As teams go, Johnson & Hayes Physical Therapists/Alabama Wheelmen is probably one of the most diverse you are likely to encounter. The J&H/AW team has been building steadily and has become the largest in the state of Alabama. A big part of this is the fact that all categories and all ages are welcome to join. This is part of a world-wide trend for cycling to attract a broad spectrum of riders. Recently I was able to see part of the World Championships that were held in Richmond, Virginia, where the diversity of cycling was on full display. At the hotel where my wife and I were staying were two teams participating in the championships. One was the Astellas Cycling Team that was competing in the Team Time Trial. This is a UCI Continental Team that is based in the USA and made up of young riders who might be the stars of the future. Riders like Jake Silverberg from Florida. He began racing as a junior since 2010, and 2015 marked his transition from a development team to a professional team, after getting his start with local teams similar to AW. The second team at our hotel was the national team from Eritrea. The entire population of that country is less than 7 million, and until this year you may not even have realized that cycling was an established sport there. However, Daniel Teklehaimanot gained attention for his country this year as the first black African to wear the polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France. You can see the team’s picture here: Eritrea Team at World Championships. I saw the team at breakfast in the mornings and thought how excited they must be to have the opportunity to represent their country and race for the Rainbow jersey. This is the jersey awarded to the various winners in the time trial and road race competitions. The symbolism of the Rainbow is important: cycling has room for all sort of different cyclists, whether from different countries, or different specialties, or different physical and mental capabilities.
The AW/J&H team will be marking its 4th year in 2016 under the current sponsor pack. We seek to enlist all cyclists who desire to be part of an inclusive racing organization. Getting started is very easy. We are having our annual general membership meeting on Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. This would be a good opportunity for prospective members to gain more information and meet others on the team. In addition, we are currently taking orders for our standard kit items. These are the Red, White, and Blue kits that are used in most of our races. These are available to everyone, you do not have to join AW or be a racer to buy items.
Bicycle racing is a healthy way to have fun and stay healthy both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Having a team such as AW/J&H provides a real benefit such as the espirit de corps that comes with being part of a group of like-minded cyclists. Please contact James Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested or have questions about any aspect of AW/J&H or bicycle racing in general.