Is Lance Armstrong's Tweeting Getting Reckless?

by Robb Sutton

Lance ArmstrongOn September 9th, Lance Armstrong threw out a 140 character or less blast on Twitter that stated the following:

Hey LA – get out of your cars and get on your bikes. Time to ride. 7:30 tomorrow am. Griffith Park, LA Zoo parking lot. See you there..

The result was almost 1,000 riders showing up for a impromptu group ride in LA with the legend, Lance Armstrong, ready to see if they could keep up with the legs that have won 7 Tour de France’s, a Leadville 100 and finished 3rd in this year’s Tour. Honestly…I think that number would have been even bigger had he given them more than a days notice.

First, I am a Lance fan. I wear the trendy yellow Livestrong braclet, I cheer for him in the Tour and other events (although I would have liked Weir to take the Leadville 100 win, but that is just the mountain biker in me that can not be squashed) and I respect him for what he has been able to accomplish in and out of the saddle.

Also, there is a little bit of jealously in this post as I wish I could have that massive amount of impact in the Twitter world. Hell…all you would see from me is a simple 140 character Tweet telling you to visit this website, my other website and buy my ebook and I would be off retired in British Columbia, Canada spinning my life away with my wife. Who wouldn’t want that?

Lance Armstrong Group Ride in LABut…I have also been apart of several road rides of this magnitude in populated cities, and I know that a huge amount of planning and effort goes into an event of that size. Especially when you are using public roads to conduct your cycling extravaganza. I do think it is a little reckless and presumptuous for Lance to expect the city to jump when he says how high within a day’s notice. He did thank the LA police department in a Tweet directly after the small get together…

Great ride in Griffith Park. Thanks, LA! And thanks to the LAPD for the help. Off to Montreal…

But…would we be treating this situation differently if it was just another Hollywood actor or random famous person? He is really asking a lot of the city and tax payers to scramble and help with his “small” road rides. Having already done this in several other cities around the world, one can only think that these rides are only going to get bigger as it has been proven that Lance is actually showing up.

Maybe it is just me…but it seems like a little bit more thought needs to go into these rides if you are going to expect city officials to pick up the slack for an unorganized ride that contains a field big enough to need police support.

Note to Lance: If you really want to have a group ride that does not require police aid…come down to the southeast and you can Tweet something like…

Tomorrow…I am riding dirt on some super tech with 198. Come on out if you don’t mind getting dirty…

(ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)



Jamie September 14, 2009 - 6:47 am

If Lance Armstrong can help normalize cycling in the US, then I believe that we’d all be better off, insofar as a riding nation is a more healthy and less oil-dependent nation. Such an event calls attention to the fact that it is not normal to see a lot of bikes on the road without some kind of police escort, whereas it should be normal to see cyclists everywhere.

Bill Rawlinson September 11, 2009 - 12:57 pm

He may have coordinated, in advance, with the LAPD but not announced it until the day before publicly.

Starson September 11, 2009 - 1:28 pm

That’s what I was suggesting…

198, why don’t you investigate?

James September 11, 2009 - 2:01 pm

In an interview before the ride, Lance seemed to indicate that he did not coordinate with anyone. He basically said that he was just going for a ride and others were welcome to join him.

He does say he planned the ride ahead of time, but it is unclear whether or not he coordinated with the City. Watch the video here and see how you intemperate his remarks:

Sonya September 11, 2009 - 10:16 am

I tried to imagine if I would be irritated if say, a famous motorcycle racer did the same thing. I probably would be if the the local police had to handle the situation and if they clogged up the roads. It does seem reckless. However, I love Lance Armstrong and cycling so I think what he is doing is awesome. So basically I’m a hypocrite. Keep doing it Lance and bring yo’self to the South!

198 September 11, 2009 - 10:36 am

I’m in the same boat. If it was a huge group of anything else…I’d probably be irritated. If it was Lance…I’d be taking off of work and joining the group.

Starson September 11, 2009 - 10:12 am

How do you know he didn’t coordinate with the local government before hand?

198 September 11, 2009 - 10:37 am

From all of the reports…and from other cities…he didn’t. Luckily, it has gone off without a hitch so far.

jmilliron September 11, 2009 - 9:15 am

That’s awesome. I’d take the day off work if he came to ATL.

198 September 11, 2009 - 10:37 am

Me too.

James September 11, 2009 - 8:56 am

I like what Lance is doing with Twitter. As he has said in interviews, he is just going for a bike ride and asking others to join him if they would like…nothing wrong with that. Sure, quite a few people show up because it is Lance asking, but he shouldn’t have to do anything special for an impromptu ride. Besides, the attention has mostly been positive for the cities involved so far.

I DO hope he decides to tweet a ride down south at some point. Stranger things have happened.

198 September 11, 2009 - 10:37 am

If he takes you and Hincapie up on your Tweet…I’ll be driving to Greenville again!


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