Bell Helmets has launched a cool new initiative dubbed their All-Stars campaign. It celebrates 30+ years of Bell cycling history through the lens of the athletes who helped define the culture. Along with feature stories and videos profiling these noteworthy athletes, Bell will also be producing a limited-edition All-Stars Zephyr road helmet that are available for pre-order now. Price is $230.
Read the RoadBikeReview first ride report of the Bell Zephyr road helmet.
Bell has been connected to American cycling culture for more than 30 years as a protector and innovator. Along the way, they've witnessed countless triumphs great and small. Looking back, some moments stand out. Some people stand out. They are the pioneers. The dreamers. The athletes and innovators who took American cycling to a place that didn't exist before they came along. These are the people they call the Bell All-Stars.
USA Cycling's 1990 Athlete of the Year; Mike McCarthy's found success on both the road and the track throughout his career. McCarthy is a former World Champion on the track in the individual pursuit and is a two-time Olympian.
Over the next few months Bell will introduce its Bell All-Stars and tell you why they're special. In some cases, their stories remain remarkably untold. Perhaps because their achievements came in a different era, a time when bike racing was hardly a mainstream sport in America. Many of them had no guidebook, no path to follow. They forged their own.
"Bell has always been a leader in road cycling-having supported iconic American professional teams like Coors Light, Shaklee, Navigators, Sierra Nevada, Montgomery Bell and HealthNet - as well as several U.S. Olympic Teams," said James Hibbard, Marketing Manager for Bell Helmets. "The former riders whose stories we'll be sharing in the coming weeks represent the best of a very competitive era in American road cycling - having earned Olympic medals, and world championship titles wearing Bell helmets."
The series kicks off with Leonard Harvey Nitz, one of the great American track racers of the 1970s and '80s. Nitz represented the U.S. in three Olympic Games and won two medals at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He won 18 national championships and had a massive influence on a generation of riders who followed. Frankie Andreu, a team captain of the U.S. Postal Service squad, once said of Nitz: "He was a god in my book. Nitz could do everything, and during those years, he is who I wanted to emulate." Press play to learn more about Nitz.
Despite his influence, Nitz never turned pro. "My whole focus was about the Olympic Games," he says. "That meant much more to me than turning pro."
To Nitz, the idea of racing in Europe, at classics or grand tours, seemed almost impossible at that time. "I really didn't understand the sport, and I'd say most of the Americans at that time didn't know much about the sport," he says. "I learned how to build my own bike frames and would make a lot of my own equipment. I always wanted to make my equipment faster."
Leonard Harvey Nitz represented the United States in three different Olympic Games, winning medals in both the team pursuit and individual pursuit at the 1984 games in Los Angeles, California and helping to pave the way for future generations of American cyclists in the process.
Over the years, Nitz maintained that DIY spirit. He went on to race for the 7-Eleven team and Montgomery-Bell, and then later he became a cycling coach.
Next up are the stories of Mike McCarthy and Craig Schommer. McCarthy was a member of the Subaru-Montgomery and Saturn cycling teams, an Olympian in 1992 and 1996, and the 1992 World Champion. Schommer rode for the Montgomery-Bell and Crest cycling teams, and was on the 1988 Olympic team.
Finding success from a young age with two medals at the Junior World Championships, Craig Schommer would go on to represent the United States in the road race at the 1988 Olympics.
Bell will also debut an All-Stars video at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame on May 19, 2017, the evening prior to the Davis Double Century. Two All-Stars - Mike McCarthy and Leonard Harvey Nitz - will be in attendance.