Watching people ride bikes

July 22, 2008

This morning I spent about two hours with 50 of my closest friends. OK. These other 49 people and I had four things in common…

We like cycling.
We watch the Tour de France as much as we can.
We like breakfast.
We were willing to jet into Somerville, MA at 9AM on a Tuesday to eat breakfast with strangers while watching the Tour.

I’ve been blogging the race for the past 15 stages (today is stage 16) and I’ve been doing it practically solo.

This blog entry will run both at and here on Bowl of Cheese. But that’s because while I was watching the Tour I met some riders and took some photos.

In order for them to find the photos, they’re going to look at my Tour de France blog and not here.

The interesting thing was that so many people were up, coherent and willing to spend social time with other people while watching TV.

Social and community norms were followed. No serious topics, no seriously blatant cheering, and a generous respect for ‘morning’ moods.

As an article, the slant would be going after a bunch of cyclists and finding out how far they rode to be with other like-minded riders.

I’d find out what types of bikes were in the complimentary bike parking lot (bike valets took bikes at the door and stored them in the basement while people ate).

And I’d find out who had been to a stage of the Tour in person.

With this group, I found that many had ridden long distances and had nice bikes. They also harbor a healthy respect for the skills of the riders, are angered by the repeated doping, and hope that each stage is as exciting as this one.

From a rider almost flinging himself 2800 meters down a mountain, to a breakaway that lasted all the way to the finish, to the very real possibility that yellow would change hands again – this was a really great morning.

By next year I’ll have another road bike – or more likely a cross bike – and will make an effort to attend on the proper two wheels.

Today I scooted to the city to be with my brethren and I realized what I’ve been missing by being off the bike.

I guess I’ll have to find a way to fit the dirt, pavement and scooter into my recreational life.

As I type this I’m still grinning about the colorful kits (these are biking uniforms), the fun stories people shared (the worst muscle cramps anyone has had), and the tasty buffet-style breakfast provided by Redbones (eggs, sausage, home fries and pulled pork hash).

What a ride!

More to come…