Monday, October 13, 2008

I don't have to ride your bike.

I can be a snob. It comes naturally, a voice sneering and scoffing and laughing in the back of my head.

Why do people ride tandem bicycles? Why? Being stuck to another person is completely antithetical to my concept of the reason for riding a bicycle in the first place, that is to be independent and free. Every time I see a tandem, I cringe.

Why do people wrap themselves in lycra to ride across town to work? Are they shaving valuable seconds off their commute? Are they so consumed with the wicking of moisture and arriving at work dry as the desert that they must employ hundreds of dollars of technical fabrics to go to the grocery store? How you need bib tights and rainbow-bright jersey to pedal your hybrid to the coffee shop is a mystery to me.

Why do hipsters spend $3000 on fixed-gear bicycles? I've seen them. Why take a simple thing and make it into a carbon-fibered, space-age-engineered rocket cycle? You're just going to get falafel. Surely a simple steel bike would do the trick, even somewhat stylishly.

But these are all pointless questions. The pertinent query is: WHY DO I CARE?

I don't have to wear the lycra. I don't have to ride the tandem. I don't have to spend the money.

Each of us has our own crazy ideas. And, if cycling is about freedom and independence, then each of us is free to pedal whatever two-wheeled Frankenstein we want. We can dress like clowns or woodland gnomes. It doesn't matter.

It certainly shouldn't matter to me. And on good days, it doesn't.

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