I, like many others, sat yesterday and watched the interview between Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong. I watched it twice – on the Discovery Channel of all places. And I sat there with my two year old boy climbing and jumping all over me and the couch – him being totally oblivious to the whole thing. The feeling I had in the end was not one of anger or disappointment, just hollowness and a sense of stupidity for misplacing my trust and sporting aspirations.

Like many others, I was enthralled by what was achieved by Lance in the EPO era of the peloton. I even got the chance to see him (and the rest of the peloton) cross the line on the Champs Elysee in 2004. When I finally got back on my bike, I chose a Trek, in no small part to Lance Armstrong’s endorsements of the bike manufacturer. But over the last few years I have long given up on this misplaced trust. As I have pushed myself harder and further to ride, and met many other riders, I have a very different view on whether Lance is even relevant anymore. I still like pro-cycling and am not prepared to tarnish everyone with the same brush of distrust that now paints Lance in every article on TV, the magazines, or the web. Who I have respect for now are riders like Cadel Evans, a phenomenal rider who has climbed great heights of success but in doing so has also failed spectacularly and in public. I watched him last year in the Tour de France trying to defend his 2012 title, and he blew up when it mattered most on several of the torturous climbs. I first saw Cadel ride in the Olympic Men’s Mountain Bike event at the Sydney Games in 2000 (he was ranked #1 in the world leading up to the Games), where he blew up in his home event and finished 7th – he rode most of the last couple of laps alone and with no-one in sight. Cadel is not interested in dating rock stars (his wife is an Italian music teacher) or rubbing shoulders personalities and presidents. He wanted to rub shoulders with his adopted son, and could often be seen last year on the circuit with his boy climbing all over him. There are other pro-riders as well, like Julien Absalon or Marianne Vos and in some measure Jonathan Vaughters for drawing a line in the sand and saying from this point forward we ride clean. I know some of you may disagree…

But my real cycling heroes aren’t the pros anymore. They are my fellow amateur riders who want to give it a crack, but will never ride in the pro-peloton. They are riders like my old work colleague GE who bought a bike last year and is pushing me every week to train with him as he prepares for his triathlon to raise funds for teenage cancer – and in doing so has lost 15kg. Riders like my mate JB who, after raising over $3,000 for the Chris O’Brien Lighthouse, found out his mother is terminally ill with cancer. Riders like my brother’s crew down in Melbourne who in their late 40’s get together to do training rides up Mount Donna Buang in Victoria (though secretly I think they all have a love affair with a girl named Donna in their heads). Riders like two of the Melbourne Crew’s wives who have joined us on numerous riding treks up stupid inclines. And rider’s like my Aunt, who is over 50 and rings us up to go for a ride. I will soon be helping my Aunt to buy her first road bike, and she will be joining my wife for the Gear Up Girl ride – 2013.

My Aunt and I - getting ready to ride

For me, Lance Armstrong is not a cyclist I want to read about anymore. I want to read about these guys (the cycling bloggers I follow), and discover others like them who are honest people who love cycling for what it is – a sport to be enjoyed, travel, explore, meet people and discover how far you can push yourself:

College-Tri – a young student from Duke University who is giving cycling (and marathons, and triathlons) a huge go with a second hand bike.

Serendipities of Life – Frank Burns who is a retired British teacher who rode 10,000 miles last year, and is planning on riding New Zealand tip to tail.

K_Sim’s New Challenge – a Japanese cyclist who rides in some of the most beautiful places, maps out his rides with photos and writes his posts in both English and Japanese.

Thinking About Cycling – Dave Horton who is a sociologist and writer and has posted some of the most intelligent and thought out posts on how to enable the community to ride.

All Season Cyclist – an American cyclist who rides in EVERY weather condition, and tells us all his best tips for gear and clothing.

Richard Tulloch’s LIFE ON THE ROAD – An Australian writer and rider who is fortunate to see cycling from two different cultural perspectives Dutch and Australian.

Alex’s Cycle – a young British student from Manchester who goes on HUGE cycling tours on his summer holidays.

Love thy bike – a kiwi cyclist whose feats of bombing down a volcano in Hawaii I hope to emulate later this year in May.

Women.Cyclists – an American cyclist who is super passionate about all things bike, as is her partner Jason too.

Single Speed Slogging – a single speed mountain bike rider who goes hard and races on his rig.

Rev Rider – the cycling pastor who has clocked up 20,000 miles since 1 Jan 2010.

traveldestinationbucketlist – Anita Mac who among our shared passions of photography and travel is a uber keen Canadian cyclist who does plenty of cycle touring

Bike War – the provider of two wheel eye-candy.

Tight chains all – and I hope the road or trail is sunny and with a tail wind.