Respecting Cyclists: Share the Road!

RAGBRAI 16 routeOMG! Pay attention motorists. Today is the first day of RAGBRAI–the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa–and the first year that they are honoring fallen cyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles. Riders were asked to respect a mile of silence to remember those cyclists who were killed by motorists this year.  And dammit if a motorist didn’t already strike and kill a 72 year old cyclist at 6:40 a.m. on the very first day!

What is it going to take for car drivers to pay attention and share the road?

As I write this the Tour de France has wrapped up this year. It is a halfway point in the racing season and already there have been serious accidents involving motorbikes and automobiles and cyclists. In January six members of the Giant-Alpecin team was seriously injured (requiring hospitalization) when a British woman was driving on the wrong side of the road in Spain. Another rider is still in hospital in a coma, and the list goes on. Tony Martin and others are lobbying for changes in the way professional races are organized to increase safety.

As many of you know I am enthusiastic for the Bike and Build program where young adults ride their bicycles across the USA from east to west, stopping to build affordable housing along the way. Unfortunately there is no way to make it completely safe. In 2011 Bike and Build suffered their second fatality and it was one of Sarah’s team leaders, Christina. Last year we were heartsick again when 2 people were struck by a vehicle and one killed. And then it happened again this year.

I know some cyclists act like idiots and cause aggravation by disrespecting traffic signals and taking risks; they should knock it off. Drivers remember–especially if you are in an SUV–you are like a tank to a pedestrian or cyclists, and it takes you about 1 ounce of energy to stop or start. Plus cyclists and pedestrians are doing good things for their health and the health of the planet. So share the flippin’ road.

This is a heavy-hearted post. So much needless loss of life. And we know the drivers must live with this on their hearts too. Here is some comic relief. If only we could create this kind of joy on the road everyday.

Stage 20: Tony Martin Wins Time Trial!

Today is Stage 20: the one and only time trial. I have been following Tony Martin’s career since he rode for Columbia HTC.  He has mastered the discipline of the time trial where the best in the business maintain their focus and wattage for a solid 50 to 70 minutes.

Tony Martin, 3 time world time trial champion, crushed it! 

This year Tony was put on the spot at the pre-Tour Team Presentation when they asked him how Mark Cavendish is as a leader. He froze. You could imagine the thought balloons above his head as he fished for something to say that would please the home crowd. Mark just leaned across the bikes and grinned at him. It reinforced the image some may have of a reserved Germanic machine.

Waiting outside the Omega Pharma Quick Step team bus yesterday at the departure, I saw the other side of Tony Martin. He has a charming smile and he has charisma. He also speaks English well and is very patient and polite with fans.

Bike camera installed on Tony Martin's bicycle.
Bike camera installed on Tony Martin’s bicycle.

Yesterday the mechanics outfitted his bike with the on-bike camera. (They were going to upload the film to the OPQS website depending on how the race went; did not see anything on site). 

Davide of OPQSI started the tour without a “favorite team” as I admire riders on BMC, Trek and other teams. Then standing at OPQS team area waiting for riders to wrap up their team meeting, I chatted with Davide Bramati, the sport director, and began to realize how many of their riders I admire. Of course there is Mark Cavendish. This video of Mark Cavendish in team car with Davide Bramati is fun. 

Mark’s early departure meant that his teammates were freed up from recreating the lead train on possible sprint finishes and Matteo Trentin won stage 7 and Tony Martin won stage 9 and now stage 20.

This is the team where Brian Holm is also a sports director. I enjoyed watching him in the Tour movie Chasing Legends. Plus they have “Prince Harry” or Mark Renshaw.Mark Renshaw

In the first week, back in Yorkshire, (that feels like a million years ago) one of my Trek Travel teammates really like OPQS and now I can say they are my favorite team too.