Littering in the Classics

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I read this article about the Belgium police coming to some of the team hotels looking for specific riders that were identified as having littered during last year’s version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Potentially, this could stop these very riders from toeing the start line tomorrow in Liège.

This is ridiculous on so many levels that I can’t believe the Belgium authorities would even take the complain seriously. Especially seriously enough to go to the team hotels and ask for specific riders phone numbers. The article says that the riders are most likely the ones riding at the front of the race, as that would be the majority of the television coverage.

Throwing water bottles in a bike race is just part of the race. I have to estimate that I’ve personally thrown 1000’s upon 1000’s of water bottles away in races. I always throw my bottle to a spectator if I’m out in the country. That is if I’m not in the feed zone. If I’m there, I just drop the bottle in the area. I usually, nearly always put a wrapper from a shot or gel back into my pocket. There are some very isolated instances, such as when I’m feeding and something unexpected occurs, I drop it. And sometimes in a MTB race, I think I’m in a place I can get the wrapper back in my pocket, but it gets rougher than I anticipated and I have to drop the wrapper. But, this is a mistake, not on purpose.

But, whatever the reason, this is just dumb. If the Belgium police are serious about this, then they need to be talking to the promoters of the race and not to the riders. All the promoters need to do is have a sweeper gang that follows the race that cleans up the trash. It’s just common sense.

I very much doubt that a Professional rider isn’t going to be able to start tomorrow’s race because of this ongoing investigation. The whole thing is ludicrous.

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12 thoughts on “Littering in the Classics

  1. Michael Smith

    There is no reason there could not be drop zones for all the trash generated by the peloton. It’s long overdue and any jurisdiction has the right and responsibility to keep their roadways clean. Being a professional racer does not give you, or them, the right to throw their trash wherever they choose. A little personal responsibility goes a long way.

     
  2. Anton

    Despite being a fan I’ve always thought the callous littering looks bad for the sport.

    Cyclists have enough bad karma to the average fat slob on a sofa or in an SUV.

    Why not embrace the environmental aspects of cycling by exhibiting behavior that doesn’t fall somewhere between cycling prima donna and strip coal mining?

     
  3. Anton

    It’s embarrassing to see cycling garbage while out on local rides. Most of the packaging discarded by others (as pictured above) stays around for a long time.

     
  4. Anthony Geller

    I’ve also seen riders running stop signs and red lights in races not to mention riding on the wrong side of the road. Many should be cited for following too close especially when not leaving enough room to the vehicle in front results in accidents.

     
  5. Calvin Jones

    Good timing with Earth Day just in front of us. I would put it that racing is not about caring for the environment, it is about winning. MTB racing does not care about the environment, road racing does not care about the environment. During these pro races, however, it would seem reasonable to have staff follow afterwards for clean up.

    Soapbox Comment: Is anyone else tired of all the banana peels on the road shoulders? What, are we too to tired to get it over the edge of the asphalt? These have become the “cigarette butts” of our cycling community.

     
  6. John O

    We put on one our local usac races today. We have to scour the road for wrappers after the race. The guys think it is ‘pro’ to just toss and go. Fuck the pros!

     
  7. Gummee!

    While I agree that littering on a training ride is bad, it should be up to the promoter to ensure that things on a race course are policed up (see what I did there?!) afterwards. Ask for volunteers if $ are a concern…

    I’ll also agree that there’s no need to litter in a criterium situation. I also know ‘accidents happen.’ …but if it isn’t an accident, it shouldn’t happen!

     
  8. kenny

    After 15 years of running a 12 hour MTB event, I can tell you plenty of rides drop stuff. However most of them at least drop it on the trail tread where sweeepers can pick it up. Please don’t chuck your wrappers out of sight because in April and May the leaves won’t block your waste you left behind.

     
  9. Dino Panagiotopoulos

    While watching the Orica-GreenEdge video from this years LBL, Neil Stephens mentions several drop zones along the route, complete with signage, for riders to drop any unwanted trash. I assume that there are stewards posted in these areas to make sure any rubbish is collected afterward.

    Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHwsWmhuZs

    With the exception of bottles in the ProTour (which make for nice souvenirs), I don’t find littering acceptable. Keep the wrappers in your jersey until you finish your ride.

     
  10. Wombat Jones

    Absolutly. These guys are RACING! They should put the rubbish in their jersey when it is feasible but come one. Surely there is more rubbish from the spectators than the riders. As is said in the article, a cleap-up crew to follow the race makes perfect sense. Sheesh.

     
  11. Dave

    Sorry, no sympathy from me. If they are able to multitask cycling and taking it out of the pocket they can also multitask cycling and putting it back in.

    Designated drop zones could be a good solution, and if that doesn’t work then it’s time to consider other penalties like fines, relegation to back of the group or putting offenders’ team cars at the back of the queue.

     

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