Monday, October 22, 2012

Road Biking's Image Problem

 Over the last few weeks since the beginning of Lance Gate as some call it.  We have seen lots of mudslinging and he did and they said commentary. Books have and will be written as people try to convince themselves and  others that what they did and are doing is right.  And riders will hope that this great Performance Enhancing Drug scandal of 2012 will make the public image of road cycling better.

 Yet the problem of how Joe Public views road cycling is much greater then that. At least half of that is how road cycling is shown to North America by the media here. When it comes to endurance sport other then the Olympics only other time we see road cycling is the Tour. So all people see is a small number of high performance cyclist's doing something that seems so abnormal to them. You never see a 2 hour December NBC sports show covering a Grandfondo. So all these doping incidents further their view that road cycling/racing is just a gathering of drug taking freaks.

Now if you look at the Ironman which thanks to NBC has a whole different perception. Unlike the 80's you see less pro level racing and more everyman. Then they show all the regular people who are doing it... the Hoyts, Sarah Renertson, Rudy, Lisa Bentley racing the world's best with MS, Marc Herreman's, and the list is endless. And of course the Denizens of The Dark those who no matter what just won't quit to get to the pier by midnight. 

And despite Nina Kraft, Kelli Guest, and Mike Vine to name a few getting caught doping. People see that there is more to it the sport then the doping. It becomes little more then a speed bump in people's perception. Now imagine the change of perception if a 2 hour broadcast of a Grandfondo was like that. Not only pro's but you see guy's like Phil Chew doing it and other everyman. Show Chansen pulling his son around the course . Gaurantee you that public perception will change because they see that there is more then just the tour and the Olympics.  

Until we see a broadcasting shift in a different direction the perception of Joe Public will not improve.

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