in case you haven't yet noticed, certain things have come to light in our cycling world lately that don't exactly make us feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. sure, there's hope the current dark period will mean brighter skies in the future. when that future might be i have absolutely no idea. i'm still waiting for the post-festina clean peloton. i hope it shows up soon cause the post-puerto clean peloton is waiting in the wings and isn't getting any younger. but there's every reason to believe that this time things will be different. with people like pat mcquaid in charge of cycling, how can positive change not come out of this?
anyway, my purpose for this post is not to further depress everyone. despite the crooked assholes and cheating dirtbags, cycling is still awesome. it's just hard to see the beauty when the fan is still being bombarded with shit. so i figured i would highlight a couple things that happened this year that managed to make me feel good about cycling and the people involved in it. hopefully you folks will share some of the things that you've found encouraging in the comment section and we can all feel a little bit better about our sport.
here i go: the biggest thing for me this year was social media. and yes, good things can come out of a bunch of anonymous jokesters wasting time on twitter. things like the fan backed women's team, or the paul kimmage defense fund. what impact will those things have in the long run remains to be seen, but it's nice to see the fans of the sport at least trying to take things in their own hands instead of sitting on the sidelines watching things deteriorate without lifting a finger. you want to see a social media based initiative actually making a difference? look no further than the cafe's own Sarah and Dan and their social media jersey awards. that my friends is what i like to see. people getting involved in a way that makes the sport better for all of us. the riders get awards, the fans get to participate, and the whole thing encourages even more rider-fan interactions. win-win-win.
another thing that's been encouraging for me is what i've seen at a more grassroots level. the first part of that is watching the next generation of DDIFPs getting into the sport. kids that know nothing of the festina affair. kids that don't know who hein verbruggen is. kids that just enjoy going around in circles on the velodrome, that love cycling for what it boils down to, riding a bike. that's pretty much all they know about the sport and it's more than enough. they could care less if some bank on the other side of the ocean is no longer sponsoring some cycling team they've never heard of. they'll still be riding and loving it tomorrow. the second part of this grass roots thing involves that tomorrow. i've talked of ultracross around here before (for those of you who still haven't seen the light, it's basically long ass rides on dirt roads in the mountains). i've been into it for a couple years now and it's awesome how more and more people are getting into it. new races are popping up. people are organizing ultracx rides. and again, the bullshit happening in pro cycling has just about zero effect on that. it's people who love to ride finding new and exciting ways to ride. the entire pro cycling world can burn down to the ground and kids will still fall in love with bikes and some of them will keep riding them well into adulthood with like minded people all over the world. you might not be able to make a living off of it, but it will make your life better.
anyway, that's some of the things that greatly lessen the impact of all the bad news in the world of cycling for me. any positives you'd like to share with the class?