Another bike month is here

Ah the month of May….

The flowers return from a long winter’s absence (if there is any water left), the sun is appearing (if it actually every went away), fans flock to baseball games (if allowed) and numerous employees are encouraged, berated, bribed and pressured into throwing a leg over a bike to get to work. That’s right folks – May is bike month. And while I’ve made fun of it before, you gotta love it.

I will say this though. My current hometown of San Francisco definitely seems to embrace the event whole heartedly. Sure, many of the local bicycle advocacy groups continue to use fear of death and dismemberment as their primary means to gain political power and thus “improve cycling.” But despite what some might like to say, this city is pretty damn supportive of cyclists.

Which has lead me to be a whole lot less cynical about this particular May as compared to every bike month prior. What have I really noticed? Well, aside from folks weaving all over the bike lane at 10 miles per hour, unstable on the bike they haven’t ridden since last May*, I’ve noticed something a lot more wonderful. Clusters of folks with bikes , pulled off on the sidewalks and out of the way, smiling, chatting. Phrases like “Oh – you rode today too?” and “Oh hey – what a great bike” flowing forth from smiling lips.

Ah the month of May.


For the record, I have no problem getting stuck behind these folks. I would never want to deny anyone the joy of rediscovering the simple pleasure of riding a bike. I just may chose NOT to upload that particular commute to Strava….

If May was bike month, what is June?

May is bike month. We all know it, and many of us go on about it. We get bike to school day, bike to work day, and in addition a whole bike to work week! Local coffee shops, bike shops and assorted business get the excuse opportunity to set up tables along popular bike routes and paths giving away free swag and looking very bike-friendly. This should be a month for me to rejoice – to share enthusiasm and passions with the greater cycling community. A time for us to pat ourselves on our collective back and take stock in how far advocacy efforts have come. And May is action packed with a lot more than just advocacy and riding to work. On the racing front, we had not only the grand american race Tour of California, but also the Giro d’Italia.  The Tour of Cali was especially engaging for me this year, as I watched one of my personal favorites – and fellow old guy – Chris Horner appear to struggle through the Time Trial with an anchor on his bike. The setback would have crushed the spirits of other folks. But the drama unfolded in the final significant climbs of the race as Horner, Jens Voigt (another personal favorite and fellow old guy) and others took a flyer off the front. Slowly riders from the break away dropped one by one, until Chris Horner had actually made back all the time lost in the TT and then some.  He climbed his way into first place on paper – as Phil Liggett likes to say – and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately the herculean effort was not enough and he was eventually caught. But what a way to highlight what bike month is supposed to be about – enjoying all aspects of bicycles. Rolling the cruiser, commuting to work, or ripping the peloton apart.

Unfortunately, this time around all Bike Month managed to do for me was remind me that the other 11 months are not bike month.  June came this year to punch me in the gut and drive the point home. June has brought us the apparent implosion (again) of what should have been the best team in the peloton – RadioShack Nissan Trek. Andy Schleck has been plagued by … something … all season. There are already rumors of the Schleck boys leaving the squad. When the team announced their Tour de France lineup, Chris Horner was not on the list. This lead to all kinds of speculation and drama as to why that happened. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the presumed Tour de France GC contender Andy Schleck was not going to make it due to injury. Ahh, but poor Bruyneel wasn’t done with bad news yet. Just when we thought it was over, Bruyneel and Mr Armstrong find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Yup – doping allegations again. What is a cycling enthusiast to do.

But hold on a second…

I once again started my commute on a bicycle this morning in beautiful San Francisco. I passed numerous folks doing the same thing. I continue to ride my bike and enjoy it. And despite the fact that folks are predicting a guilty finding for Armstrong would “destroy cycling” my bike will still pedal and roll regardless of a USADA decision regarding Armstrong.

So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let June suck for Bruyneel and Armstrong. Come July, I’ll be keeping track of the Tour de France and enjoying it. Bike Month is irrelevant to me, honestly. I don’t have a bike month, or even a bike year. I have a bike life, and plan to until I can’t turn my pedals any more.