The question was raised: Is Cycling the Worst Spectator Sport in the World?
In that article, the author missed the point entirely, of course. They always do. But who has time to explain it to him? And would he listen, anyway?
In that article, he laments having spent hours waiting by the road for the Whoosh to go by. He also asks the popular ‘Why would anyone ever get on a bike – when there are cars, buses and trams?’ He also goes into great detail about how unpleasant the act of riding a bike is.
He’s wrong, of course. Horribly. And I’m only going to address one aspect of his wrongesse: the part about waiting for hours for a 47-second blur.
Dude, the anticipation is the event. The blur is the exclamation mark.
When the entire town of Dawson, GA (population 5,058) turned out to watch the Tour de Georgia roll through their village, that was the point. Not for them to watch the tactics of racing. Not for them to see the then-famous and then-revered Lance goddam Armstrong. It was all designed to bring them out of their houses for a few hours, let them mingle with their neighbors, buy hot dogs from the Rotary Club, spend a few dollars in their convenience stores, make a sign that reads, “go USA”, wave the flag of their home country, and then feel the slow build of anticipation for the 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the first rider, and MAYBE pick up a packet of Jelly Bellys (depending on how many fell out of the Mobile PA car on its way through town).
That’s the event. That’s what an Amgen Tour of California can do that an NHL game can’t.
The NBA will never play a game in Silverton, Colorado. I doubt any NFL superstar will ever visit Woodland, CA. But the people of those towns shared a moment when the guy who won the Tour de France rode down their Main Street.
So the answer is no. Cycling isn’t the worst spectator sport in the world.
Whether you’re a new racer, an aspiring pro, a team manager, or even a roadside fan, Reading the Race will elevate your cycling IQ for better racing.
Find the book in your local bookstore, bike shop, or online: