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August 2, 2011
It’s great to be back home in Australia and to see that a good chunk of winter is behind us. I’ve neglected many things on this blog while away and have over 4000 unread emails in my inbox. I’m sorry to say, I probably won’t get around to it…
I have some exciting things going on in my personal and professional life and today marks a new chapter for me. I’m also 5kg heavier than I was a couple months ago and desperately need to get some riding in if I want to compete in the excellent races quickly approaching. I have lots to catch up on!
This also marks a new time for Australian cycling. Cadel’s Tour de France win will be a massive catalyst to boost the profile of cycling and for people wanting to get involved. Green Edge will also play a big part in this and we’ll be seeing some news on their roster very soon. I’ve been paying attention to the mainstream media headlines here and they’re encouraging. Despite some negative commentary dismissing Cadel’s achievement, it followed with explosion of positive rebuttals in the media that gained even more press.
All of this newfound attention to our sport needs to be leveraged in a number of different ways. It would be great to cycling grow in numbers, have more events and sponsors on board, and give the sport the recognition it deserves.
More than anything, the number one change I’d personally like to see is a shift in our perception on the roads. The influx of new cyclists out there on weekend mornings will likely increase and so will the problems with motorists. Australia sadly lost two well known young cyclists during the TdF. Carly Hibberd and John Cornish. John’s tragic death hit me extremely hard for a couple different reasons: I knew him well and was talking with him just a few days prior, and he died on a stretch of road we all cycle on every week. It’s extremely confronting. I love my cycling, but not enough to risk dying for. I know of a disproportionate amount of people who have been killed or seriously injured on our roads and it definitely makes me pause to think if this sport is worth the risk. I’m not staying this to be an alarmist. This deeply disturbs me.
If it weren’t for the efforts of the Amy Gillett Foundation’s (AGF) hard work campaigning for change on our roads I’d have little hope that things would get better instead of worse. I can relate to the sentiment of “this doesn’t apply to me”. I’ve thought this many times as well. However, if you’re a cyclist and you ride on any road, I couldn’t think of a cause that’s more applicable.
The AGF is working on a national campaign for bike safety on our roads and you can donate here to help them make it happen.
Now more than ever the spotlight will be on us. We can often be our own worst enemy and it’s up to us to change that, not the Amy Gillett Foundation or anyone else. If you want to know one of the biggest difference between the PROs and many of us, it’s how they conduct themselves out on the roads.
Be safe out there.