Golf's best known cyclist is David Feherty, former professional golfer from Northern Ireland and current CBS on-course golf analyst. And one of the funniest people on the planet. His irreverence is a breath of fresh air in the stuffy world of golf. Think O'Grady with a lilting accent. Feherty's major claim to cycling fame is getting hit by a truck, breaking three ribs, mangling his left arm and puncturing a lung in Dallas in May, 2008. The accident, his arduous recovery and his attitudes about car drivers are detailed here.
He's wearing his still-needed arm brace in the accompanying photo. The toughness and determination it takes to be a world-class athlete are evident in Feherty. When he finally got back on the bike in August, he got hit again and sustained a concussion.
This Saturday, CBS did a feature on Feherty's passion for cycling. Featuring great footage of Feherty speeding along 17-mile Drive on his Madone. And fine-looking form by Feherty, despite the arm brace.
As a student of how Americans view cyclists, the, "What's wrong with this guy?" attitude of the golf world is neither surprising nor disturbing. It's both his continued exposure to danger and the fact that Feherty regularly rides 30 miles before the day's telecast that call his sanity into question.
I was a bit dismayed to see Feherty participate in Saturday's obligatory "Watch David crash, burn and tumble into the iceplant" shot. What is it that America finds so amusing about this? There were at least three national TV spots in 2008 that included cyclists a'flyin'.
I've suggested to industry colleagues that this represents a latent hostility toward cyclists, that watching them get run over is both humorous and perversely satisfying. I'm told I'm paranoid and "overthinking it." I'm interested to hear what anyone else thinks.
Oh yeah, back to the Feherty topic. Here's a snippet from the story linked in the second paragraph above. And a beautiful summary of why Feherty continues to ride despite his mishaps:
"I’m an alcoholic and a narcotics addict. A couple of years ago, I bought a bicycle and started to ride to my meeting. I liked it, and after a while I started riding farther. Then, one day, I kept going. Now I’m riding instead of meeting. My bicycle is my lifeline, my meditation machine, and without question one of the reasons I’m alive." Keep on pedaling, David!