I bicycled with Lance Armstrong last night. It was short and sweet: a two-mile ride on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
But there’s more to the story. It started out with a tweet from the cycling champ on Feb. 28: “Hollywood March 7th. Group ride. Let’s go!” A few more tweets revealed that the ride would meet at the Children’s Hospital and that cyclists should “be in position at 5:30, ride 6.” Yes, Lance Armstrong did just invite all of his Twitter followers to roll with him.
About 500 other people – families, high school track & field teams, Twitters and bike enthusiasts – showed up the pedal with the seven-time consecutive Tour de France winner, who announced his return to cycling at the event (which was also sponsored by a big-name sporting shoe company). As a participant in late-night social bike rides (“subversive” is the term one of my professors once used, but some would just call it “fun”), it’s not every day that the City of L.A. closes off a major street like Sunset for a couple hundred bikers, marathons excluded. Normally bustling with Hollywood club-bound cars zipping through intersections, the only sets of wheels on Sunset came in pairs, at least for a good 40 minutes.
L.A. may be best-known for its culture of cars, but the city has some of the best places for biking, Armstrong told the crowd before leading them west on Sunset and up Vine Street to end at the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre, where an entire side of the building featured a Shepard Fairey mural of the rider.