It has been five days since I got on my Fuji Silhouette bicycle and rode it. So this evening as I finally worked up the guts to do just that and was mulling over a title for this blog, I thought of the words, “Shut Up, Legs!” This is the catchphrase of Jens Voigt, who rode the Tour de France 17 times, a record only beaten this year by Sylvain Chavanel. He retired in 2014 the day after his 43rd birthday and setting a new one-hour bike record — the farthest anyone had ridden a bike in one hour. You can see my ride today on Strava here.
The Tour is over for this year, but you can still watch it by subscribing to NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass. (Go to this link to subscribe; it lasts for the whole year so you can watch La Vuelta a Espana and other races, but only in the US.) I’m a little late to the party since I’m still watching it on a Roku donated to me by dear mum. (So don’t spoil it by commenting on the winner or anything past Stage 11, please! I however may spoil it if you are are on Stage 1.) I am way behind because of life getting in the way but still enjoying it. Like many Americans, I got into the Tour a few years after a certain famous Austin cyclist won it seven times in a row. After that was, um, cancelled, I stopped watching for a few years (also like many Americans). But I couldn’t stay away, so I’ve been watching it every year for a while now, and still think it’s worth it. Here’s why I think you should watch it, too.
The first Texan to ride in the Tour de France since 2005, Gregory “Lawson” Craddock (Twitter, Strava) who is from Houston but lives here in Austin, Texas first appeared in the TDF in 2016. Returning after a not great 2017, on Saturday during on Stage 1, he crashed due to a water bottle in the road. Diagnosed with a fractured scapula and gashes on his forehead and elbow, he received treatment en route and finished the ride. After recovering some on Saturday and a tearful interview declaring he had come too far to give up so easily, he rode again Sunday and again today. He’s using his misfortune to inspire others and for charity, too. A Dude Abikes salutes his grit and gumption, so I had to give him a shout out from my little speck of the internet. Go Lawson!
In the April 8th edition of the local paper, there was an article about JoJo McKibben, who had a traumatic accident after being hit by an SUV while biking last summer. In fact, the cyclist became trapped under the SUV, and seven people actually had to lift the car off of her! The first driver was drunk and indicted but is free on bond and has yet to go to trial.
Earlier this month she was hit again, but fortunately was not hurt as badly. The second driver is in jail on a lesser charge. Both accidents show that while Austin has the image of being a bike-friendly city, and in some ways it is better than others (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio — I’m talking to you). But the reality is much different. I know, I bike most days and fear for my life multiple times because of distracted, bad or mean drivers.