As an amateur cyclist I have had the chance to compete in races against world tour professionals. But having the chance to ride against one of your cycling heroes is both amazing and surreal. You find yourself trying to concentrate on the racing but are inexplicably star struck at the presence of your idol.
A few Years after retiring from racing, the thought of riding next to a Legend of the Tour De France of that time seemed only like a cycling dream.
I remember being in the bike shop in East Kilbride when I received a call from a cycling friend and one of Scotland’s top road racer Euan Pope. Euan was known for being a bit of a joker and as the conversation continued I thought he was on the wind up. He began telling me one of my cycling heroes at the time, Lance Armstrong was meeting up with cyclists in Paisley town centre! I immediately thought you are pulling my leg.
Paisley was the original home of Brian Smith a former teammate of Lance Armstrong who is a great ambassador for cycling. Brian is a Euro sport pundit with a wealth of incredible cycling knowledge and experience.
After calling other cycling friends to confirm this was not a wind up that one of my cycling heroes, one of the worlds most famous athletes has asked for a meet up with cyclists in the area. I immediately put the sign on the door at the East Kilbride bike shop.
Away for bike ride with Lance Armstrong
Lance arrived in a taxi taking his bike out from the boot himself and proceeded to assemble his bike for the ride. He introduced himself to everyone asking what was the route and asked politely if we could keep it to 1-2 hours as he was travelling with U2 the music band and they had a concert that night in Glasgow .
Getting to ride beside Lance Armstrong and translating some Scottish banter was a great and memorable cycling day.
Lance Armstrong was a true cyclist that day, no entourage only himself looking for a group ride with fellow cyclists. Controversial as he maybe at the time he was one of my cycling heroes and it will be a memory that I will never forget.