We Keep Getting Lost

Background Reading


DC Bike Club Gathering © Randall Myers

DC Bike Club Gathering
© Randall Myers

Bicycle clubs can be great places to hone your biking skills. But there are times when the teeter precariously on the verge of meaninglessness.

That happens more often than not when the ‘country club mentality takes over from the business of helping people enjoy life with a focus on riding bikes and not comparing things owned.

A recent eruption took place in our club when on member shared their recent purchase of a Fat Bike via an online service. That of course led to a discussion of sorts about the efficacy of even mentioning such things given that most clubs have symbiotic relationships with sponsors who having paid as much as $250 for the right to be listened on the club’s website and in their publications, expect in return some loyalty from club members who are seeking to purchase new equipment.

Entirely Too Focused On ‘Stuff’

There is a universal trend amongst bicyclists to be somewhat materialistic. That is certainly true of the Yanks on this side of the Pond. We even get to the point that how we dress on the bike becomes more of a fashion statement than a means of keeping drying during the rainy season.

It is somewhat embarrassing that we spend so very much time on things when the world is more or less full of people who have nothing. And here we are supposedly touting the good that can come when mass transit aids the poor in society to get around for very little.

And instead of keeping our focus on this sort of thing we spend countless hours its seems comparing all the new gear we have and debating whether fixed gear bikes are cooler than fat tire bikes and so forth. As harmless as this all really is, it can lead to bit of callousness.

We always blather on about how wonderfully liberating bicycling can be and yet it is honestly a bit hypocritical of us to speak in those terms when in fact we can be more like high school kids debating clothing styles than folks interested in getting better at cycling.

I Vacuum Copenhagen

I Vacuum Copenhagen

I doubt seriously that any of this will ever change. We are not likely to adopt the vacuum cleaner approach to cycling that the Danes have. We are about bicycles the way we are about cars. We have bike porn and a great deal of lust for all things ‘neat and cool‘.

Our brand of Capitalism actually grows from our take on things. We value things far more than we do relationships it would seem. Were this not true the incidences of collisions due to distracted driving would be minuscule. Instead nobody seems capable of walking, biking, driving or sitting on a bus without their noses frequently buried in a smartphone or tablet.

And no one doubts the fact that bicycle clubs sort themselves our socially on the basis of the kind of bikes people own and ride. So you have the touring, road racing, cruiser, recumbent and so on groupings. Even the body types of the folks in these groups and the ages are similar. Sigh!

Soothing Egos

Finally there is the aspect of bicycle club membership that develops around ‘egos‘. This is often displayed within the context of the clubs discussion forum. The more rancorous types seldom want to ‘break off‘ and carry on their blather in a separate area. Why?

Well more often than not this is really all about ‘pissing contests‘. Even the bikes we ride are a statement of our ‘manhood‘ or ‘fitness‘. It’s a bit silly but you cannot rid yourself of the notion that being able to hang with the ‘big dogs‘ in the club has a certain cachet.

I would prefer it if the really obnoxious discussions were carried on ‘behind closed doors‘. But doing that makes the swaggering pointless. So everyone has to be subjected to this posturing. Meanwhile cycling suffers because we never spend a great deal of time on finding ways to make it a safer and more enjoyable sport or method of transport within the context of a relatively urban landscape.

Hey, that reminds me. I need to go recharge my GPS unit. No one can possibly ride a bike these days without one of these babies, right? Dan Henry must be turning over in his grave.