An era in cycling that may be best forgotten

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Long time cyclist taking a respite on a park bench

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – After some repairs and a little rest, time to get the bike moving

“I still have the US Postal jersey and wear it. It was the time of Armstrong, but I kept the jersey. Who was doping who was not? At that time, it seemed everyone was taking drugs. It was not just the winner, but second, third, fourth; they all were doped. There was so much money at stake. It has become a time that is probably best forgotten.”

Photographer’s notes: Bike racing is a huge spectator sport in Europe. Cyclists wear the jerseys of their favourite ridders or teams, there is a massive awareness of teams, key races, the politics of the sport. During the three tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Giro d’Espana), the local café will have the TV set to the race, the same way America sport bars will carry the baseball World Series.

When we were chatting, we were both sympathetic to the dark period in cycling that has now passed. And we both hoped it would prove to be the worst period and would never be seen again. This was not about forgetting and repeating the mistake. Rather just put it behind us and look forward to a new, clean, era of cycling.

I found this rider struggling with his bike after he had fallen down the steps accessing the canal pathway. The rear wheel was dinged and so there were small adjustments needed. The bike was set so finely, the small blip in the wheel meant the brakes were now rubbing with every turn. … Easily repaired.

But the bike was the treat. The super-slim tires and its fast design. I would have expected something a bit more, shall we say, comfortable. But this was a nice little bike that was going to keep a decent pace.

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