Today my “To Do” List included this item: write post for Commute by Bike. So this morning, I was brainstorming all kinds of fun ideas for topics to write about. And then I got back from a meeting and learned this. So really, there’s nothing else I feel like writing about right now, but I do feel compelled to write about this.
In case you didn’t click on that link, a young American professional female cyclist was killed on a training ride in Belgium today. Amy Dombroski was a great advocate for the sport of cycling; one who is gone far too soon. She was a great person on and off the bike and will be deeply missed.
At this point, you might be wondering, why am I writing about a professional cyclist here on Commute by Bike? The spandex clad crowd doesn’t make an appearance here all too often, and I’m not trying to change that.
However, I raced professionally for many years on the road and mountain. I hung up my race bike about a year ago due to a serious injury. I hung up my race bike so I could continue being a bike rider; so that I could continue being a bike commuter. That’s partly why I feel compelled to write about this today. I hope you’ll bear with me as I elaborate.
I’ve never been one to police boundaries when it comes to cycling, though I’m certainly aware of the differences among groups. There are examples, both positive and negative, of various actions taken by those who tend to wear spandex and those who do not. The fact of the matter is that cyclists are humans. And humans do nice things and stupid things to each other all of the time. Sometimes even at the same time.
In all of my years of riding, from Xtracycles to road bikes to mountain bikes and beyond, I’ve found that one thing rings true for me no matter what I’m riding or who I’m riding with – we are all united by our love of two wheels, despite any real or perceived differences otherwise. Because honestly, riding a bike is fun.
So as I start writing here at Commute by Bike more often, it’s going to be impossible for me not to bring along my love of bike racing, though I no longer do it. It undoubtably shapes my perspectives on cycling related matters, though I’d like to hope in a helpful way, as I can generally appreciate different sides of any issue. I’ve been a bike commuter as long or longer than I’ve been a bike racer. The most important thing for me is the ability and opportunity to be able to ride a bike. Any bike.
And I’ll generally stick to writing about bike commuting. Don’t worry.
All this is to say that the news this morning hit me hard. It does anytime I hear about any cyclist being injured or killed while riding. And this type of news has been coming in a lot lately, so sometimes it does help to talk about these things. Because let’s face it, cycling could be safer in many ways, and encouraging dialogue is one way to begin to improve bike safety. Despite all that, I’d still rather ride my bike than not.
But this news hurt a little more, in part because I’d raced against Amy for years, and she was truly one-of-a-kind, a great spirit. Maybe more importantly, the news hit hard because I know how difficult it is to pursue cycling as a sport, especially for women, and Amy was out there making sacrifices and living her dream.
Aren’t we all? One can only hope.
Anyhow, I hope you will all take a moment of silence now for Amy and all the other cyclists who deserve one. I offer my heartfelt condolences to their friends and family.
In their honor, let’s all try to share the love of two wheels wherever we go and whatever we ride.
Stay safe out there, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride and pursue those two-wheeled dreams, whatever they may be.