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Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood: Sexy Rahsaan, Philly on OLN and USA Cycling gives it up on eBay

This just in: Rahsaan Bahati (Saturn) will be featured in People's25 “Hottest Bachelors” issue, on stands Friday, June 20. For Bahati, 21,it won’t be his first non-cycling magazine appearance — he was featuredin Details magazine a few months back, and was named by Outsideas one of 2003’s “New All-Stars.” “I’m trying to get on the podium next,” joked Bahati, one of a selectfew African-American cyclists to be signed to a pro U.S. cycling team. Bahati came to the attention of Saturn in 2000 when he was only 17 and won the Junior National Road Racing and National Criterium Championships, in

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By Neal Rogers

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This just in: Rahsaan Bahati (Saturn) will be featured in People’s25 “Hottest Bachelors” issue, on stands Friday, June 20. For Bahati, 21,it won’t be his first non-cycling magazine appearance — he was featuredin Details magazine a few months back, and was named by Outsideas one of 2003’s “New All-Stars.”

“I’m trying to get on the podium next,” joked Bahati, one of a selectfew African-American cyclists to be signed to a pro U.S. cycling team. Bahati came to the attention of Saturn in 2000 when he was only 17 and won the Junior National Road Racing and National Criterium Championships, in addition to clinching the 2000 National Elite Criterium Championship while still in the junior ranks. 

A full-time student at Indiana University, Bahati’s season thus far hasbeen less the stellar. He had to undergo a hernia operation in March, andhas been dealing with illness and final exams since.

“If you believe in bad luck,” Bahati said, “I’ve had some of that. Atschool, my roommate was always sick, so I was always sick, and I’ve beenbusy with school and not able to train properly. I may have had some top-15results, but on paper, it’s not been that good.”

Word of the People story first came about three months ago, Bahati said,when he received a phone call from the magazine expressing interest inpossibly including him in their “Hottest Bachelors” issue.

“People tell me stuff like that all the time,” Bahati said about thecall. “I was like, ‘Cool. If I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t.’”Bahati said he forgot about the whole thing until he returned from schoolto his home in Los Angeles, when the magazine contacted him for an interviewand full-on make-up-and-hair-stylist photo shoot at Malibu Beach.“They were still telling me, ‘This doesn’t mean you’re definitely makingthe magazine.’ Two weeks later, they called me and told me I’d made it.”And while Bahati expects to get some recognition back at school fromthe piece — where he already receives some notoriety driving around a SaturnVue with the team’s logo plastered on it — his hope is that the exposuremight open some doors for others, both within and outside the world ofcycling.“Endorsements aren’t that big in cycling,” Bahati said. “Maybe thiswill open some doors, not just for me but for upcoming cyclists. Peopleis not really a predominantly black magazine. Maybe this will open doorsfor other African Americans. A lot of people read this magazine. Maybesome little kids will read and it and identify, and it may change theirlife. I would love to see a good group of African Americans in cycling.It would make the peloton more diverse.”This marks the second time in two months that a member of Saturn hasappeared in People. In April, People recounted the inspiringstory of Pam Am Games Gold medallist Ivan Dominguez, who bravely defectedfrom Cuba in 1998. The article led to his appearance on Fox Sports Network’s“Best Damn Sports Show Period,” which also highlighted Saturn’s impacton the sport of cycling.For Bahati, super-stardom — at least rubbing elbows with People mainstayslike Halle Berry — will have to wait. “I’m invited to a party for the issuenext weekend,” Bahati said. “There’s going to be 800 people there, andI’m going to Fitchburg. There’s another party in New York a week later,and there’s going to be 2000 people there. I’m still working on gettingto that one.”Rahsaan says he is well-trained and ready for Fitchburg. Me, I’m more interested in the Manhattan party. If you make it, Rahsaan, send us some photos.

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OLN has updated its schedule for the coming weeks, with an hour-longbroadcast of the Wachovia USPRO Championships as the key addition. ThePhilly race airs twice — June 19th, at 8 p.m. and June 24th, at 12 p.m.(all times Eastern standard).

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USA Cycling Announces eBay Auction
Got a press release here from the brass down in Colorado Springs.“Sports memorabilia donated by various stars of cycling and many otherprofessional sports hit the auction block this Friday, June 20 at 12:00pmPST. The USA Cycling Auction, which will directly benefit athlete developmentprograms, will be available at www.ebay.com. USA Cycling will run two consecutiveten-day auctions between June 20 and July 9. The first auction will contain33 items and second auction will feature approximately 40 items availablefor bidders.”So what kind of “items” are we talking about here? Lance Armstrong-autographeditems include a copy of his book, “It’s Not About the Bike”, the SportsIllustrated “Sportsman of the Year” issue, a limited edition U.S. PostalService Team yellow flag commemorating Lance’s 2002 Tour de France victory(autographed by the entire USPS team), and a 2002 Tour de France profilecard of stage 11, which Armstrong won and took the yellow jersey.If you’re looking for that special something for the cycling fanatic,there auction also has donations from Greg LeMond, Leigh Donovan, StephenRoche, Chris Carmichael, Mari Holden, Genevieve Jeanson, Diana Ziliute,Dede Demet-Barry, Marty Nothstein, Tyler Hamilton, Frankie Andreu, FredRodriguez, Rishi Grewal, Susan De Mattei, Dylan Casey, Amber Neben, NedOverend, Chann McRae, Tinker Juarez and more.Team gear from the U.S. Postal Service Team, Team T-Mobile, Saturn CyclingTeam, CSC-Tiscali, Prime Alliance, 7-Eleven, Domo-Farm Frites, and theU.S. Olympic Team is also available.
USA Cycling created the eBay auction to raise money in efforts to fundthe development and track programs that USA Cycling supports. All moniesraised will go directly to the U-23 program, USA Cycling’s Track Program,and to the junior level mountain bike, road and track programs.To view a complete listing of all the items in the first auction, simplylog onto www.ebay.com andfollow the links to the USA Cycling auction site beginning at 12:00pm PSTon Friday, June 20. Items in the second auction will be posted at the endof June.

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Got a line from Paul Skafel over at Gears Racing Institute, the Toronto-basedCanadian mountain-bike development program. It seems Gears president andteam manager Kevin Wallace and riding partner Jeff Rushton have organizeda 10-day ride www.coasttocoastride.comfrom Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to raise $500,000.for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Candlelighters, a child cancerfoundation.The group consists of six riders covering 7200km, riding in rotatingshifts in teams of three, with each cyclist pedaling 12-15 hours across360 km per day.“They started last Saturday at 7 a.m. in Vancouver, and are about tocross the border into Minnesota to dip down through the Great Lakes,” Skafelreports. Last year Wallace and Rushton completed the Coast-to-Coast ridefrom San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida, raising $175,000 for the LanceArmstrong Foundation and the Trillium Breast Cancer Fund.To celebrate their journey this year, Hamilton 2003 and the CanadianCycling Association have invited the Coast-to-Coast Against Cancer Teamto take a victory lap at the Tim Horton’s national championship road raceon Sunday, June 29, prior to the start of the elite men’s event at 12:00p.m.

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This just in from the America Bikes Web site (www.americabikes.org/saferoutes.asp)Congressman Oberstar Champions Safe Routes To School
Supporters of bicycling, walking and healthy communities cheered todayas Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) announced the introduction of abill to fund Safe Routes to School and create more bikeable and walkablecommunities. “This bill encourages children and adults to reacquaint themselveswith the joys of human-powered transportation,” said Oberstar.At the heart of the Pedestrian and Cyclist Equity Act of 2003 (PACE)http://americabikes.org/images/resource/saferouts/PACE.PDFis a national Safe Routes to School program which would provide $250 milliona year to fix unsafe conditions on roads near schools and encourage childrento walk and bike to school. Representative Oberstar announced the new billsurrounded by children on bicycles and proponents of Safe Routes to Schoolfrom around the country. He was joined by co-sponsors Rep. Earl Blumenauer(D-OR), Rep. Jim Moran (D-TX), and Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX). Fourteen membershave co-signed so far, including Republican David Hobson of Ohio.“We want to get kids back into the habit of bicycling and walking forfun and transportation,” said Oberstar. “With this bill we can change thelifestyle habits of an entire generation.” Nearly 70 percent of today’sparents bicycled and walked to school, while only 18 percent of their childrendo today, according to recent survey by the Surface Transportation PolicyProject. Experts point to the lack of physical activity as one of the reasonsthat over one-third of American children are overweight or obese.The initiative was inspired by the success of community-based effortsacross the country. “We’ve seen an 81 percent increase in children bicyclingand walking to public schools in just two years of promoting Safe Routesto School,” says Deb Hubsmith, an organizer of one of the country’s strongestprograms in Marin County, California.Grants available through PACE would also help communities encouragemore physical activity through the design of their transportation systems.“Sixty four percent of adults are obese or overweight, and physical inactivityis responsible for at least 200,000 deaths each year. This bill will helpaddress these troubling trends,” says Rich Killingsworth, director of ActiveLiving by Design. The estimated annual cost of physical inactivity andobesity in the United States is approximately $117 billion.The PACE initiative will likely be folded into the reauthorization ofthe transportation funding bill which Congress will address this session.In addition to funding Safe Routes to School initiatives, PACE proposesspending $25 million a year on active living grants, and $25 million ayear for each of three demonstration projects.“As a Mom, I view PACE and its support for Safe Routes to School asa dream come true for parents who wish their children could experiencethe joys of walking and biking to school like we once did,” said ElissaMargolin, President of America Bikes, a coalition of bicycling interests.“The group walks and rides, the parent volunteers, the safety trainingand the sidewalk and street improvements make Safe Routes to School feasibleand fun.”America Bikes and a number of other organizations are mobilizing theirmembers to build Congressional support for the bill.