Monday, June 21, 2004

Tragedy and Cycling

A book I am reading on the idea of the tragic contains the following attempt to delineate genuine from merely apparent tragedy by some yay-hoo named Geoffrey Brereton:

"The death of a great man in an air-crash qualifies for tragedy unequivocally; if he is killed in a sports car, the tragic quality becomes more dubious; if by falling off a bicycle, the whole conception is endangered."

Obviously this guy has never heard of Tom Simpson, whose haunting last words, "put me back on my bike," capture the dedication, spirit, and general love of riding that defines the FGBC. Nor has he heard of Marco Pantani or Graeme Obree, whose depression-induced falls from the bike were perhaps more metaphorical than literal, but hardly any less tragic for all that.

Somehow Mr. Brereton seems to have the notion that the idea of the tragic has some sort of direct correlation to the dollar value of the vehicle one dies in. Then again, if he's right I suppose most of us can look forward to relatively struggle-free lives, excpet maybe for Barg and his fancy bus.

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