Lance Armstrong is back. The disgraced cyclist announced that he’s getting back on the seat and taking his first public bike ride later this month at Iowa’s annual RAGBRAI. The 406 mile trek from Council Bluffs to Fort Madison has hosted the athlete on four separate occasions prior, but all of those rides were relaxed and joyful. This one, however, well, no one is really quite sure what to expect this time around, least of all Armstrong.

Here’s what the famed rider told The Des Moines Register
“I’m well aware my presence is not an easy topic, and so I encourage people if they want to give a high five, great. If you want to shoot me the bird, that’s OK, too. I’m a big boy, and so I made the bed, I get to sleep in it.”

Every year, approximately 10,000 bicyclists put on their helmets and take part in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Almost immediately after Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey during an interview that he used performance enhancing drugs and lied about it, the leaders of the RAGBRAI reached out to Lance and let him know he’d always be welcome in Iowa. That might not sound like a reasonably shocking decision, but considering Armstrong has been booted from his own charity and sued by his former sponsors, the extended hand was actually in the minority and obviously, much appreciated.

The RAGBRAI is scheduled to take place between July 21 and July 27. Typically, the event is something some of the participants join for a few days at the beginning or in the middle. Armstrong hasn’t announced exactly how long he’ll attend for, but he has vowed it’ll at least be for a few days and include the large expo on July 20.

On the one hand, it’s easy to see why Armstrong would want to return to riding his bike and why he would want to do so in Iowa. The people there tend to be pretty friendly, and he got an open invitation from the powers that be. For decades, riding his bike was both his livelihood and his chosen form of expression. There’s no way he ever could have given that completely up. Besides, whether he was cheating or not, he did a whole lot of good in raising money and bringing people hope while he was behind the wheel.

On the other hand, however, it hasn’t even been a year since Armstrong admitted he used performance enhancing drugs. Maybe it would have been better if he went away for a few years. Maybe he should have allowed everyone time to mentally be okay with him again before returning to action.

What do you think? Is it a good idea for Armstrong to ride letter this month? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…


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