Jul 12, 2009

The Wizard and the Man Behind the Curtain

There were many fountains of "bike culture" to drink from this weekend; the bike film festival, the TDF at the Riverview, the pancake fundraiser for Bike! Bike! and a large polo event. Add to this a new TLC propaganda program involving yard signs that seems a little off, bike projects (needing volunteers to get 'em done), and I have come to believe that there may be something a little self-promotional about all this business...

Of course, bicyclists are like everyone else; they establish subcultures and cliques just as other groups do. There's a broad spectrum of groups ranging from the carbon-fiber-vs.-titanium-color-coordinated roadie group (who will turn their noses down at a very nice steel bike) to the cultivated informality of the bikes-anarchists. And there's everything imaginable in between.

"Poser" (or more frequently, "Poseur") is a term used on Bike Forums to describe people with fancy road bikes that only ride them to the coffee shop and hang out in their cycling clothes to be seen. I am coming to the position that a Poseur just might be anyone who's into bikes for the look and the scene, regardless of what that look is and what bike is considered to be hot.

It should be about the ride, shouldn't it? I think that at some level, that's what most people want when they start riding a bike (remember swooping down a hill and then getting back up it under your own power, going fast around a corner, or getting just a little better each ride...). Seems like a lot of people seem to get blown off of that course and end up convinced that whatever eddy current of bike culture they end up swirling around becomes the experience of being a biker.

My advice: don't settle for the common denominator or the easy answer just because it's in front of you. Make up you own mind about what's good and what's worth spending your time on.

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