Copper0polis … 2008
Sitting at the finish line of Copper, i had a chance to speak with Hannah Banks of the Value Act Capital Team. We were discussing bike racing, i guess … but as we sat in the sun and riders passed by in sprints and spurts, our talk turned to more serious matters of safety out there for us all.
You see, Hannah was a member of that AIS team that had members killed when a driver went crazy-stupid back in Germany. Remember that?
oh, that was just horrible. She was one of the few who weren’t on that ride that day.
And as we sat and talked more and more, i was able to see how articulate, intelligent, pleasant the young woman is … and all at 21 years old.
Hannah Banks is an excellent spokesperson for any company and she will be a powerful force as she develops more in her life.
Seeing and talking to her gave me hope that there might be more like her out there, amongst the vast herds of humanity. Talking to her almost made up for the crapfest of a start i had to my geezer race. you see, I was dinking around before the start and just rolled up to the back of the pack at the line. I was in my own little world, but very happy with how beautiful it was, how big the turnouts were for all the fields, how good it all was. and then … i looked down and noticed somebody had just tossed down a damn gel wrapper on the ground.
“oh shit, you’re kidding me?” i said in surprise and dismay … and to no one at all, just to myself … but, i guess my voice carries a bit more than i often remember. And so, to the side of me shoots a quick shit of cynicism from Mark Noble of TimeFactory,
“oh, come off it!” he chirps, basically telling me that i was being a prissy-do-right by caring about discarded gel packs or bottles tossed on roadways.
- – -
are you f’g kidding me?
i show surprise and disgust at some chumpbag dropping trash AT THE STARTLINE OF THE RACE and he gets all “you can’t save the world, liberal pinko” in my face.
BULLSHIT, says i.
so, i railed on his so-cal ass that if he needed his Escalade sent up from the caravan i’d burn some forests in smoke signal for the rest of his so-cal slutbags to unplug themselves from whatever reality-show of the minute they’re “living” in and drive-thru their asses up to our backyard to help distribute more of his garbage around, too.
Now, i can say this to Noble because he’s 1) a good guy; and 2) a limey; and 3) needing to be told this shit. in public.
In the end, his viewpoint is ~ “are you going to save the world by doing that?”
and mine is, “well, i’m not going to fuck it up more, am i?”
and isn’t that the starting place? Don’t we have to STOP FUCKING IT UP MORE before we can even begin to start “saving it”?
i’m just asking.
- – -
Anyway, back to Hannah Banks ~ you see, while we were sitting there at the finish line, watching racers cross the line and cheering all the sufferings on … we continued discussing how to bridge this seemingly uncrossable gap between the driver (of any country) and the bicyclist.
As we all know, when we’re out on the roads … sometimes drivers just flat out don’t care, or don’t THINK to care about our safety. It’s true. Let’s just be honest about it.
So the question is ~ in the face of the deaths of our friends, our teammates, our family members … in the face of them being killed and our mourning of it, or shock over it, our righteous rage over the injustice of it …
THE QUESTION IS ~ how do we bridge that gap to the driver, the consumer, the fellow citizen we have bonded together with in this social contract we are a part of, like it or not.
and i’m convinced, it is to put a face to it all. put a connection in place between us humans … and work damn hard to maintain that connection. Hannah mentioned the public service announcement that aired in Australia after her teammates were killed by that motorist in Germany. Where it erred, we opined, was in that it did not have a real, honest human experience attached to it, communicating through it.
What we need are people, drivers and cyclists alike, to see and be touched by the real and devastating consequences of our habits, be they on the road at 25mph, or at the startline with a used gel packet in our hand.
Decide given the full knowledge of the consequences of your action.
or get the hell out of my way.
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