Every year around the time of the Tour de France, I expect to read smarmy comments from U.S. sports commentators that cycling isn’t a “real” sport compared to American football or NASCAR. I was expecting some of the same when I read ESPN senior writer Jim Caple’s column on 10 reasons you’ll want to watch this year’s Tour de France. I was pleasantly surprised to see this instead:
Bicycles are the new SUV. I’m way ahead of the curve on this one, but bicycles are poised for a quantum leap in popularity. Continuing concerns about global warming, rising obesity, diabetes and traffic snarls will prompt more people to ride bicycles in the coming years.
Which is the biggest reason I love the Tour. Most of America’s most popular sports are enjoyed only from the couch. Not biking. No matter your age or weight, everyone can bike — and should. It’s fun, and a good way to get around — the extra time it takes to bike somewhere is easily made up by the time you save not looking for a parking space or going to the club for a workout.
More importantly, it’s good for you, good for the environment and good for the country. Who is more patriotic, the person who commutes to work on a bike, or the guy who slaps a U.S. flag decal on his SUV that gets 12 miles per gallon?
Is that cool or what?