Bikes and breakfasts

August 15, 2016 § 27 Comments

One of my teammates is named Anthony Freeman. He was national champion in BMX several times. Coming from the inner city and competing in a mainly white sport, he had a lot of experiences that might make some people bitter.

Anthony’s not bitter. He’s positive, optimistic, and always looking on the bright side of things.

A few days ago he posted about getting a new aero bike and what a difference it made, how cheating the wind, even a little bit, can affect your placing in a race. It’s true, too. Bike equipment really does make a difference in everything from commuting to competition.

Having a bike with an electric motor can make the difference between being able to commute to a job 35 miles away or not having a job. Having the right aero rig can make the difference between winning and losing a time trial. Even small things like tires or electronic shifting can make the tiny difference between reaching your goal and failure.

Slippery clothing, helmets, tires … virtually every facet of the human-bicycle combination can affect outcomes, and of course they all cost money. It’s not called an arms race for nothing.

Anthony made this point and then he took it somewhere I’ve never been before. He related technical advantages in a bike race to social, economic, and healthcare advantages in society.

Think about it. If a few hidden cables and a better profile helmet make the difference between victory and success, what kind of difference does it make to a kid trying to make it in school whether he starts the day with food in his belly or not?

Whether he has eyeglasses so that he can see the board?

Whether he has a computer at home so that he can do his homework?

What cyclist can be focused on squeezing the last little dialed-in detail out of their bike but also oppose the most vulnerable people in our society from getting the huge leg up they need at the earliest, most formative times of their lives, especially when that leg up is as basic as food, healthcare, and education?

It’s an arms race, all right. But the weapons aren’t bikes. They’re bread, medicine, and books.


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§ 27 Responses to Bikes and breakfasts

  • Cesar Chavira says:

    Yes!! Fuq yes!! This needs to be read by everybody everywhere. I don’t think all hardened hearts wil be softened, but this NEEDS to be read far and wide.

  • BAR says:

    So true. Children without dental care, lacking preventive care or put to nap with a bottle, suffer painful infections and tooth loss. They can’t eat properly or concentrate. Their appearance is altered. Try going to school, getting proper nutrition or concentrating under those conditions. Same true for all kinds of other health care. Greetings from a state which still rejects billions of dollars for Medicaid so politicians could say they fought the Feds.

  • The self-centered, narcissistic cyclist who embodies the “what’s mine is mine and fug everyone else” motto. The cyclist who’s angered at the successes of Rahsaan or Marvin in a sport that’s supposed to be reserved for their kind, the cyclist who supports a Presidential candidate who’s motto is “Make America White Again”.

  • azorch says:

    Every school day – and a few that aren’t – I see first hand what a difference even a small advantage can make for a kid. Even the hardest of hearts doesn’t have to change the entire world to make a difference in the life of a kid. But as I write these words I realize even the smallest difference has the potential to do just that: change the entire world of one kid. This post touched me in a way that most internut blather doesn’t. Well played, sir.

  • says:

    I like this analogy! So when the kid who shows up with his huffy mob with tires pumped up to 20 psi who can’t beat the kid with the full on aero TT bike with kit and power meter — that kid is obviously not trying hard enough!

  • ErikR says:

    But, but, but… free market, blah blah, hand-out, gibbererish… MINE!

  • dangerstu says:

    Monday morning awesomeness, thanks Seth.

  • Midland says:

    BMXers on road bikes is a good thing.

  • Brian in VA says:

    Very well said, Seth! I’m going to share this on FB because I have some friends who may read it. And they need to.

  • dan martin says:

    Any poor kid can get free breakfast and lunch at any school in LA and the sobay. Any poor kid and their family can get free Obamacare Medi Cal in this state. Though lausd spent 1Billion to put an ipad in the hands of every student became a mess, but there are still free computers available in every public library and school library. Other than experiencing a personal economic disaster, if you can barely support yourself without govt money, why bring kids into the world anyway? Having kids doesnt make it easier to buy carbon bike parts.

  • […] the South Bay’s Seth Davidson relates the cost of shaving a few seconds off your racing time to ensuring children have food in their bellies, eyeglasses for school, and computers to do their […]

  • vcscribe says:

    Hear, hear!

  • sibex9591 says:

    An issue with the privileged is that they can’t see their privilege for what it is and for what it has given them. To them, they HAD a rough life, they HAD obstacles, their BOOTSTRAPS were dragging and THEY picked them up. If THEY could do that, than why can’t everyone else?

    Of course their logic is flawed beyond recognition, because they didn’t do anything by themselves. Nobody makes it by themselves. Only in fairy tales, and even there most of them have a fairy GodMother

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