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.