Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bicycle Racing

There are roughly 190 countries in the world, and in the majority of them, soccer is king. Baseball and Football rule in America, Cricket rules in India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, and Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are all co-addicted to both Cricket and Rugby. But in Belgium, yes, in Belgium, Bicycle Racing is Imperator Cæsar.

Europeans wax eloquent about Soccer's philosophical underpinnings, Baseball fans go headlong into historical analyses, and Cricket fans will do a bit of both, and we Cycling fans? Well, we have a few points of our own.

Beyond consisting of arguably the hands-down hardest-working athletes out there, in its essence cycle racing is totally organic. By that I mean: it is only natural to go fast on a bike. Its entire raison d'être is to propel someone faster than walking-speed. From this comes the propensity to go ever faster, and what is more natural than to give your riding buddy "the look", and either pour it on each other or sprint to the street sign?

Some sports are contrived (I don't mean that in the pejorative sense at all), and are limited in where they can be played: only baseball and cycling can be done just about anywhere, as long as you have the wherewithal. No matter how much derny exhaust goes in your face.

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