Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Don't Forget the Struggle, Don't Forget the Streets


"Raybeez" Barbieri was the frontman for Warzone, a NYC punk band that formed in 1982 and played some pretty raucous tooth chippin' thrash. He was something of an icon for me in my impressionable youth. He wrote "Don't Forget the Struggle, Don't Forget the Streets" about the commercialization of hardcore music. Raybies died of pneumonia at the age of 35 in a VA hospital in NYC. He's the one hanging upside down.

Sometimes, I'm digusted with the human race. I abhor the hopelessly bland look-a-like developments in the suburbs. I despise the pervasive drive to convert every sliver of prairie into a fucking industrial park. And, I hate all the traffic congestion that goes with it .

I've been riding the same routes since 1991. I have five that I ride pretty regularly and change them up on different days to accommodate traffic patterns and boredom of the same old shit. As the years pass, these routes are slowly being suffocated by over development, poor urban planning, and addiction to the automobile. The days of riding two abreast amongst lighter, friendlier traffic are over. Riding in the western suburbs of Chicago has become a battle, or "war" in the contemporary, testosterone fueled, us versus them, lingo.

Drivers are becoming frustrated and lashing out with more regularity at riders, who are deemed an impediment to forward progress. They swerve, honk incessantly, pass closely, yell obscenities (usually some variation of "fag"), and pull a whole lot of other douche bag shit. I'm not much of a fighter, so I usually ignore them or laugh. You've got to have pretty thick skin to ride amongst the mongoloids. Otherwise, you invite confrontations that you will almost always lose.

Regardless, after sixteen years of riding routes that have shaped the bulk of my cycling life I'm not ready to give them up in pursuit of some maze-like, traffic dodging, stop sign fest that the automobilists would like to banish us to. Hell no. I'm gonna stand my ground. I won't forget the struggle and I won't forget the streets. I won't forget my roots. I won't sell out. Raybeez would've done the same. RIP.

5 comments:

Ari said...

uuruI am interested in how this is going to develop. As we spoke this morning that it is almost better to ride in the city than in the suburbs. I will continue to ride wherever I want and giving my road up to some fat guy in an suv is out of the question. I hope this post stirs up some thoughts and good comments as to how us roadies can handle this problem. Our government is working to make more trails so cyclists can pedal safely. I will not ride my merckx on a trail. So something has to happen. We have already given up some routes because they are just murderous and attempting them is a guarantee of getting tagged.
Let's get to work on this one.
Ari

gwadzilla said...

I would sell out in a second

where do I sign?

okay... maybe not
but at this point money is just hypothetical
so I can always take the high moral ground

gwadzilla said...

oh
I loved the film American Hardcore

I felt it really captured the energy

maybe not a historical document
maybe a limited perspective

but a wonderful telling of a story
and
a great delivery of the energy

Strangelife said...

gwadzilla- selling out costs nothing...but your SOULLLLLLL! (cue echo chamber effect)
American Hardcore was the shit. Limited perspective? Yes, but so were us idealistic punks.

Ari- check urbancyclist.org (link on the ol' links section). They've posted an online magazine. Some good reading for the angst ridden rider with ideas and heart.

Strangelife said...

Also
Gwadzilla- interesting blog. Subarashi, even. Thanks for reading.