Amidst fanfare and the usual feel-good chirping, Director of Sport Neil Kumar has announced the holding of another ‘Ride for Life‘; this once again from Skeldon and along the familiar route to Georgetown, Linden and Essequibo.
I had earlier remarked of its monotony and disregard for human life in a letter to the Stabroek News, after the completion of last year’s ‘Derby,’ when its organizers had talked of a $200,000 first prize.
However, for reasons which appear shrouded in mystery, they said nothing whatsoever this time around about the money budgeted for this year’s 5-stage event, much of which would again fall neatly into other people’s pockets. The transporters (road and water) would have been the principal beneficiaries of this state largesse.
A properly thought-out classic would have enabled the people of the nation’s capital to see several of the cyclists who would have figured so prominently in the sport throughout the year. The cyclists ought to have wheeled around Main Street before setting off, after being medically certified as fit by a panel physician in the days preceding the event.
There should have been punitive restrictions on parking along the routes to minimize the risk to cyclists being brought down by vehicle doors, parked tractors, heavy equipment and stray animals. Look at the absurdity of Main Street, New Amsterdam; Bush Lot West Coast Berbice; Grove East Bank Demerara and innumerable other places where absolutely no advance warning was given or a single banner posted anywhere.
The newly installed President of the Guyana Cycling Federation might enlighten us as to how many ambulances and aides, and what equipment would be there in support during the four days of racing.
Of course while the Director of Sport was ‘working hard,‘ cyclists still had to contend with lousy meals and hardly any fit place to wash-up, change and relax between stages except beneath hotels co-mingling with the laundry and sewerage pipes.
Hard-working Mr Kumar might well be invited to say why the participants could not repair to the Bermine Recreation Hall with its ample space and swimming pool along the New Amsterdam Esplanade, at the end of the Skeldon to New Amsterdam stage. NICIL has had it up for sale, for three years now, even though there is nothing comparable in Berbice.
Editor, cyclists will get nothing from this coterie of individuals.