Saturday, January 19, 2013

When A Cyclist Falls

Many of us can remember when we first learned how to ride a bike. In one of my first posts I wrote about David teaching my son how to ride his bike. In You Fall, I Fall, We All Fall Down I explained how David first taught my son how to fall before he even talked about balance. This worked brilliantly for my son and soon he was peddling on his own. 

Cycling is a big sport in our town. David belongs to Plano Bicycle Association who has done a great deal to keep the sport safe, fun and competitive. The rides are split up into different levels of skill from novice to highly experienced riders. 

For long distance cycling the riders have their feet clipped onto the peddles. For an experienced rider this carries no great risk but a new rider must learn to pull his foot from the peddle to avoid a crash. It's inevitable, when your learning everyone tips over once.  

To hear the members speak of their own experiences of falling and then tipping the others over as well it sounds funny.  Here's a first person perspective of the infamous clipless pedal fail.

Humorous tales aside, the sport can also be dangerous. Hazardous road conditions, distracted drivers, poor knowledge of cycling rules and climate can affect ride safety. 

The ability to know one's own limit is probably one of the most important skill cyclists might overlook. While many set goals at a reasonable pace there are those that would like to compete at a higher level. When it becomes less about improving your own performance and more about the quest for winning at someone else's challenge things can spin out of control. 

I've been interested to tune into Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong which aired on the OWN Network this week. 

Honestly, I wasn't shocked to learn of his use of banned substances. What did stun me was how many opportunities along the way that he had to come clean. As time progressed it seemed like he created a delusion of the impact of his own actions. 

Clearly we know that the practice of cheating wasn't isolated to Armstrong himself. We all know that doping isn't isolated to the sport of Cycling. Further yet, doping isn't isolated to sport. Winning at any cost has sunk it's way into the lives of our youth. Scoring drugs to out perform others in the world of academics is on the rise. 

I can appreciate a person's right to achieve his or her greatest potential. To push yourself harder to reach a goal or milestone is human. To let it all go to our heads perhaps is where our faulty human genes sets us apart from the other creatures. To know when enough is enough, we still have a long way to go.  

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