When I travel for cyclocross racing outside of Portland, Oregon I encounter a scene far different than the one I call home.
It is always very cool to see what other cities and territories in North America (and beyond) have going on with their cycling culture.
Something amazing to me has been the punk (post-postpunk?) cross over and staying power that cycling has.
Most of the grouchy old punks I know are all about cycling these days. Maybe it is that cycling attracts the introverts, weirdos and geeks.
(sorry, I started writing about the Weather Underground and all the press Ayers is getting post-Obama.)
There was a little discussion on the Cross Crusade forums a week ago about the zanyness at the local cx races.
There was some pretentiousness and college-speak thrown in for good measure. Which, while amusing, is annoying. I never can really tell; when one breaks out into academic language in the course of a conversation taking place entirely in common speak, it the speaker trying to emphasize their intelligence and experience or just lessen that of the other speakers?
I remember reading Society of the Spectacle. I hated reading it but took some points from it. I’m sure I got smarter after I read it, right?
The punks that come out to the races and wear costumes (beyond our already silly lycra costumes) and get crazy and take it much further than just bike racing. Beautiful. Positively amazing.
But the whiplash others face when the point is brought up that: “actually, this really is just a bicycle racing event”. Not the Oregon country fair.
I’m not the most eloquent speaker. But this reminds me of that time here in Portland where a cyclist attacked a car driver and then all the passerbys and other cyclists attack the car driver. it then turns out the cyclist was drunk and was at fault, attacking the driver on his own in the first place, the driver merely defending himself and family.
Hilarious! The mindlessness of the masses! The willingness to jump in line with a cause without thought or research into cause or effect!
The nudity, baby oil, fireworks, and bikini clad marching bands are amazing but, I’m not going to hate on those that choose just to show up and just race their bikes and not provide a show.
It certainly does feel like the antics at the cyclocross races are just becoming attempts to one-up each other. To do the craziest shit that will get the most photos taken and posted up on Flickr and BikePortland.org. Each week there is something I hear about more and more absurd than the last. And I enjoy it but… it would be nice to teach the troublemakers the art of subtlety and humility.
After a while, what was an exciting spectacle becomes a blur of beer and annoying people. You can hide the fact that you don’t ride your bike so much if you are running around half-naked with a flaming unicorn horn up your butt and a loudspeaker in your hand.
I guess I’ve also got to point out my support of the ladies. I get in raging arguments with certain lady friends about: “how fucked up it is that those ladies are out there just hanging out in bikinis, it is just disgusting. That is not cool or feminist at all.”
Well, sorry. Again I disagree. I think it is empowering and pretty cool that there exists an environment at the local cyclocross races where most of the women feel free to get as freaky as they want to be. Yeah, we are not marching on the capital and putting and end to rape or anything. But the women that are out there getting wild should not have to put up with all the hate from the women that are too modest or shy (or just don’t give a shit) to get awesome.
The argument is that the women are just turning themselves in to sex objects for all the dudes to stare at after they are done racing. Well, all the dudes that are going to leer, are going to leer regardless of a g-string or a skinsuit.
Kind of a rant here. Take from it this:
That Weather Underground documentary is really good.
Keep up the spectacle at the cx races but, make it special. Not mundane.
Get as crazy as you want and don’t hate on the people who are not jumping in head first with you.
Oh, I raced my bike in Eugene last Saturday and won!