Justifying Cycling

I am writing this as I am procrastinating from my real work on cycling.  I have been struggling with a creative block on that work and thought I would write this in hopes that it might pull me through that.  After sitting and staring at the computer for about 15 minutes I just opened up a new document and this is where I began.

I get concerned about the state of bikes in the city.  Probably too concerned.  I am concerned about how others a fairing with their travels.  I get troubled with my own.  I am overly sensitive about my place in it all because I was brought up to be authentic.  To not be a poser.  To know who and what came before me and to respect it.  Yet, at times this is more difficult to do than say.  It is more difficult to understand how to be comfortable in my own skin than it is to understand why I should or should not.  This work is getting cryptic.

I don’t think I would say that I left one sub-culture for another.  I never left anything behind or moved on.  I only had to find different ways to experience life that, on one hand, felt very similar to what I love, on the other, fulfilled the same fundamental desires that I need on order to feel happy in my life.  I feel that if I had the opportunity to sit down and explain why I have made the decision I have to anyone, they would respect and understand me for them.  It was with great conviction that I have made the decisions that I have in my life.  It was with purpose and I have tried to be careful.  I am sure it does not appear that way because the inner does not appear the same to others as it feels to me.  The strange thing is that for some reason I feel a need to justify myself.  Realistically, I shouldn’t give a fuck about what others think.  If I am enjoying my life, then their opinions should not matter.  However, I will justify myself because people from various areas within cycling socially overlap.  They don’t know me and I don’t know them.  Therefore, at various events, whether they be mine or theirs we work out our differences in practice, while riding bikes for whatever reason.

When I started all this cycling stuff there was a big divide going on with all the fixed gear crap.  Various discussions about aerospokes, the width of handlebars, brakes or not, the colors of bikes and components, what materials bikes were made out of were all on the radar.  On one side you had people just being into it.  Buying into whatever they saw that looked cool and was urban bike hipster chic or whatever.  Matchy colors with lots of plastic shit parts.  All the shit bikes that looked like they would fall apart in a year.  On the other side you had some cyclists that had been hardened in the streets for many years who had become weatherproof, determined what was authentic or not, decided who was a poser or not, regulated the in and out group.  In this group Italian steel was/is real, quality Italian parts were the only parts and specific set-ups were mandatory.

Some years later after the trends had just about fizzled out, there was this other group slowly coming along.  These people didn’t have or want anything to do with either side of this divide.  They saw the infatuation of the bikes and what potential the simple technology held.  They saw the vast amount of poser bullshit that had become rampant.  Yet, they also saw the limitations of the rules of the authentic group.  This new group became the hyper critical group who didn’t want to be seen as posers but also were trying to understand the boundaries of the authentic group.  Understanding these boundaries, knowing you are part of the out group is important.  See, if you don’t know where you stand you have already fallen.  You must understand the distance between them and you.  You must understand how you appear to them and know they do not care how they appear to you if you are to work out your differences in a positive way.  This perspective must take place for everyone on all sides.

Much of it all has to do with what bike someone is riding around on.  This seems silly.  But, it is a concern to myself and others.  It seems to be falling away and not such a big deal anymore.  Perhaps I am one of the few that still care about all this nonsense.  But, I am hyper critical of myself and others.  I have to be in order to justify what I do.  I have to know that I don’t need the bike I am riding to do whatever I am doing, to go wherever I am going and to get from point A to point B.  Yet, perhaps I do in my mind.

If you read any of my previous post you will know that I have been hurt about a million times and been hit by more cars than most people.  I have broken most of my body and I am not scared to put myself in risky situations.  In fact, that is my lifestyle, that is why I get out of bed in the morning, that is what concerns me in my life because in order to keep living I have to be careful in my risky interests.  I have also been an athlete for my entire life and I know a little something about an athlete and his or her equipment.  The bottom line is that you don’t need to have the best equipment or gear to be the best athlete.  However, the better you get at some sport or athletic activity the more concern you will place on the gear you use to do the activity.  It’s really just logic.

However, you will always have some jackass who will tell you that, “You don’t need those shoes, those wheels, this or that.  It’s too good for you or it’s just not necessary.”

But, those assholes can go fuck themselves.

Realistically, what they are saying is, “I don’t have that and you do, so I am jealous of you and I am going to make you feel bad about having whatever you have, because I don’t have it or the equivalent of it that is in my list of desires.”

I am starting to see a glimpse of this fading away between these groups I am making cryptic references to.  I can see it through diversity among everyone.  I can see my own reaction through my lack of acceptance of this diversity as I can also feel it from the gaze of an OG or some confused person on a bike of some variation.  I won’t accept it because I want to stand on my own in a place that I had a hand in creating.  I grew out of that muck that was between poser and authentic into something else that no one of either of those groups can become.  Yet, we will continue to overlap.  They will see me out there and we will ride together.  I will see them and always give a nod of respect to those who came before me.  I just hope that someday I get the nod back to staying true to me and my own convictions.

However, the reality is that I am probably one of the only people who give a shit about any of this crap anymore and that is a good thing.