Lance Armstrong and Twitter once again joined forces to good affect, this time to organise a mass ride in Adelaide today.
An estimated 5,000 – 8,000 cyclists converged in Wigley on the outskirts of Adelaide, joining Armstrong, Robbie McEwen and other riders here to participate in next week’s Tour Down Under, for a pedal up and down the sea front.
“It was busy. Chaotic,” Armstrong said. “But it was a controlled chaos, certainly the biggest one that I’ve been a part of. We gave them a little more notice than normal and we had a lot of support from the local police, that was really helpful. Everybody was very mindful and respectful. There was a few crashes I could hear, but it was great.”
“We got lucky because it’s a cycling city and because of the race you have people here,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong first Tweeted about the ride on Wednesday after arriving in Australia, saying; ‘Having dinner at my favorite spot here in Adelaide. I feel a Twitter ride coming on. Can Adelaide top Dublin??’
The following day he confirmed the location, saying; ‘Ok Adelaide… 9am Saturday. Wigley Reserve. Come one come all!’ With just two days notice the local authority put in temporary toilets, a marquee, drinks and a sausage sizzle. Local police were also on hand to provide a rolling road block.
“There’ll be other [rides], but I don’t think anybody will top what we had here today, that was a huge amount of people. Part of me says we’ll never do better than today, we’ll never do another one. But part of me thinks we should go somewhere very unique, where people wouldn’t expect me to go. We’ll see, a lot of it is just instinct and seeing if we have the time and seeing if we have the urge.”
The phenomenon of impromptu Twitter Rides started in Paisley, Scotland last year when Armstrong invited local cyclists to join him for a ride. Hundreds turned up in the rain, swamping the hotel he was staying in and virtually closing the road outside.
That was then topped in Dublin when the Police closed Pheonix park for a Twitter ride after the Tour of Ireland and even more people turned up. Adelaide now has the honour of hosting the biggest ever Twitter ride. Where next?