Earlier this afternoon a jovial rotund customer strolled into the shop in search of a puncture repair kit for his sons bike. As we chatted briefly about the weather and whatever else, he remarked ‘Did ya see yer man Barney Wiggles in the paper smoking a fag there today ?. ‘Tis fair gas to see the fittest man in the world sittin there smokin away. I’m a silk cut man meself so I showed it to the misses an told her not to be gettin on to me over my twenty a day or I’ll throw on the spandex an tear off around the neighbourhood on the young fellas bike.’ and off he went on his merry way .
Barney Wiggles, or Bradley Wiggins as he is more commonly known was photographed earlier this week sitting outside a Restraunt in Mallorca smoking a cigarette and the pictures were published in the Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers aswell as making it global within hours online.
Many people admire Wiggins’ down to earth, shoot from the hip style. Many also feel that he should be entitled to his privacy and should be entitled to do whatever he likes on his own time. Many see no harm in him smoking a cigarette. Many may not always be right.
Wiggins is paid millions to be a professional cyclist. Like it or not success in the sporting arena is accompanied by a degree of responsibility. He is held up as a role model for millions. He is the current Tour de France and Olympic Time Trial Champion. He is odds on to be the BBC Sports personality of the year. Like it or not what he does in his spare time matters.
Over the years we have had parents come into the shop willing to spend more than they could afford on high end road bikes for their teenage sons. More than once I have had a father tell me that if he can keep the young fella cycling for a few more years it will keep him away from the drink and smoking and whatever else until he reaches an age where he will hopefully have enough sense to not go near them of his own mind.
I can remember as a teenager being able to use ‘I’m a cyclist’ as a valid reason to not fall in with the smoking or drinking crowd without feeling weak or chicken shit. Being a cyclist actually garnered a degree of respect from the ‘cool’ crowd. There was nothing soft about cycling with tv images of Sean Kelly in Paris Roubaix being the reference point. And Sean Kelly did not ever smoke or even drink during the racing season so I wasn’t going to smoke or drink either. He was a role model parents were happy for their kids to follow.
Is Bradley Wiggins a role model for kids today ?