Sunday, April 26, 2015
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I didn't have time to tackle cables and housing, which wouldn't have mattered anyways since the guy in the shop accidentally sold me a mountain brake cable along with the other road brake and shift cables I bought. I was also considering replacing the bottom bracket cartridge, so I'll probably end up grabbing one of those when I pick up the one brake cable I'm lacking.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Spring is here and, for me, that means two things: 1) tune-ups and 2) Cruisin' for a Brewsin. With regard to C4B, the March installment - the first of the year - was rainy and cold, but predictably awesome. The ride included Mother's tasting room and J.O.B., which were both a blast. And of course the usual kick-off and finale at Dugout. My buddy KC came along on his trike and passed out Park tire levers to all the other riders. Just talked to a couple people who've already used theirs.
As fun as last month's C4B was, this month's is looking to be even better. The April ride is scheduled for this coming Thursday and is slated to include stops at Lindberg's, University Plaza hotel, and as always, the Dugout. Lindberg's is one of my favorite regular stops on C4B nights. I'm also looking forward to seeing what happens when a bunch of bike geeks with skid lids crash the U.P. Anyways, be at the Dugout at 6:30 on Thursday for a good time.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I've been looking for an excuse to take a picture of my bike against this wall - an outer west-facing wall at my workplace. Took the opportunity yesterday morning when I decided to document my method for carrying an umbrella by bike.
Heavy cloud cover in the morning (when this picture was taken) was forecasted to turn to rain throughout the afternoon. I had an afternoon meeting on the schedule a few short blocks from my office, so I brought my umbrella to keep me dry during the walk. What better way to carry an umbrella on a vintage Peugeot than with a leather frame cinch?
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Throughout history, bicycling has had a radical, scofflaw sub-culture. In the early years of the modern safety bicycle, machines were expensive and their use was primarily limited to the affluent. But over time, things changed. Bicycles became less expensive and were eventually available to the working class. When the bicycle was made available to the masses, a culture of scorchers and drags were born. It was this class of crazed speed addicts that gave rise to the adrenaline-fueled, danger-seeking sub-culture that would continue throughout the history of bicycling.
The 1970s saw the birth of klunkers and early mountain bikers. BMX was all the rage in the 80s. Bike messengers ruled the 1980s and early 90s. And let's not forget about the fixed gear resurgence of the last decade. For over a century, the bicycle scene has had an undercurrent whose members were considered frightening lunatics to the more genteel members of society.
When you compare the history of bicycle culture to that of motorcycle culture, the two paths are surprisingly similar. Motorcycling has also had a sub-culture of lawlessness and rebellion. Rockers and tons, motorcycle clubs, and modern street bike racing are not so different from early scorchers, bicycle clubs, and alleycats. And like bicyclists, motorcyclists have been consistently pushed into the margins of society.
At the most basic level, both bicycles and motorcycles are modes of transportation that provide their riders with feelings of freedom and independence. And both have a rich past that is closely tied to counterculture. As a bike commuter and general bicycle geek, I tend to feel a certain camaraderie with motorcyclists. We face many of the same dangers and harassment out on the road. But more and more often I see motorcyclists joining the ranks of those who find it entertaining to harass and maliciously endanger bicyclists. It seems almost ironic, given that motorcyclists have historically been subjected to the same types of persecution by motorists.
Is this really all that surprising, though? The average motorcycle rider in the U.S. has an average age of nearly 50 and, here in southwest Missouri, is almost invariably a white male. Add to this demographic a prevailing culture of machismo and - at times - violence, and the resulting population doesn't exactly have a track record of tolerance and courtesy.
I have no intention of generalizing here. I've certainly gotten plenty of respect - both on and off the bike - from motorcycle riders. But it's so easy for a handful of experiences with rude people to ruin the reputation of the entire group. Preying on more vulnerable road users is certainly grounds for tainting the well. For someone who's on a bicycle everyday, that makes it easy to put motorcycles in the same category as cars: larger vehicles to be regarded with caution and fear, whose operators can be malicious and dangerous. This is completely antithetical to the freewheeling counterculture that has traditionally been associated with motorcycling. On the other hand, bicycling continues to represent the very thesis of counterculture: freedom, individuality, environmentalism, and minimalism. I'm not arguing that the bicycle is some type of modern-day freak flag, but I am certainly arguing that bikes are cool. They always have been. They always will be.