 02:02 PM
  #79  
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If Giant steps in where ONCE left off, I bet they'll put a couple asian riders into the team
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Old 08-06-03, 08:36 PM
  #80  
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Originally posted by Mzungu
Koffee and Kenneth Toronto,

Can we ask what got you into road biking?

About bike camps for kids. Road riding is too dangerous and add racing and it is worse. In past year our club has had 4 serious accidents, only one not involving cars. Two with cars involved 1-3 weeks in hospital. I woulndn't stop my kids going into it but i would worry.
What got me into road biking?

I'm not sure...I guess it was just a logical extension of track and field/cross country. Except going out for runs and running around a track wasn't taking me far enough (or fast enough for that matter)
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Old 08-06-03, 08:38 PM
  #81  
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For those who haven't seen the movie, 'Bend it like Beckham' is a very humorous movie on the relationship between race/ethnicity and sport.

To summarize: a young Indian girl, talented in football, wants to join a local girl's football team, against the objection of her parents
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Old 08-06-03, 08:57 PM
  #82  
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I saw the reviews on that movie- it's a soccer movie. Very good, from what everyone's saying. It's on my list of must-see movies.

Kenneth, I'm still wondering who the black guy is on the USPS that you mentioned....

Koff
 
Old 08-06-03, 09:21 PM
  #83  
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown
I saw the reviews on that movie- it's a soccer movie. Very good, from what everyone's saying. It's on my list of must-see movies.

Kenneth, I'm still wondering who the black guy is on the USPS that you mentioned....

Koff
Well...Football is what the rest of the world calls it

And I swore there was a black guy on USPostal...but I just double checked their 2003 roster and he's not there anymore! Maybe he was in the 2002 roster? Does anyone know or am I imagining all this?
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Old 08-07-03, 09:21 AM
  #84  
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After looking at many of the responses I can see how geographic constraints and income levels may affect rider diversity. Many US cities are rather large and this makes it difficult to get to areas where one could train. It is hard to do a 25 to 30 MPH sprint in the city without having to hit the brakes hard to avoid a car, dog, cat, pedestrian or several pesky stop lights.
But European cities are large too!
What I am wondering about, US -vs- Europe, how well is cycling supported in schools. I know that many areas of the US it is next to impossible to bring cycling in as a sport, mainly because school districts fear litigation if a kid is hurt while training in a school sponsored event. Since cycling training involves being on the road with cars (and driver attitudes -US- that bikes belong on sidewalks) it makes administrators more aprehensive. I do not know if cycling as a sport is supported in European schools though, perhaps this could help explain some of the disparity in ridership ethnicity.
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Old 08-07-03, 09:34 AM
  #85  
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I'm not sure about all of Europe, but I've been to Sweden and Italy, and the riding there is great- urban sprawl in some cities are bad, but the cycling is more acceptable there than here. Urban sprawl is only a small hinderance when cycling in Europe as opposed to cycling in Chicago, where the blocks tend to be shorter, the cars tend to be more hostile, and we have limited access to some good riding, as we are restricted by which roads we can and cannot take.

Today, I had some lady who KNEW I was trying to merge honking obnoxiously as she gunned her gas to beat me to the merge- then she stopped and sat on her horn for several seconds, cutting me off as I was trying to move to the left- all that drama, and if she'd just let me merge as I'd been doing from two lanes to the right, it would have saved both of us a lot of time. She then sped off, and the police officer directing at the intersection (major intersection in downtown Chicago- Michigan Avenue and Ontario), waved me to the front of the turning lane, then laughed at the driver and told me to "go on with my bad self" and just to make sure I watched out for these crazy drivers. Every day, I deal with some kind of drama or another from taxis, buses, and automobiles. If I lived in Europe, cycling on the street would be a non-issue!

I don't know anything about European schools support cycling, but from my perspective, it certainly looked like the European general public certainly did.

Koffee
 
Old 08-07-03, 10:16 AM
  #86  
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If I lived in Europe, cycling on the street would be a non-issue!
You would be suprised at how that's changing. From what I saw and what relatives have told me they are now starting to push the bikes onto the bike paths and off the streets. Which is obviously still better than we have it here in the states, but during rush hour the bike paths can be VERY crowded, plus the huge mix of riding styles (fast/slow/etc).

Generally speaking I've always felt safer over there on a bike than here, but there's still lots of crazies in cars, traffic congestion in places can make Chicago rush hour seem pretty empty, etc.

As to public support, everybody rides over there. More because they "have to" than anything, owning a car over there is not nearly as cheap and easy as over here. Up until recently most households had a single car (even now a 2nd car is still not that common), public transportation is really good in most places, so even if you work far from where you live you ride a few blocks to the train station (which will have a place for your bike or maybe even bike lockers) and go from there. And where you live will probably have all the "needed" things for living like a small grocer, etc.

Andrew
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Old 08-07-03, 10:27 AM
  #87  
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Whoops, I forgot about countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, where they have that bike path system. Yeah, it seems like bikes are pushed onto paths and such.

Countries like Sweden and Italy, where I've seen cyclists out in full force on the roads with the acceptance of drivers are the places I would tend to gravitate towards. I hate being restricted. I like choice.
 
Old 08-07-03, 10:00 PM
  #88  
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Well, for my new to this forum .02cents,...
I live in Atlanta and ride at St. Mountain park often as BikiniSam noted. I am also half American/Korean, although just on appearance, look mostly american. As for my reasons to cycle as sport,...saw it on tv 20 odd years ago and was hooked. Didn't really know about the pain of it back then.
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Old 01-06-04, 02:47 PM
  #89  
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I am an Indian (Asian) living in USA. When I think back about my country, I know you can see bicycles every where in India and it is also a very popular electioneering symbol. But I never saw a single bike on road in India with a changing gear system or any one wearing a helmet. I feel basically this has to do with demographics of population and also for the reason that cycling was never thought of as a sporting activity but just a commuting device. I never saw of a cycle race being conducted at local or regional levels except for international games/sports. Probably this has to do with the cost of road machines.

I hope this should change in near future as the Indian middle class population surge stronger economically.
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Old 01-06-04, 05:24 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by KennethToronto
Is football truly the only international sport out there?
I think about %10 of the US population is African. The % of NFL African players is much higher than that. Its not culture. The genetics for that type of athletics is different.

Most of the people living in the countries where cycling is very popular are white. The more popular the sport is, the more likely pro riders will develop from there.
(compare the population of the US to that of France, and the amount of French pros to US pros)
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Old 01-06-04, 05:39 PM
  #91  
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just a random comment on asian bikers: Mao Ze Dong said that the Chinese don't like direct competition with others because they don't like to see someone lose face (or pride). This of course is Mao which means nothing. But there is a prevailing theory that the only head-to-head competition we like is in sports with nets (tennis, volleyball, badminton). Only recently have we exceled in the major sports (Womens soccer(!), baseball, and basketball(Yao!).

Encouraging note: I was just in Beijing over the holidays and I noticed that some younger people started buying Giant roadies. I still love my $15 Beijing Bicycle.

jeff

congrats everyone on an interesting and civilized thread
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Old 01-06-04, 05:43 PM
  #92  
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I think Indian bicycles are constructed for Indian roads. They are heavy and solid for taking all the pot holes, changes in pavement, lack of pavement, etc. I have only visited in South India where people tend to be short and fairly thin. I say this because I am amazed at their strength on those heavy bikes. I once a little old bicycle rickshaw driver pull a family of 5 tightly packed into his rickshaw. I have friends who weigh about 110 pounds who insist on taking me (165 pounds) around town sitting on the rack. I was also impressed by the seller of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils (all stainless steel, no aluminum) who would come through our neighborhood with his bike so covered with his wares you could only see the bottoms of the wheels.

During my previous trips to India, the cars, buses, and trucks really scared me out of riding a bike. About a year ago, I saw a pic of the Marco Polo Cycling Team riding in Pakistan. If they can handle South Asian roads on roadbikes, I can give it a try. I am eager to get back to India and ride.

Rich
 
Old 01-07-04, 01:47 AM
  #93  
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I just read this thread and would add a few comments:

1. Many people have talked about cycling as a sport, and about the need to train the youngsters for cycling. I wonder how many people here have started that way or would indeed have started that way. The few fast "roadies" I know have started in their youth by cycling around to see their friends, not to train for a race.

2. Someone compared training kids for cycling to training kids for track and field (pages 1 or 2, I think). I don't consider track and field to be a good example either. Granted many children enjoy that while they are at school, but have you seen many adults who get out of the office and go to their nearest field to do a few high jumps before supper? Or who do that on Saturday afternoon? I haven't seen any, so the fact people don't continue on their own as a leasure activity is a bad sign.

2. Cycling may be relaxing (Sunday or evening stroll along the canal), utilitarian (cheaper and often faster than the car, transit, feet...), sporty... But except on the Tour de France, it's not always easy to compare riders' styles when doing statistics. And as I said, many roadies are also bike commuters, and many have started as children using bike for transportation.

3. Price of equipment is one problem but not a real one, even in poor neighbourhoods. Quality is and committment to put the money down is also. How many families -- including poor ones -- spend a bundle on Gameboys, Play Stations and other similar games? or on video cassettes and DVD for the kids? Enough to buy a few bikes!
There are lots of cheap bikes for children and teens, but they all tend to mimic adults' mountain bikes, alas: big fatty tires, suspension, lots of gears (7 widely spaced gears is plenty; 3 or 1 is enough for most -- less training and maintenance), no fenders or racks: all these factors make the bike heavy for the kid, and the lack of fenders makes the parents cringe each time the child finds a mudhole ("Can't you stay clean?")
A child bike should weight less than 20-25 lb, with fenders and racks. BTW, my late Robin Hood single speed with 24" tires weighted 26 lb. Just your typical 1960-1970 British youngster bike.

4. Living quarters are another problem for poor people, and currently minorities are over-represented amongst the poor. Bikes take more room than tennis shoes. And they are not convenient to get them in and out of a 3rd story appartment. While an adult can do so fairly easily, a child can't do that. Getting bikes out of an appartment for 1 adult and 2 children is a major job. Easier to walk 1 km or 2.


Regards,
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Old 01-07-04, 05:16 AM
  #94  
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Possibly, cycling is less of an urban sport.? Out here, I recall the ocassional black cyclist. A guess, more like 2-3 %...Asiatics a little more common. Possibly, because in this landscape, where it is sort of agricultural the population is pretty caucasian...There is a lot of latino/a population, but they are pretty poor..The bikes they ride are for commuting purposes.
Seems in urban areas, don't police raise funds to provide bikes to minority children..That is a good cause...
ANyone keep that cover article from "Bicycling".Out in the last year. Had a cycling team in New York City for young cyclists from the schools with developmental problems..Great article..Another worthwhile after school program.
Funny in my case. We lived in urban San Diego. Architect friend, Afro family from our church......After I had to quit running, he turned me on to cycling..Our families went to the Death Valley ride last March..I posted Calvin's picture on this forum, along with mine..All their family is into riding, kids too...Mountain bikes.
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Old 01-07-04, 05:34 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by KennethToronto
As a disclaimer: I'm not trying to anger sensitive people. I'm not here to start a flame war. If you don't like this or if you get angry or overly sensitive too easily..then please don't bother posting/reading.

Anyways, this is something that's been on my mind for a while now. If you watch the peloton in something like the Tour de France and you look at the cyclists, you kind of notice that almost every single one of them, without exception, is caucasian.

I know uspostal has one black cyclist on their roster...but after looking through the roster lineups of a lot of the TdF teams, I'm beginning to think there's not a single black or asian cyclist among the group.

This also goes along with my own personal experience - the club I ride with is 97% caucasian, ranging in age from 25 to 'wow I'm old'. Same deal with my previous employment at a high end road bike shop...most customers, whether they were roadies or triathletes were predominantly caucasian.

So... being asian, 19, and just simply curious about this...I'm honestly curious as to why it is like this? Is football truly the only international sport out there? Does genetics (see genetics thread) have anything to do with the racial makeup of the pro peloton? Does this have anything to do with economics and wealth? (I honestly don't think it does) Is it simply popularity? (Only Europeans are interested in cycling?! Huh?!)

Looking forward to your thoughts,

Ken
Ken...two things...

First, in Indianapolis, we have a minority cycling team called Team Major Taylor
While primarily oriented towards track racing (our shop is a part sponsor) they also crit race. The focus of the team is to bring more people of color into the sport. And to participate in the Little 500 at Indiana University. They provide educational opportunites, as well as the discipline of competitive cycling.

We also have a program called The Bicycle Action Project where we donate used bikes and at-risk youths (they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors) learn how to repair and build their own bike. They get it free, once they have done the work. Obviously, this requires some discipline and in many cases, it's one of the few real successes these kids have had. And they get a pretty cool bike to ride. They also run a retail bike shop, selling repaired and restored used bikes. And they get some nice ones. So the "senior" kids get to learn how to run a business, in addition to bike repair. They ride, too.

We get pretty enlightened out here in "flyover country".

Second..the average salary for a "pro" cyclist in the US is about $15-20,000. Not many athletes really look at this as serious sport in a way the others might look at football or basketball. But I doubt that anyone good enough to play top football or basketball, regardless of their race is going to look at cycling simply due to the physical needs of those sports in comparison to the demands of racing bikes. They require two different body styles. Not too many 6'6" pro cyclists.

If you look at the stories of many cyclists, they were poor at the stick and ball sports (look at Lance for example), but were good at endurance..I have a nephew who is tall, but is a runner and I am encouraging him to try cycling. He's not good at soccer or baseball, but he can run like the wind all day long and likes to suffer.
Perfect cyclist.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 01-07-04 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 01-07-04, 09:32 AM
  #96  
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More whites cycle because there's just more of us?More whites cycle because there's more of us that are fat?I think most people that "ride" are middle class,which is mostly white.Poorer people dont and rich people go to the gym.Hows that?
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Old 01-09-04, 03:20 PM
  #97  
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Try this...a program with Cannondale to make a difference..

Major Taylor Cycling Team
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Old 01-09-04, 07:00 PM
  #98  
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It's cool that Rahsaan Bahati was able to move to another team once Saturn disbanded their team.

Koffee
 
Old 01-10-04, 04:47 AM
  #99  
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This thread has kept popping back into my head every once in awhile while on the bike.
I think Kenneth (and later Koffee reinforced) that the thread is concerned with elite levels, not recreational cyclists.

Again as Kenneth stated he doesn't want to offend anyone, neither do I.

On the question of why don't we see more people of color in elite races I have a theory at least for some ethnic groups .

I think a lot of it has to do with "race" when it is comes to endurance sports. Look at long distance runners in track and field. There are lots of Africans but few African Americans (if at all?). But if you look at origins of the elite African distance runners they are predominantly from non-Bantu tribes. All the Kenyans are from Rift valley, I think Kinja tribe. The Ethiopians tend to be Armharic (i think) the Tanzanians are almost 100% from the Iraqw tribe, Nilotics. Not sure but that puts all three coming from same human branch far enough back, and a minority in Africa.

I don't know so much about Morocco but suspect the runners coming out of there are from another distinct ethnic group. Certainly few African long distance runners are Bantu .

Okay so why not African-Americans? They originated mostly from West Africa or from Bantu tribes in East Africa. Bantu and Nilotic peoples are as different as Japanese and Chinese.

Yeah this is a generalization blah blah blah, and look at Mederic Clain of Corfidis but he is mixed race.

Yes you can go to some races and you will see color but at the elite level of road racing not. Not until you can get the Nilotics into bike racing will you see some color in elite cycling. And it is very complicated to do that.

Okay blow this theory apart.

And Kenneth I think you were thinking of Mederic Clain of Corfidis. Koffee you might find some more pictures for you thread there.
https://www.mederic-clain.fr.fm/
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Old 01-10-04, 07:19 AM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by Mzungu
This thread has kept popping back into my head every once in awhile while on the bike.
I think Kenneth (and later Koffee reinforced) that the thread is concerned with elite levels, not recreational cyclists.

Again as Kenneth stated he doesn't want to offend anyone, neither do I.

On the question of why don't we see more people of color in elite races I have a theory at least for some ethnic groups .

I think a lot of it has to do with "race" when it is comes to endurance sports. Look at long distance runners in track and field. There are lots of Africans but few African Americans (if at all?). But if you look at origins of the elite African distance runners they are predominantly from non-Bantu tribes. All the Kenyans are from Rift valley, I think Kinja tribe. The Ethiopians tend to be Armharic (i think) the Tanzanians are almost 100% from the Iraqw tribe, Nilotics. Not sure but that puts all three coming from same human branch far enough back, and a minority in Africa.

I don't know so much about Morocco but suspect the runners coming out of there are from another distinct ethnic group. Certainly few African long distance runners are Bantu .

Okay so why not African-Americans? They originated mostly from West Africa or from Bantu tribes in East Africa. Bantu and Nilotic peoples are as different as Japanese and Chinese.

Yeah this is a generalization blah blah blah, and look at Mederic Clain of Corfidis but he is mixed race.

Yes you can go to some races and you will see color but at the elite level of road racing not. Not until you can get the Nilotics into bike racing will you see some color in elite cycling. And it is very complicated to do that.

Okay blow this theory apart.

And Kenneth I think you were thinking of Mederic Clain of Corfidis. Koffee you might find some more pictures for you thread there.
https://www.mederic-clain.fr.fm/
The places you talked about are poor countries so maybe the bottom line to all of this is just green,money.If your talking about that level of racing,you dont start when your an adult.
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