Saturday, November 10, 2012

Greg Lemond, the R E A L American Bicycle Hero

Before Lance Armstrong's fraudulent cycling successes and subsequent meltdown  fall too far from our consciousness, here is an excerpt about Greg Lemond, the man he dethroned for a decade, from my book:

While many people know Reno as a weekend car get away for gambling and/or marriage, few know that it has deep bicycling roots. In fact, the man who re-energized bicycling in America, Greg Lemond, was groomed for bike racing by the same club whose outgoing president, Mike Damon, has long supported our National Bicycle Greenway efforts.

When, in 1976, at age 14 Lemond decided to take up cycling so
that he could improve his downhill skiing, it was the Reno
Wheelmen  that encouraged him to test his ability as a racer.
Soon,  Lemond  was placing near the top not only in their races,
but  in every race he could find. It wasn’t long before he was
burning up the California and then the national racing circuits.

Along the way, one of his biggest sponsors was Palo Alto
Bicycles, located here in the same city as the home office for the NBG.  In
1986, when Greg went on to become the first American to win cycling's
most prestigious annual event, the three-week, 2,000-mile,  Tour
de France, his success prompted many to take up the sport.

When he came back against long odds three years later to win
the Tour on its very last day, after first overcoming shotgun
wounds just to get to the starting line, he became a much exalted
American hero. His was a story of hope that touched the sick, the
old, the downtrodden, the poor and the rich as it brought people
from all walks of life to cycling.


And here is Greg kicking off a recent HiWheel race in Ohio:


Greg with HiWheel Legend Steve Stevens