Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time for a reality check.

I think everyone needs to sit back, and calm the fuck down for a minute.

By now everyone has heard that only hours after the Olympic cycling time trial competitions, in which Bradley Wiggins and Kristen Armstrong won the men's and women's fields respectively, a 28 year old male cyclist was run over and killed by a double-decker bus carrying some Olympic journalists.

The incident was described on by another cyclist who witnessed the entire thing first hand.  I read it last night and it was harrowing.  Essentially the cyclist rode up along side the bus when it stopped at a light, instead of waiting behind it.  When the light changed, both the cyclist and the bus made left turns (the equivalent of the right turn here in the states) and the cyclist got pinched between the bus and the curb with no where to go and was dragged underneath the tires.  The bus stopped and the observer rushed to the aid of the trapped cyclist.  The individual who witnessed all of this and originally described it has subsequently taken down the description for fear of offending the killed cyclist's family, however did leave the following partial description:

"I crawled up to him and tried to talk to him.  I asked him his name and told him he was going to be alright.  He didn't say anything because I don't think he could, but he looked straight at me.  I did my best to look him straight in the eyes and tell him he was going to be ok.  He was so afraid."

Naturally, the media turned to Bradley Wiggins for a comment on the incident:

"...if you get knocked off and you ain't got a helmet on, then how can you kind of argue."

Immediately, Twitter erupted with such vitriol toward Wiggins that you would have thought that he pushed the poor man under the bus himself.  And out of context, his statement does sound pretty ridiculous, making it all the easier to make Wiggins the target here.  BikeSnob NYC was already amongst those taking shots at him on Twitter this morning. 

But I'm asking myself, why did anyone in the media think that asking Bradley Wiggins to comment on this incident moments after a fierce competition was a good idea?  Did that gold medal he won suddenly make him an expert on bicycling safety?  Does anyone really think Wiggins commutes to work through the busy city streets every morning and night?  Will Wiggins be training for his next race by riding the streets of downtown London through city traffic? 

And even if you did want Wiggins' take on the situation, who thought it was a good idea to ask him literally hours after he just competed and won one of the biggest races of his life?  I'm guessing his head was probably somewhere else at the moment, and he may have already had a few of those vodka tonics he was suggesting he would be consuming after the race.  In his defense he goes on to clarify that he is unfamiliar with the city these days:

"It's dangerous, and London is a busy city.  I haven't lived in London for 10 to 15 years now, and it's got a lot busier since I was riding a bike as a kid round here.  But at the end of the day, we've all got to co-exist on the roads.  So there's got to be a bit of give and take."

I'm not defending Wiggins at all - honestly, I have no feelings for or against the guy.  I'm merely saying that to praise Wiggins one moment for his great achievement and then crucify him literally an hour later for a singular uninformed reactionary response to a situation he knew precious little about is stupid. But it is so typical for the cycling twitterati that Wiggins has already referred to as "bone-idle wankers," and to be honest, I couldn't agree more.

It's similar to those that are incessantly bitching about the supposed failures of NBC to adequately cover the Olympics resulting in the increasingly popular #NBCFail hashtag.  According to one report, the number of #NBCFail tweets was 212 on July 27 and had increased to 20,000 by July 29th. 

Granted - I think Bob Costas and Ryan Secrest are as much a couple of ass-munches as the next guy.  But this level of whining is worthy of becoming its own Olympic sport considering that all anyone has to do to witness the events is sit their fat ass on the couch and flip through one of 5 different NBC affiliates to see virtually any Olympic Sport 24 hours a day.  I watched fucking PING PONG the other night at 1:32 AM just because I could!  My thought is that if you don't like the way NBC covers the Olympics, fly to London and watch them live!

Bradley Wiggins rides his bike for a living and isn't a hero for winning a gold medal, and he certainly isn't a spokesman or expert on bicycling safety or infrastructure.  And I'm quite sure he knew very well that a helmet wouldn't have helped this individual.  But he isn't a villain either.  He is an entertainer.  Period.  He is also a husband, and a father and he wants the same thing we do:  to ride his bike, and get home safely to his family at the end of every day.  So everyone just take a deep breath and calm down and ride a little safer today - OK?


  1. I was never really a Wiggins fan. I guess I disliked him more than I liked him but not for any specific reason. I have started to like the guy more due to his non PC comments. He just speeks his mind. He did get some points in my book for this comment about a twitter message he received after winning the Tour .. “I kept saying, ‘Fuck the Queen — Johnny Marr’s sent me a message on Twitter! And Robbie Fowler — I had a message from God,”

  2. I don't know how anyone could complain about NBC's job of covering the Olympics. For crying out loud, even today there was Olympic coverage on 3 different channels AT THE SAME TIME! It's practically playing 24/7 except for the occasional local news affiliate break. #NBCFail, you've got to be kidding me...

    Most of all, I love the Olympic theme song. It's so triumphant.