I was crossing the road here in London, like a true Trini, when I was almost knocked over by a cyclist. Luckily, I jumped quickly to the pavement, and looked around disdainfully to see three more cyclists blowing past me. They seemed to be racing among themselves. That is when I knew it would be difficult for Njisane Phillip to compete against the British in cycling. This country has gone mad over cycling, with everyone believing they were either Sir Chris Hoy or Victoria Pendleton. The Chinese love to cycle but there is no way they love cycling more than the British. Whether on footpaths or on roads, or even in the Olympic Village, there are designated parking areas for cycles. Britain, it appears, has gone mad on cycling.
Given the weather conditions, it is amazing that so many persons like this activity. Perhaps it is because of the coldness and the desire to reach their destinations quickly. What is also interesting is the amount of technology and human resource the British have invested in this sport, from headwear and bicycles being manufactured to the body type of the specific cyclist. There is a also a full state-of-the-art trusting system in synchronised circumstances that allows the cyclists to experience various conditions. When you look at the number of officials connected to the cyclists here, they number around 12 persons. This includes coaching staff, analysts, nutritionists, therapists, physiologists and medical doctors. And there are some former cycling champions from Britain for good measure.
Phillip did not have even one-third of that support. Each member of their team were specialists, totally dedicated to the cyclists, while Njisane and all the athletes had to share services. This is clearly wrong. If we want to improve, we must support the likes of Fitzbert Alleyne, Zephyrinus Nicholas, Oba Gulston, Karielle De Bique and of course the indefatigable Ian Sharpe. As I reflected on the cycling here in London, I could not help but imagine how many youngsters have been inspired by Phillip. The challenge will be to use this success to inspire a nation to cycle and be fit and safe. Phillip’s performance must not fade. We must encourage other youngsters to get involved in the sport.