cycling utah March 2000


Mom was main supporter of my American way of life

By David R. Ward


What expresses the "American Way" more than mom, cycling and apple pie?

Something about baseball you say?

Okay, I have things a little mixed up. My father-in-law has claimed since before I married his daughter that I am more than a little confused. Anyway, for us enlightened few, cycling rather than baseball ought to be linked with mom and apple pie.

I am an American boy, so let you tell you about my Mom. She understood my passion for cycling in a way that few ever do. Others accept it, while not understanding why someone would choose to pedal around on a bicycle for hours at a time.

But my Mom seemed to sense what drove my passion, and never had that quizzical look on her face like others do when feigning interest in my fringe fanaticism.

Mom passed on last November. Her passing has left me without one of my biggest and most interested fans. Though she had probably not ridden a bicycle for over 60 years and knew very little about the cycling scene, she always asked me about my racing and riding with genuine interest.

She also read every issue of cycling utah from front to back. Why? Because I was her son whom she loved, and because she understood my passion.

I miss my Mom. Though older and very independent, I realize now how she, along with my Dad, have always anchored my life. I especially realize it now that part of that anchor has been cut loose. I hope that in some small way, these comments pay a deserving, albeit partial, tribute to my Mom.

So what about cycling? A century ago, most would have agreed with my inclusion of cycling in that all-American phrase. After all, America had its share of champions, particularly Major Taylor.

Additionally, bicycle races were one of the biggest draws at Madison Square Garden, and other major sport venues across the country, including Salt Lake City. Indeed, Salt Lake City was only one of many cities around the country to build and maintain a velodrome.

Will cycling ever again be a recognized component of the "American Way"? I doubt it.

But what the heck? It does encompass much of what ought to be good about our country: Beauty and strength in simplicity, a healthy lifestyle, one alternative to the problem of pollution and congestion, physical and mental endurance, and a counterpoint against the current of quick and immediate satisfaction.

Go ahead, think on those awhile.

And apple pie? Actually, my favorite apple pie is French apple pie. But if I can substitute cycling for baseball, I suppose I can eat French apple pie rather than mom's homemade variety.

Actually, the tie to cycling is eating itself. Most cyclists I know are consistent with this component of the American way: They love to eat, and especially love to eat a lot. Can you name an organized ride you have been on recently where there was not more to eat than you could possibly hope to burn?

I am no exception, and winter sees me laying in a good store of calories to ride off in the spring (and summer and fall, for that matter). It is a disgusting cycle, actually, but one that I seem unable to break.

So, I am glad for the plethora of planned cycling events that keep me riding. Check out cycling utah's Calendar of Events, both in print and on-line (, to plan your return to the slim and fit person you really are.

So, now that spring is almost here, get out there and start pedaling your bike for hours at a time.

And while you're at it, go see your mom and have some apple pie. What could be more American?

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