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Why don't people go to bike races?

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Why don't people go to bike races?

Old 07-27-19, 06:09 AM
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big chainring 
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Why don't people go to bike races?

I'm drinking my coffee looking out my front window, 6:30am Saturday morning. In the past 10 minutes I have seen dozens of cyclists riding in small groups headed east toward the lake. Its become a big thing, particularly in the last 4-5 years, riding Sheridan rd. north thru Chicago's north shore burbs. I jump in with groups as well. Some get 30-40 riders strong. I would say that cycling is booming in my area.

Flash back to my youth, when I was a young teenager. There was a local bike race a few suburbs over from me. About a 6-7 mile ride from my house. My friends and I rode to it for several years in a row. It was a highlite of the summer. Located in a posh suburb the race took place circling a man made lake and adjoining city park. It was an idyllic little setting. The park had pedal boats, a boathouse, and real grass tennis courts. Going to the races there was a treat. Cyclists set out blankets around the park, with their bike and gear bags and support crew, munching on fruit, granola, and chugging down water. Oh and along with the racing an ice cream social was part of the event. Locals came out for an ice cream cone and catch a bike race or two. And every local bike enthusiast was there. In the lingo of the day, it was a "happening".

This past Thursday my cycling buddy and I took in a race, one of the Intelligentsia Cup races. We went after work and caught the end of the womens race, and the Pro 1,2 race. Both were exciting. But it was a very lonely experience. There was no one there but the cyclists competing. Basicly it was the Police and city workers milling about, a few racers, and a few residents from the neighborhood it was being held in, very, very few. By the end of the mens Pro race I think it was just me and my friend. And I have experienced this at other races as well. No one shows up!

So with cycling participation booming, and the following the TDF appears to have, why no local support for the racing scene? To see a race live is awesome. The race, the bikes, and what should be a gathering of cycling enthusiasts...Why no interest?
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Old 07-27-19, 06:15 AM
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"Intelligentsia Cup"? The name is enough to turn off most people, including intelligent people.

Last edited by ironwood; 07-27-19 at 10:17 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-27-19, 06:17 AM
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I have absolutely no interest in bike racing....I am just a commuter and recreational rider who rides for fitness and fun.
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Old 07-27-19, 06:35 AM
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The best coffee I've ever had was at Intelligentsia.

Was this a crit race? I'd be more inclined to go watch a race that had laps rather than one where everyone goes by once and your view is over with no knowledge of the outcome.
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Old 07-27-19, 06:46 AM
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I say this as a former bike racer, and someone that has watched most, if not every minute of the televised TDF coverage for decades, but the reality is, watching a live bicycle race is pretty boring. Televised coverage adds to the intensity, adds variety and drama, fills in the details about history and nuances of the sport, explains the tactics and rivalries, etc. etc.
But a live local race is basically just a bunch of guys pedaling their bikes around......and around, and around, and around..........
The average American doesn't know bike racing from Shinola. Most anyone in our culture can follow a baseball or football game along with everyone else in the room, even if they're not any kind of enthusiast. This isn't the case with cycling.
And even for those of us that "get it", and have even done it, there's just not a lot to sink your teeth into at a local bike race, therefore not a lot of folks are inclined to pack a picnic lunch, grab the kids, and go make a day of it.
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Old 07-27-19, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Joe View Post
The best coffee I've ever had was at Intelligentsia.

Was this a crit race? I'd be more inclined to go watch a race that had laps rather than one where everyone goes by once and your view is over with no knowledge of the outcome.
Yes, very short course. Riders came by every two minutes. Hitting speeds in the mid thirties. Best riders in the country and some international riders. Primes of $50 and $100 every two laps. Girl in the womens race picked up around a $1000 in primes.
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Old 07-27-19, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Yes, very short course. Riders came by every two minutes. Hitting speeds in the mid thirties. Best riders in the country and some international riders. Primes of $50 and $100 every two laps. Girl in the womens race picked up around a $1000 in primes.
If it were close, I'd check it out. The Tour of Philadelphia unfortunately stopped the year before I moved here. Not far from me and in a cool part of town I certainly would have been in attendance.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:09 AM
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I've always felt that bicycling was a personal endeavor. I just don't see it as a spectator sport.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:17 AM
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I think you could grab a pizza and a six pack on the way to the races. Putting your recliner in the car could be difficult. But I have to admit, why leave the house, I can watch everything on TV. Fridge and toilet are just steps away.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:21 AM
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Like others mentioned above, its pretty boring, and a road race just zooms by you. I do attend track races at the Carson Velodrome here in Southern California - a top-notch indoor facility built after the 1984 L.A. Olympics with about 6,000 seats and air conditioning. Much more interesting watching the indoor pursuit and time trial races since each races goes by pretty quickly. Even if it was an outdoor track I'd probably go watch races there, just more to see and get excited about vs a road race.

FWIW: The Tour of California (in May) does get pretty good crowds around the finish area and on some of the loops and climbs.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:32 AM
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Go to the Lake Bluff Criterium today. It's a huge party all day long. I usually swing by, but I've got another family commitment today. Those Lake Bluffers know how to Party.
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Old 07-27-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
Like others mentioned above, its pretty boring, and a road race just zooms by you. I do attend track races at the Carson Velodrome here in Southern California - a top-notch indoor facility built after the 1984 L.A. Olympics with about 6,000 seats and air conditioning. Much more interesting watching the indoor pursuit and time trial races since each races goes by pretty quickly. Even if it was an outdoor track I'd probably go watch races there, just more to see and get excited about vs a road race.

FWIW: The Tour of California (in May) does get pretty good crowds around the finish area and on some of the loops and climbs.
Yeah, I went to the track races in Northbrook a couple weeks ago. Good turnout of racers, barely a sole in the stands. Contrast that to my days on the track. I remember a Thursday night with 2600 people in attendance. With a crowd like that, as a racer, you get amped up. The team race that night was something else. I think we had 30 teams. The first exchanges were mayhem. Good times.

But that was before "must see TV". Like my son says, "You huddled around the radio, back in the day".

Last edited by big chainring; 07-27-19 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:15 AM
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I did happen to watch the start of a TDF stage last year; First there were the motocycle police; then the publicity caravan, where people threw gifts, and candy at the crowd (I got a key ring); then a lot of official cars (Skodas, because that was the sponsor); Then the team support vehicules ; more motorcycle cops; TV trucks; then the peleton; then more Skoda team cars; then more motorcycles. My question is . Wy do people watch bicycle races?

What's "Intelligentsia"?

Last edited by ironwood; 07-27-19 at 10:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-27-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
"Intelligentsia Cup"? The name is enough to turn off most people, including inteeligent people.
Over-priced coffee, over roasted beans.

Favored by hipsters all over. UGH...

Try Lavazza instead. No hype, no cute back story. Just good coffee.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Go to the Lake Bluff Criterium today. It's a huge party all day long. I usually swing by, but I've got another family commitment today. Those Lake Bluffers know how to Party.
I went there last year. That was a good one. Nice course. And the party atmosphere is great. But you go down to the start/Finish line and no one is there. Unfortunately I'm working today.
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Old 07-27-19, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
Like others mentioned above, its pretty boring, and a road race just zooms by you. I do attend track races at the Carson Velodrome here in Southern California - a top-notch indoor facility built after the 1984 L.A. Olympics with about 6,000 seats and air conditioning. Much more interesting watching the indoor pursuit and time trial races since each races goes by pretty quickly. Even if it was an outdoor track I'd probably go watch races there, just more to see and get excited about vs a road race.

FWIW: The Tour of California (in May) does get pretty good crowds around the finish area and on some of the loops and climbs.
I have ridden out to “meet” the ATOC every year that it has been out here in my backyard. Good race to watch up and close.




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Old 07-27-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
So with cycling participation booming, and the following the TDF appears to have, why no local support for the racing scene?
Seriously? It's the NASCAR of the cycling community. Who cares?

My wife and I have attended velodrome races, crits and Amgen. I can't say there were many memorable moments. My wife wants to attend the TdF, but it's about the scenery and culture....
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Old 07-27-19, 08:55 AM
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Old 07-27-19, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Why dont people go to bike races?
Same reason I don't watch any type of racing in person any more.

Unless in a stadium, you get one vantage point at any one time. You get to see racers blast by and you don't hardly know who's in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or lapped racers mixed in with the leaders.

Watching racing is really great the first few times, but as a spectator it becomes a "been there, done that" kind of thing.
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Old 07-27-19, 09:27 AM
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Besides being boring to watch, the idea of bicycling as a competitive sport has waned. Bicycling instead is a personal fitness, play, commuter, whatever activity and no one needs to compete against anyone else. No need for sorting and ranking or judging. Attendance is down in most spectator sports. Cyclists in particular are people who want to DO, not watch.
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Old 07-27-19, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
I say this as a former bike racer, and someone that has watched most, if not every minute of the televised TDF coverage for decades, but the reality is, watching a live bicycle race is pretty boring.

The average American doesn't know bike racing from Shinola.
I had to find this

https://www.shinola.com/mens/bicycles.html
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Old 07-27-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
"Intelligentsia Cup"? The name is enough to turn off most people, including inteeligent people.
Yes, and in dictatorship type governments, the intelligencia groups somehow disappear.
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Old 07-27-19, 10:17 AM
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To me, almost all sports are somewhat boring to watch, live and/or in-person. Same plays over and over and over again, some successful, some not, over and over. To me, it's not the actual scoring that makes a sport fun to watch, it's the nuances. I go to live cycling events (mostly events with a multi-lap circuit), because I get to experience the speed of the peloton zooming around a turn, in a way that can't be felt watching a broadcast. And I get to be feet away from the the action (unlike in any other sport) so close that I can hear mis-shifts, and recognize who did it and anticipate them dropping a few spots on the next lap (CAT3/4/5 especially). Or alternatively I can watch a rider accelerate out of a turn and shift through the cassette super quickly without a hint of a mis-shift, and marvel at their skill in applying power to the pedals at just the right time. It's the little things.

An app that showed the live standings would make it more interesting for a live spectator, though that would require a live GPS tracker/transmitter on each bike.

Last edited by Riveting; 07-27-19 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 07-27-19, 01:10 PM
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I guess I thought anyone into cycling would know the Intelligentsia Cup. But then again I thought anyone into cycling would like to see bike racing. Times they are a changing.
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Old 07-27-19, 01:15 PM
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I’d rather ride my bike.
That said, I don’t really watch any competitive sports. I’d rather participate in a sport. Watching is boring.
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