Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

June 16, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Atapuma wins first Suisse climbing stage; Nail biting final sees Majerus win stage 1 in the Aviva Women’s Tour; Five bicycles in Kalamazoo; Cameron Meyer leaves Dimension Data with immediate effect; Ryder on Meyer leaving Dimension Data: ‘It’s sad for all of us’; The races across and down America: Infected dog bites, a record holder out and flat batteries; Gay cycling champ promotes an authentic and visible life; Police searching for man placing tacks along cycling routes; IAM Cycling bus gets stuck at Tour de Suisse; Thousands of naked cyclists hope to increase awareness in Mexico; On-board footage from Tour de Suisse, stage 4; A day with Toms Skujins at Tour de Suisse; Spanish paralympian training for Rio

Five bicycles in Kalamazoo

by CyclingTips

The tragedy of a driver crashing into nine cyclists on a group ride a week ago near Kalamazoo, Michigan, leaving five dead and four seriously injured, has sent shockwaves through the cycling community. One of the outcomes of the incident is highlighting the ongoing conflict between cyclists and motorists, and the severity of the incident has brought it to the attention of the mainstream media.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay wrote a moving piece, directed to a wide audience of non-cyclists, on what a group ride means to cyclists, including the nine riding together on that fateful night. Here is an excerpt:

What happened in Kalamazoo breaks a heart a hundred ways. It breaks a heart on the facts alone: so much loss, so much grief. It breaks a heart for the families of the cyclists and their close friends, who feel the impact most deeply. It breaks a heart for the community. Kalamazoo already suffered a tragedy this year that attracted national attention—a mass shooting which had killed six.

For cyclists, Kalamazoo breaks a heart because this is the deepest fear. It also breaks a heart because these group rides are essential to the sport. Group rides are often where bike riders become cyclists, where they learn handling techniques, etiquette and essential skills like pace lines, in which riders take turns (“pulls”) at the front and then gently rotate to the back to protect themselves from the wind.

“It’s where it all starts,” said Brent Bookwalter, a pro cyclist for BMC, an elite professional team, who grew up in nearby Grand Rapids and this July hopes to compete in the Tour de France. “I wouldn’t be where I am without that great community of caring people in Western Michigan.”

Group rides become families. Some of them stick together for decades, even if the riders might not be able to recognize each other in street clothes, without helmets and Spandex. “You know people by what they ride,” said Tim Krone, who owns Kalamazoo’s Pedal Bicycles shop. “’Hey, you’re red Fuji guy!’” A group ride might be as important an outlet to a cyclist as anything in his or her life. There are fast rides and slower rides, but the beloved rides are the ones in which everyone looks out for each other and maintains an agreed-upon pace, making the group feel like a single, fluid organism.

Click through to read more at The Wall Street Journal.