Ex-Star reporter gains notice as cycling expert

July 18, 2013
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Former Indianapolis Star business writer Daniel Lee spent part of his Thursday dodging rain drops and thunder bolts, and he couldn’t have been happier.

It didn’t hurt his mood that he spent much of his day staring at the French Alps, where he was to observe the Tour de France.

In the two years since publishing his book, “The Belgian Hammer,” about the European cycling scene, Lee has become something of a minor celebrity in cycling circles.

The primary focus of Lee’s book, now in its third printing, is how young American cyclists come to Belgium as amateurs to learn the sport and endure tough competition in preparation of doing top races like the Tour de France.

The book has been featured on NBC television broadcasts of the Tour, and Lee, who worked for the Star from 2005 to 2010 before becoming a communications specialist for local bicycle parts maker Zipp Speed Weaponry, is often asked his take on the Euro cycling scene and Americans’ part in it.

Lee and his book have been featured by European and Canadian media outlets. Locally he has been features on such programs as the IU School of Medicine/WFYI program “Sound Medicine” discussing health and safety issues with cycling and bike racing, and on WFYI’s “No Limits” for a roundtable discussion on ethics in sport.

The book was born from Lee’s personal experiences.

“The book grew out of my own experiences and observations, starting with becoming fascinated by European pro cyclists as a high school student in the 1980s and watching TV highlight shows of Greg LeMond in the Tour de France,” Lee explained.

Lee began racing bicycles when he was a student at Ball State University and raced in Belgian and Germany in 1992.

“That was an experience that really drove home to me just how tough high level cycling is as a sport,” Lee said.

In 2005, Lee moved back to Indiana from California and got involved in the local cycling scene. Lee met several high-level junior riders including Indianapolis native Guy East Jr., who is a primary figure in Lee’s book.

The book also features Tour de France riders Brent Bookwalter and Ted King as well as up-and-coming star Taylor Phinney, the son of Olympian Davis Phinney.

The book includes a chapter on women's cycling, rare for a cycling book, and also features the growing influence of collegiate cycling by discussing the national powerhouse Marian University team here in Indianapolis.

While The Belgian Hammer continues to roll off the presses, Lee said writing another cycling-related book isn’t out of the question.



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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

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