Everyone is Entitled to Their Own Opinion
My Mom came to visit for Conner's upcoming birthday this weekend. They went out for the day yesterday and one of the stops was to get frozen yogurt. As they were walking in he noticed some cyclists sitting in the front window eating frozen yogurt. He pointed them out to his grandma and told her they likely were coming back off a long ride.
The kids and mom walked in and one of the cyclists looks at Conner who was wearing a RSNT hat he got at the last ATOC. He is a Jens and Fabian supporter so he still wears that hat and more than likely just grabbed it to throw on. He's fifteen for goodness sake and if he hair isn't done in his normal pompador he wears a hat. Usually it is his Hincapie Sports hat that he got during our visit to Greenville,NC last year. If we had been on a ride he would have been wearing his BMC cap under his helmet.
The cyclists calls out, "Hey are you a cycling fan?" to which Conner replied "Yeah, I am a cycling fan"
This is always exciting in our small town, there aren't many pro-cycling fans in this area. There are many cyclists though and we see them often. Usually on the road while riding ourselves. We've never gotten heavily involved in the cycling community around here because most of the riders we encounter aren't very friendly. We are however involved with the cycling community around the world on Twitter and over at Loving The Bike.
Back to the encounter, the cyclist then says to Conner "A Liquigas Cannondale hat might be a better choice for you." Conner said, "Yeah, I like Liquigas too." The cyclist says to Conner "What's your favorite team?" and Conner replied, " BMC is my favorite team"
The Cyclist then says "I guess that I can like BMC now that Hincapie is retired. I don't like tattle tales and he tattled taled on my hero! It's not cheating if everyone else is doing it." Conner was taken aback, it is rare for him to actually get to talk cycling in person and this was a normally exciting opportunity for him. Because of our involvement in the cycling community, he is well versed in the doping scandal. Probably thanks to Neil Browne and Dan Wouri among others.
Conner came back with "Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion." turned and walked away. I am proud of him for being respectful to his elder and not getting into a heated debate. My kid has opinions and could have thrown down but instead he walked away.
Grandma who was listening said, "well I like Jens Voigt" instead to diffuse the situation and it did. The guy smiled and said "Yeah, he's a beast."
Local Visalia cyclist whoever you are, you made a big mistake and shouldn't have said that. Good thing his momma wasn't with him. I would have gone off probably and it wouldn't have been pretty more than likely.
It's not cool to fight with a young cycling fan over doping. Instead talk about the future of the sport, talk about what kind of bike he rides? invite him on a ride but don't tell him that cheating in any form is okay. I am appalled and floored by this part. When is it okay to tell a fifteen year old that cheating in any form okay? What a missed opportunity for good to happen. I am saddened by this encounter and thankful that I wasn't there.
What I am thankful for is the many cyclist and cycling fans who have positive interaction with @CycFanby on Twitter. Thankful he has met wonderful people in person such as Mary R, Mary T, Sean, Heidi and Jen who have talked cycling with him and encouraged his love of the sport. I am so grateful for that!
Cycling fans and cyclists, let's encourage the younger generation instead of sparring with them. It just makes you look bad and is discouraging to a young kid.
Julie from Just Jules