Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back Problems and Messengers

I have not been here for a few days. I have not ridden a bicycle since Friday morning. It was then that I stood up funny and my back went into spasm. This is what 37 years of playing like a five-year-old will get you.

So I've been off the bike. And that kills me, because it's a big week on the European road circuit that I take as such an inspiration in my daily riding. There was Stijn Devolder winning the Tour of Flanders again. Ghent-Wevelgem was today. A Columbia sprinter not named Mark Cavendish won that, and then it's Paris-Roubaix this Sunday. The very best of the classics.

Ah well, I'll be healthy again soon and back to pounding the asphalt.

I wanted to say something about messengers today, too. I don't know why messengers have become such revered bicycle riders. Most of those I see don't seem to know much beyond how to pedal (not that they have to be experts). They're mostly young. A lot of them seem to smoke. They're getting around and delivering packages, and that's cool.

There is nothing wrong with messengers. Don't get me wrong. I'm not hatin'.

I just don't see why people think being a messenger gives you some profound cycling experience that other people don't have. Also, messengers are NOT a homogenous group. Like the broader cycling community, the messenger population runs the gamut. There are roadies. There are punks. There are Freds. There are guys (and gals) who just can't get another job.

But, just as I don't universally respect racers or cyclocrossers or recumbent riders, I can't see that messengers deserve some exalted place either. As near as I can tell, they are almost indistinguishable from urban cyclists generally.

My overall feeling is that everyone who rides a bike is pretty cool, even those older ladies with their horrible hybrids and their neon yellow crossing guard vests. I mean, they're getting it done, aren't they? They're pedaling. And that's cool.

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