The Mean Season.
Editorial by Tom Demerly.
With the onset of the busiest time of the year and the
loss of a friend it has been hard to sit down and write
much. Maybe there is some good in that. Since it's been
a while it is worth updating information from some of
our previous editorials before we get back into the swing
of putting up new ideas and perspectives.
Here is an update on a couple of the
editorials I've written and what has happened since they
went up. Some of this is encouraging stuff, some of it
downright depressing. All of it is standard life, typical
On March 28 I put up an editorial (tirade) about helmet
use. I threatened to pull down our local ride schedule
if people didn't start wearing helmets, and discontinue
our sponsorship of local clubs whose members were seen
riding without helmets.
They have not, so I did. The ride board
is gone. It was a great idea and resource but the selfish actions
of two people ruined it for many.
In the game of Russian Roulette that is
road cycling the loaded chamber rotated to the gun barrel on
May 2nd, Friday, at 9:37 P.M. and my best friend of 18 years
was standing in front of it. He is dead now.
My buddy was wearing a helmet and doing
what he could to be safe, but this is a dangerous sport. Nothing
could have saved him. He was hit from behind by a car and killed.
Because he was wearing a helmet he was in compliance with our
(and his) request that people wear helmets. He also took it
upon himself to send out e-mails two weeks prior reminding all
club members to wear helmets. When I eulogized him at his funeral
I singled out several people who received his and my e-mails
to wear their helmets. Less than 72 hours later two of them
were seen on a training ride without helmets. So the ride board
is gone and we pulled our sponsorship of the club they belong
to. Some people never learn.
We tried to be supportive of local cycling,
but the cyclists betrayed us by violating basic rules of common
sense and putting my employees and me at risk. In my original
editorial I said I wouldn't allow that, so I am not.
The people who made a willful, selfish,
egotistical choice to ride without a helmet did not understand
a basic rule of society: Sometimes we have to conform to certain
behaviors for the benefit of the group, at the inconvenience
of the individual.
They chose that their unalienable, God-given
right to ride a bicycle in the road without a helmet was more
important than lawsuits, beginning riders who may benefit from
our ride board and the bad publicity cycling gets when someone
dies. In utter indifference to those who have to clean up their
blood and brains when they get hit by a car (me) with no helmet,
they said (with their behavior), "We don't care about anyone
So they decided to go out and ride around
town with no helmet. Less than three days after our friend was
killed. Less than four weeks after I ran the editorial. Less
than a week after the UCI passed a ruling that pros have to
wear helmets in races like the Tour de France (with some limitations).
Less than two months after a top European professional died
in crash because he wasn't wearing a helmet.
What's the moral? Stupid People Stay
Stupid and Never Underestimate the Human Capacity for Stupidity.
Since Michael R. Rabe died on May 2nd the
sun did not shine here for 7 consecutive days.
On a lighter note the cats
we rescued have all been adopted into nice homes. My Mom took
one, Kim, our website administrator took another and a nice
customer took the third. The first two I see frequently and
they are doing great. They are typical kittens and basically
spending all day (and sometimes night) acting insane, chasing
things that aren't there and doing kitten things.
It was nice that something actually worked
out well for once and we were able to do some good.
Following that we discovered a duck who
had laid eggs and built a nest less than four feet from the
curb on Military street near the end of our Wednesday night
ride. We were concerned the duck or ducklings would wander into
the busy road in front of her. We built a fence between her
and the road, surrounding her nest and protecting her and her
eggs from traffic. We also provided a clear path for her to
get to water once the ducks are born. It's funny what you find
while you're out training.
On February 12 I wrote an editorial about waiting for your bike.
Some people read it and have been very gracious, courteous and
patient. Others have acted like spoiled brats and thrown their
toys. It still remains a mystery to me why a person cannot understand
that, in a global economy, things like two wars, SARS, a rotten
economy, terrorism and a long list of other factors affect shipping
times of bikes. Hey guys, that stuff you see on CNN is not reality
TV. It is reality. And it affects us all. Some bikes are designed
in Canada, welded in Taiwan, assembled in Seattle from parts
made in Japan and shipped (eventually) to us. Do the math: That
is about a lap and a half of the earth. 317 separate parts have
to come together from all over the world in the right place
at the right time, despite wars, epidemics and terrorism in
the countries they come from. When you think about it that way,
it's a wonder we have any bikes this year at all.
For the people who have been patient and
gracious: Thank you. For those who have been obnoxious and demanding:
Grow up. Remember something basic you should have learned in
Kindergarten: Be patient, keep your promises, learn to wait
in line and be kind to others.
An Elite Athlete.
The story that attracted incredible attention. Now I have a
literary agent. That's right, I actually have a literary agent.
In New York. While I'm writing this I am supposed to be doing
the first three chapters of my first book. The very concept
is incredible to me. I have no idea what I am doing.
That story was an example of how fickle
our media is. I was in the right place at the right time. I
hope people are still interested in my writing by the time the
book(s) are done. This is also an example of how powerful the
Internet is. As a writer "An Elite Athlete" made me
an overnight sensation. An "author" whom literary
agents were competing over. And all I wrote was 1,000 words
at a bike shop website at the right moment in history. Amazing.
I hope I can actually make something out of this. If I get this
damn thing done please buy a copy and read it. I promise I will
make it as good as I know how. Now I actually have to write
the damn thing.
Thanks again for checking the editorial
page and my apologies for taking a break. Now we can get back
to work and hopefully produce some thought provoking material.