Crazy French Person

Cycling fans taking picturesNot only am I struck by the contrast, I’m actually moved by it. In a week when soccer nuts are literally killing each other, I’m seeing cycling nuts, as well as folks who may care very little about cycling, all crowded together by the roadside; by the Mediterranean coastal highways of Corsica; by the narrow, winding, single lanes snaking through the Pyrenees between France and Spain (some of them French and some of them Spanish); by the very doorsteps of their own homes; cheering cyclists whatever their nation of origin or of sponsor. At first these fan(atics) scared or even angered me, before I realized they probably weren’t actually insane, just for running alongside someone they admired, yelling in their face, or for appearing to block their way up a mountain; and because the cyclists themselves appeared un-nonplussed. Perhaps when you’re pumping a bicycle to an elevation of a mile above sea level, everyone else on your butt, you need all the help you can get, even if it’s a crazy French person yelling at you and you’re from Colombia. (Above: Cycling fans taking pictures as cars and riders of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California climb Mount Diablo in the seventh stage. May, 18 2013. Photo by Richard Masoner)