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Let me flex my ignorance, c'est vous plait: Asian Riders?(12 posts)

Let me flex my ignorance, c'est vous plait: Asian Riders?128
Apr 5, 2002 5:36 AM
My reading so far suggests that riding, especially track racing is HUGE in Japan and bikes almost outnumber the people in China (in fact, if you line up the bicycles in China pedal to pedal...), and that those cats make a (hard earned) decent living on the circuit while they can. It seems bike racing is a big betting sport over there etc...

Somewhat new to the history of pro-cycling so I ask; where are the Japanese in the TdF and other high profile events? and where do they or other Asian countries rank in the scheme of things. Sure it's not the largest of Islands, and it's a bit crowded (hence the popularity of the small circle race I suspect)but with Shimano LTD and the popularity of cycling as a necessity there it's a wonder I havn't heard more about the Japanese in my reading....??-and no "bad driver" jokes! ya hear? ha ha! (of course they probably don't fish on the international circuit either so, ok, a possible false correlation with the Shimano thing.)

She su kana yo ee nee, pee ka rio tomoshee, itosheekee oshee ayo, ee da kee. (-phonetically spelled from a Queen song "Let us stay together as the years go by")

ps: I got so hammered by this dude last night on the road as I picked him up on my way in, into the wind, three hills to go, him a (really nice) sinister road rider on a OCLV and legs the size my chest! Me, just coming out of hibrination and soft as a grape, Let's just say, I kept up well (because he waited!), that was a learning experience, and I was glad to see him go!! (did learn of a monday group ride though!)
re: Let me flex my ignorance... done, it's "s'il vous plait"rrodrigz
Apr 5, 2002 5:51 AM
re: Let me flex my ignorance, c'est vous plait: Asian Riders?eschelon
Apr 5, 2002 8:04 AM
I'm not Chinese but what I say is rationally true and self evident. The Chinese don't have so many damn bikes because they love bicycles so...rather they simply can't afford cars. Colnago or Pinarello don't have a strangle hold market over there.

As far as Japan goes, bicycling is only big time in the track racing called Keirin. As with European road cycling, there are also many customs and has a hierarchy to the system and etitquette...if not more so than European racing.
re: Let me flex my ignorance, c'est vous plait: Asian Riders?elviento
Apr 5, 2002 8:28 AM
Actually it's quite true. A form of transportation, not a sport. That's all. People cruise at 8-10mph on 35lb bikes in suit and tie, etc.

Just like the 45 year-old American woman who sends her children to school in that 89 Toyota Corolla is no Michael Schumacher.
The Chinese probably don't have many pave
Apr 5, 2002 10:37 AM
I came from a communist country [Russia]. Road condition there is miserable. You simply can't ride a $3,000 bike on them. It would fall apart very soon.
I assume that China is not much different, since they essentially have same system of government, which focuses on white elephant projects, such as men on the moon, or gigantic river dams, rather than on simple people.
Probably some merit to the economic/political angle128
Apr 5, 2002 11:10 AM
and I agree, not like a bunch of Chinese riders are gonna show up on three speed uprights and form a pace line over the Alps, but them poor boys and countries around Europe find a way, and alot of them races weren't over much more than dirt for a long time. It's not like the Euro-races are for the leisure class. Seems most of those racers are coming from the bottom up, using cycling as a hard scrabble route out of popverty, and most never get up past maybe winning a stage here and there and opening a bike shop.
Sure wheels are expensive, but promoters make money and workers get to suffer.
Hear you on China but the Japan thing (rich and competitve and an industry leader in components, SHIMANO is everywhere, look at Armstrong's stays...!) suprises me Why don't they field a team?? Have they ever ridden in the Worlds and Giros etc??

Well, as I said, just started reading the about the history of this sport so probably jumping the gun, but Japan's lack of visibility on the international scene seems a glaring void to me....
Probably some merit to the economic/political angletz
Apr 5, 2002 11:46 AM
There is a concept of relative vs. absolute poverty. A poor person by european standards is rather well-to-do compared to 90% of the world population. Moreover, they can get great used bikes and train on nice, clean, smooth pavement.
The chinese, on the other hand, have dirt around them. So the number of riders is too small to produce any great racers. Many potential cyclists never realize their talents.
As of the Japanese - I can only make guesses. Their country is one of the world's most crowded, so it may be that their roads are just too crowded for cycling, which means few riders, which in turn results in absence of good riders.
I may be wrong, however. Any Japanese cyclists on this board?
Well, I guess we ehausted that topic! Some Keirin history:128
Apr 5, 2002 9:49 AM
IN 1997
Keirin is a new Olympic sport
The Japan Cycling Federation was officially notified by the International Cycling Union on Dec.24 that the professional cycling event of keirin will be entered in Sydney. It will be among 3 other cycling events that will be new to the coming Olympics. Keirin is the second Japanese born sport to be in the Olympics. Judo was entered from the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Keirin was started in 1948 as a gambling sport. It was first entered in the World Cycling Championships in France in 1980. Keirin is fun to watch, because it's not just a race. It involves strategy--that is, how to position yourself among 6 to 8 cyclists. In 1992, an advisor to the Japan Cycling Federation began lobbying keirin for the Olympic Games.

Searched 'TdF winners' and never a Japanese winner. Ever any entrants? I just find it odd that a country that's been kickin ass on the race track for over 50 years has no interest in the TdF, or Olympic road cycling teams. (althought there is an international gymnastics on bikes competition held by the Asisan federation (in which European compete) Well, anyway.....Back to satin couches and totem worship...
Japan's terrain.czardonic
Apr 5, 2002 11:05 AM
Especially odd that a country with so much mountain terrain hasn't produced some legendary climbers.

Heck, Japan's population is half that of the US, and no entrants at all? Strange.
Asian Rider here...weiwentg
Apr 5, 2002 11:20 AM
I'm from Singapore, so I can't speak for China or Japan. But there are road bikers in Singapore and Malaysia (some of them, anyway). Our sports scene isn't great (population 3 million - population base too small). And there are NO big hills. It's all flat.
Cycling is an expensive sport. I'm not surprised that it's not a very big thing in most Asian countries. As for my country ... let's say we have produced maybe two Olympic-caliber athletes (one won a silver at the Rome Olympics in weightlifting way back when, one was a swimmer who sadly didn't win a medal, but he was pretty good). There is not as much interest in sports back home as there is in the States. And anyway, mainly we watch football (NOT soccer :P).
interesting. I hope you saw the Patriots win the Superbowl!nm128
Apr 5, 2002 11:53 AM
I am a Chinese riderQubeley
Apr 6, 2002 6:53 PM
well, looks like a lot of people still know China as a backward state void of anything modern, I just felt compelled to bring them update.
Yes, bike is used for commuting purpose for the most part. Majority of the people can't afford a car. A average bike you see in the street will either be a single speed or a 21-speed cheap and heavy MTB, however, a lot of these MTBs are actually better in quality than Huffy(how can Huffy be this bad? Even I am surprised). Giant is the number one brand over there right now, quite popular with young people.
Since most people regard bike only as a thing to get you from one place to another, they do not care much about the quality of the bike or the condition, flat is the only reason a bike need fix. So there was this joke:"You can hear sound form every part on bike except the bell."
In China there are usually bike lane running alongside of car lane, about the width of 1 1/2 car lane in each direction, paved, condition varies depend on the maintenance. You have a much safer and easier ride over there than here in the U.S.
As a sport, cycling is pretty much neglegible. Only the government can support a sport expensive like cycling, and the professional riders are usually converted from other sports. There are so many more important things need to be taken care of, sport is simply not a priority. There just isn't a system for a regular rider to participate in the sport. The sport that people play over there are mostly those that doesn't cost much: soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. The athletes in China, in general, in my opinion, are quite poorly educated, they are usually the bad students with good body to whom study is "useless". So, yes, a people with talent in sport but with a better brain is probably trying to go to college rather than become an athlete.
In the recent years, however, cycling has grow in popularity with young people, those who have rich parents began to buy more expensive bikes. MTB, BMX and downhill is more popular with the kids than road bikes. I see kids jumping curbs once a while.
Although there's still a long way, we are catch up quite fast to the world. There are already Chinese playing soccer in Europe, Wang zhizhi in NBA, so I am quite sure that we will see Chinese in the peloton hopefully in the not to far future(5-10 years is my estimate).