At Higher Gear, we’re big fans of baseball and all things bicycling. We’re also huge advocates for women’s cycling. You can imagine our elation when we learned that these three passions of ours have converged.
It turns out that Barry Bonds, former MLB outfielder, has become a financial sponsor of the TWENTY16 women’s professional cycling team. Bonds’ girlfriend Mari Holden is a 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, a 2000 World Champion and Sports Director for TWENTY16.
Holden apparently introduced Bonds to cycling and, since then, has been spotted cycling around San Francisco and Colorado, in a much slimmer version of himself. A picture one fan captured of Bonds at the summit of Independence Pass in 2012 went viral and was the world’s introduction to Barry Bonds as a newly-reformed and avid cyclist.
Say what you will about Bonds, feel free to crack jokes about doping in both sports (sorry, many have already beat you to it), but this story gives us hope for several reasons.
First, we’re delighted to see that women’s cycling is getting more recognition. It deserves a lot more, but it seems that women’s cycling is making huge progress this year. Having more professional teams – and more funding in those teams – can only help.
Team TWENTY16 is a professional cycling team making an investment in developing future women cyclists. The team began as TWENTY12 in 2009, when they had the goal of taking athletes to the 2012 London Olympics. The team was the only U.S women’s road team to earn medals in the London Olympics, taking home both a gold and silver medals. The team is now TWENTY16 with an eye on the Rio 2016 Olympics.
TWENTY16 consists of 14 professional athletes including, numerous World, Pan Am and National champions and 5 Olympic Medalists. In addition to Holden, other Olympians on the team are: Kristin Armstrong, 2008 and 2012 Gold Medalist and TWENTY16’s High Performance Director, Sarah Hammer, six-time World Champion and two-time 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Dotsie Bausch, two-time Pan American Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and Jennie Reed, 2008 World Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist. Also on the team is Kaitie (Kaitlin) Antonneau, one of the top U23 cyclists, who rode for the US in the 2014 Cyclocross World Championship and whose name you’ll recognize from our coverage of the 2013 and 2014 Cyclocross National Championships.
Another reason this story appeals to us is the reason cycling appeals to Bonds. (Well, aside from the hot cycling girlfriend, though we admit that’s a bonus.) Cycling allows Bonds to get and stay fit, even with an already battered body. “I’ve had a trillion knee surgeries, back surgery, hip surgery,” Bonds said. “[Cycling]’s allowed me not to beat my body up.”
Since Holden introduced him to cycling, Bonds has ridden in Levi Leipheimer’s GrandFondo and, as we mentioned earlier, he’s pedaled up Independence Pass. Adam Gold, the kid in the picture next to Bonds at the summit said, “We drove up there and I still can’t believe that anyone could do the same thing on their bike – no matter how good of shape they’re in.”
Cycling is a fabulous way to get in cardio exercise and to enjoy your surroundings, no matter who you are. Whatever your age, status, ability, interest and goals, there is a bike and a bike ride for you. Somebody competitive like Bonds can push themselves to see how far they can ride or how fast they can ride. Others, can just enjoy a relaxing ride on two wheels.
Finally, we’re interested in this news is because of the underlying story – that a person can reinvent him or herself with cycling.
Whether you’re a marathoner who has had to hang up your running shoes due to injury or a retired baseball player with a tarnished past, cycling offers hope.
Two wheels, an open road and endless possibility.
Stop in to Higher Gear today. We’ll help you find the right “freedom machine” for your ability and goals. No previous experience necessary.
For further reading:
- Check out Team TWENTY16’s website.
- SF Gate reports about Barry Bonds, Avid Cyclist and Cycling Investor.
- Busted Coverage caught up with Barry Bonds at the Amgen Tour of California.
- Highlights of Barry Bonds Cycling Through Retirement.
- Read the article from VeloNews on Bonds investing in women’s cycling.
Joy Sherrick is a two-time Boston-qualifier and a Boston Marathon 2013 survivor. She will be returning to run Boston in 2015. Joy runs, but she also bikes, swims, strength trains, practices yoga and plays soccer. She is a fitness coach and Higher Gear’s own fitness guru. She is also her IronMan husband‘s biggest cheerleader.