by Tim Blumenthal, PeopleForBikes president
PeopleForBikes is grateful for the active support of pro bike racers. Trek Factory Racing?one of the 18 top-tier professional squads that is part of the global UCI World Tour?has stepped up big-time for this year’s Tour de France (and the balance of the season) by putting the PeopleForBikes logo prominently on the sides of their team jerseys. Their racers have been tweeting and speaking to the media about the importance of our work and why all bike riders should join today.
Other pro teams?including (but not limited to) those sponsored by Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, Fuji, Shimano and SRAM?have helped us, too. Going forward, we hope to engage as many World Tour teams as possible to build awareness of our collective cause. We’re also counting on the organizers of major bike events, including races, charity rides, and recreational tours, to step up, too. Working together, we can improve bicycling’s public image and give the cause of safe bicycling more political clout. We can make riding better for everyone.
Some may struggle to see how professional road racers fit in here. After all, these are world-class elite athletes whose bodies and minds are finely tuned for optimum performance. Their bike-handling skills are exceptional. They race on roads that are temporarily off-limits to cars and trucks. On a day-to-day basis, their bike-riding environment can be pretty different from what most of us experience when we get out and pedal.
But pro bike racers have families (wives, children, parents, cousins) and neighbors who bike. When bike riding gets safer and easier in communities around the globe, their relatives and friends benefit just as the rest of us do. Pro racers?like Jens Voigt and Fr?nk Schleck of Trek Factory Racing who both have children?understand this and don’t hesitate to speak up in support of our mission.
Nearly all bike riders, even top pros, want the same thing: rides that are safe, appealing and convenient. PeopleForBikes works every day to provide (and improve) these experiences.
Pros pedal on a global stage that is watched by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Racers are influencers: what they say is heard, and when they talk about the need for better bike networks and safer roads, people listen all over the globe.
Pros recognize the importance of the relationship between motorists and bike riders. Where these interactions are respectful and positive, bike riding is not only safer, but much more fun. Where the road dynamic is tense, the cycling experience is stressful?even for those expert professionals who ride bikes for their living.
In our minds, it’s a great thing when people ride bikes?any time, anywhere, and for any reason. We’re happy to have pro bike racers on our side?and to be on the side of their high-profile uniforms.