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The Mean Season.
Editorial by Tom Demerly.

Tom with award.

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 deal:

Ultimate Stupidity.
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 but ourselves."

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.


© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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