How did you become interested in cycling?

I'm interested to find out how some of you guys got into cycling, particularly racing. Was it a particular rider? a particular race? family interest?

It would be interesting to find out a bit more about what has drawn people into the sport.
May 22, 2010
1. teacher showed us coverage of 89 TdF for phys. ed. class
2. i decided i wanted to ride the TdF when i grew up
3. took up club racing
4. quickly realised i would never ride the TdF
5. eventually gave up club racing
6. ride for fitness, commuting and watch racing on TV now
La Plagne 1987. Roche was dropped on the final climb by Delgado and was a minute and a half down at one point making it look like Delgado would take the yellow to Paris. Then, at the finish of the climb, they were filming Delgado coming up to the line and Roche suddenly popped round the final bend just a few seconds back. As far as i remember the commentary didnt give us any clue that Roche was anywhere near him. Then Roche collapsing and having to have an oxygen mask
May 26, 2009
Frosty said:
La Plagne 1987. Roche was dropped on the final climb by Delgado and was a minute and a half down at one point making it look like Delgado would take the yellow to Paris. Then, at the finish of the climb, they were filming Delgado coming up to the line and Roche suddenly popped round the final bend just a few seconds back. As far as i remember the commentary didnt give us any clue that Roche was anywhere near him. Then Roche collapsing and having to have an oxygen mask

That was the exact stage that I first recall watching. It really struck a chord with me, and the next week I convinced my Dad to buy me a new bike (I was 11), and I joined the local track squad. Over 20 years later, I'm still riding, and race occassionally.
Jul 28, 2010
For me it all started with the Channel 4 (UK based TV station) coverage of the T de F that began in 1984. They did a daily highlights show at 6pm which was before my Dad got home from work. I thought it was amazingly cool & sophisticated (compared with the mullets, pitch invasions & rampant holiganism of english football in those days). The fact that a Brit was doing the business in the hills & walked away with the KOM jersey that year also helped.

Nowadays, I have a shelf stuffed with books about cycling, I watch all the GT's & Classics on the TV & get over to Europe every other year to catch a couple of stages with my mate Dave (we were at Verbier last year)
Apr 19, 2009
I accidentally watched a few minutes from some mountain stage in the Vuelta around 2000-2002 or something. My first thought was "Hey, this is much more entertaining than cross-country skiing." Had never watched cycling before, but has been hooked ever since.
May 18, 2010
Tour de France 2003.. Lance Armstrongs incredible downhill ride, Mayos and Vinos crazy attacks. Beloki's crash, Armstrong's crash. The Clash of the Titans Armstrong vs Ullrich...

It is just not on the map, not getting riled into that fierce action that is.

Then; just watching the tour,.. Now; Watching allmost every protour race that airs.
Jul 16, 2010
I'm new. Please don't hate me for it - everyone was new once.

Here's how it started: Pretty much the only channel we watch is Universal Sports (for the downhill ski racing, mostly). We happened to turn on the Giro this spring during one of the very early stages. We saw lots of exciting crashes, insane weather and drama. I also saw Vino. Fell in love a little bit. He's #2 behind Bode, still, though. I think. :eek:

Anyway - that was it - I was hooked. I was GLUED to the Giro every night after that and the TdF as well.

I used to dream of retiring and traveling around to bluegrass festivals in a camper. Now I dream of retiring and traveling around to bike races in Europe in a camper. :D
Aug 9, 2009
Watching Steve Bauer at the 84 olympics and worlds. Prolly not big to cyclists in other countries but huge to see a Canadian pull something like that off in 80s
Aug 9, 2009
I was 6 and this might not be the first thing I saw about cycling but I have the memory of Lucho Herrera riding downhill with his face covered in blood in TDF 85. It's probably engrained in my brain because it's the most famous image of the sport we have in Colombia.

The first thing I'm certain of having watched live was the Vuelta 87, which Herrera won. I remember waking up, having breakfast, turning on the TV for the Vuelta and then waiting until the end of the stage to have lunch.
May 9, 2009
Beat one of my friends riding home; he was riding a road bike, I was riding MTB.
Riding bikes with another group of friends, the only guy who beat me going up the hills had ginormous thighs and rode an STI equipped Cannondale; I had weedy thighs and rode a down tube shifter old Kuwi.
I decided I was fast (lol!) and called around to local clubs.
Showed up not knowing anything; I wore a wind breaker for fck sakes!
First race I was dead last by almost an hour (2 flats).
Last race of my first season I was second at Provincials (by 3 seconds to a soon-to-be Olympic speed skater!).
Thrills and spills along the way!
Early 80's Marin County mt biking scene.
I was a teenager, and just really into the riding. Gary Fisher and his team led group rides, and I picked up the competitive drive. Lots of "old time" MTB folks were there: Joe Murray, Jacquie Phelan, Joe Breeze. So racing was next, with some road races thrown in too. I was fairly strong, but certainly nothing special.
Never saw TV coverage of cycling. I raced for many years before I became a FAN of bicycle racing. Stopped racing in 1994, but now I'm a bigger fan than ever. Still ride, of course.
Nov 17, 2009
My dad.

He wasn't a competitive cyclist, but rather an obsessive hobby rider. Did regular 100 mile rides and even a few 200 mile endeavors just to see if he could. Rode his bike to work and back, dropped me off at school by bike, rode to the beach by bike... they whole deal.

He had cycling magazines.

In 1989 (I was 11) he started talking to me about this guy named Greg lemond. He told me about how he had won some race called the tour de france a few years earlier, and had gotten shot in a hunting accident, but was making a comeback.

I remember watching it with him... I don't know on what channel or if it were a replay or live... probably a condensed replay as I remember a LOT of action. I remember Lemond taking the last time trial and thinking "wow, this is cool".

I was a fan of the Tour ever since. I didn't really start following the other races until maybe 2004 or 2005. Never got into competitive cycling... by 11 I was already into competitive swimming and that's an all-year endeavor if you compete seriously.

I've only just recently started riding regularly in any serious way... in retrospect I really wished I had done this from a younger age. Swimming and running can be very mind-numbingly boring for me (and running just physically HURTS)... cycling is much more fun.
I started enjoying riding my bike around 2003 (just had this tank of a cruiser, yipes). In 2004, I was staying at my parents' for a few weeks after doing some summer contract work out of town, and the first morning I woke up in their basement, lying on the pullout bed in front of the TV, flipped around and found the Tour de France on OLN (the network that has it in Canada). It was just after Voeckler got yellow. I was fascinated. The tactics, the strange cooperation of riders on opposite teams in the break, the cumulative time game... it was fun to follow, to watch guys get seconds and minutes. And it was fun to cheer against 'a certain Lance Armstrong', because I've got a thing against predictable dominance. But man, the memory that sticks out most was stage 17(?), when Landis burned everyone but the top 4 off his wheel and went for the stage, with Kloden timing a perfect counterattack (didn't realize at the time how rare a Kloden attack was) and Armstrong closing a ridiculous gap to pip him at the line. That hooked me, and made me grudgingly say chapeau to the man I was cheering against.

So that was the TdF. Then in December 2006, I found this online history of the Tour, year by year (no longer available for free, I think, as it's been made into a book) that this guy wrote. I read it twice. They kept referring to other races guys had won coming into the Tour, and I realized there was a whole season. I mean I knew there was, but I realized how important and storied the other races were. I started following cyclingnews daily in 2007, and have dedicatedly watched races online since the start of 2008 (and have convinced my friends to do so as well).

As for racing, I've never done it, other than bike messenger races (that's my job) - I've been to the world championships of that twice. It's... uh, a little bit different than road racing.
Mar 11, 2009
I became fully obsessed in 2006. Before that, I remember seeing parts of TdFs with LeMond, Delgado, Indurian, knew who Armstrong was pre-cancer - at that time, I didn't go looking for coverage, but any time I found some, couldn't get enough.

Now, I'm trying to figure out which are the classic races of all the big events, and would like to build a DVD collection to help fill in the history.
Jul 25, 2010
When I hit 200lbs July of 04, I'm 6'1 and can carry it but it was still too much and in the wrong places.

I started flipping channels and came across the TdF at night on the expanded coverage, with Trautwig in back then, glad he's gone, I'll take Hummer any day over that. I think the TT up AdH was what sealed it for me. Went out and bought a Giant end of July and have been riding and a fan ever since, even during the winter contrary to some of the "you registered in July so you must be a fanboy idiot's posts." My dad also did a little local racing in the 70s with a Belgian, Nestor Gernay, that came here, still around, almost 70, and still dropping young guys. Here's a local article on him from 06, funny to read some of this stuff;

I thought about all the gym memberships I'd paid for, hundreds of dollars, and here I was breaking 200lbs and had nothing to show for it. The bike if I got injured, went on vacation, or just got lazy, is always there when I'm ready to go ride and requires no monthly payments or a 10 mile drive to the gym, I'd rather ride past it on the bike and keep going...

I rode bmx bikes when I was a kid/early teen until I got a car, I was in great shape back then and did a little bmx racing, but this was supposed to be about cycling, bu tI've always been interested in bikes.
Mar 10, 2009
Started riding a 2 wheeled bike at 5.
Rode track competitively from 16-21.
Switched to road riding exclusively at 23, also riding competitively.
Got married and had a baby boy which changed everything.
Still rode about 100 miles a week, but never competed again.
Took up golf in my 40's on a whim.
In my 50's, I'm still quite fit and fast, but no longer so obsessed with riding.
Now I have a fantastic golf game and a divorce lawyer for a husband.
My son rides competitively. He's 30.
Obsession, apparently, is in the DNA.
Apr 26, 2010
i'm from malaysia and before 2006, there was no coverage of any cycling events outside of my country. so compared to others in here, i'm new to the sport.

but i got hooked to cycling in 2004, when i was a student in the US (2004 was my freshman year). and that summer i was bored to death but i happened to switch to OLN channel (VERSUS as it is called today) to the sound of phil ligget and paul sherwen talking enthusiastically about a rider named Thomas Voeckler, who was burying himself in the yellow jersey up a mountain stage. Yes, that was the moment I got hooked to cycling, never missed a single GT after that. I was so inspired by Voeckler's effort that day. And for some reason after that I became addictive to sherwen and ligget's commentary.

Now, thank's to eurosports, I can watch cycling all season long. (sounds cheesy, i know)
Oct 9, 2009
I knew of Greg Lemond in high school and was a track runner. I really wanted to be a triathlete but didnt have the money for a bike so stuck to running. I got a 1980's mountain bike and rode and ran. Cycling was always an interest to me but I got into another sport and only ran as a supplement to my training. In 99, I started to notice Armstrong and realized I still couldnt afford a bike. Finally had the spare money about 5 years ago and started riding but still training my other sport. Done with the other sport because of injury, I started concentrating on riding. To be honest, I really didnt become an enthusiast until I got cable and started watching races. Wish I would have taken a keener interest in my early years. I saw my first professional criterium in Australia in 1988. I told myself I would do that someday. Im close, planning on racing next year. Too old to be delusional as I close in on Masters age but I intend on having my fun.
Sep 21, 2009
CatsNK said:
I'm new. Please don't hate me for it - everyone was new once.

Welcome! It's always great to hear about more people getting into cycling and you definitely picked a good year for it :D

Myself, I started watching the Tour in '97 (hence my username, it's not the year I was born..) when I was 10 years old. We'd taken a lot of family holidays in the Alps and my Dad initially started watching for the scenery, before we both got hooked on the sport. Used to ride a bit of cyclo-cross but now I'm more into cheerleading.

Gradually started watching more and more races besides the Tour but this is the first year I've been seeking out internet coverage of the smaller races and become ridiculously obsessed.
Jul 26, 2010
Lance Armstrong 1998 and his story. Plus as a kid I was a huge sports fan so I already knew who LeMond and Indurain were. But just once of those things you know about but dont really care. I really dont know how to ride a bike, and I am just starting to get around to actual cycling rather than just following it as a sports fan. But I heard about Lance's story in 1998 just followed it, and before you knew it TDF joined the British Open, Wimbeldon as must see July sporting events. Lance, Tiger, and Roger. I also remember in college missing quite a few classes just to watch TDF live in the mornings.
It started with the 1997 tour de france. I had always been a sports fan but hadn't watched any cycling before. Then for some reason I started watching the Tour that summer and I got hooked by the action in the mountains. Different teams that had riders that attacked one after another and other teams that rode defensively. I thought it was a very dynamic type of competition that had a lot of elements that were appealing. I've been hooked ever since.
Jun 12, 2010
I, and my brothers, all got a 'racer' bike when we tunred 12. This was the days of reynolds tubing and bar top safety brakes. We had built old frames up with cowhorn handlebars for jumping etc. BMXs were cool but limited use. The chopper was fun but a bit dodgy for no hands riding.

We followed the races via a monthly subscription to WINNING mag. From 83 we watched the TOUR, and R Millar, on channel 4.

Watching the TDF 89 finish with my mum we were amazed. She said she would only buy me clip on bars at DALES if I would wear a helmet.

Since then I still recrreation cycle and have done most of the Cols in France and ride more days MTB than road due to driver attitude.

Was hoping Shleck beat Conty and was disappointed with Brakovic in the TDF. Although I think with a good mentor Brakovic could be the next GT contender.