Sunday, January 27, 2008
State of the Union
Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman.
On this eve, I will dispense with the traditional, feel-good hooha of the past and cut to the chase. The modern state of two wheeled locomotion is a shambles. Professional cycling is hanging itself with its own belt. The fixed gear fad has failed to elevate itself above the self absorbed materialism we've come to expect from road racers. Online retailers are strangling the viability of the local bike shop. "Comfort bike" has entered our vernacular. And, triathletes are still able to roam the streets in daylight without fear.
These are desperate times for those of us raised on the meat and potatoes of cycling such as Merckx, Coppi, Tomac, Van der Poel, and Danny Clark (I never thought I'd see them all in the same sentence, but there you go.) It seems the hard man ethic of Briek Schotte has been scuttled for the limp wristed wonts of fashionistas, pill poppers, and high-volume scalpers.
As good ol', blue blooded, defenders of cycling's integrity, we owe it to ourselves to eradicate the apathetic lethargy and materialism that we've allowed to become so pervasive within our sport. As many emailers and those "in-the-know" have pointed out, we are at a tipping point. Do we want to blindly meander over the precipice? Or, will we retain some of the individualism and profundity of our culture and survive the 21st century?
For those of you that refuse to give up our virtuous sport to the ignoble without a fight, I propose: COMA. Much like our middle school teachings of yesteryear, COMA is an acronym that holds significant meaning within its innocuous letters. COMA is our salvation.
Commute: Every rider that is worth his weight in Assos clothing is bound to the fact that commuting by bicycle is the single greatest contribution one can offer to mankind. In essence, Commuteliness is next to Godliness.
Obfuscate: Within every cyclist there is a renegade anarchist trying to get out. But, that doesn't mean that we have to always tell the world where to stick their car keys. Stand tall and say little. If our demise isn't the cel phone wielding Hummer driver, it is the petty chatter of gram counters, aero-fascists, fixed gear elitists, and banal roadies.
Mastery: As respectable representatives of our sport, we must perpetually strive to obtain knowledge of it's history, mechanics, disciplines, and heroes. We must also accept that we live in an imperfect world and cycling has its own crosses to bear. Thus, as much as it might pain us, we should also lend at least the slightest of nods to the abominations that our sport has wrought, such as recumbents, comfort bikes, and this. However, we still maintain that triathletes are a mongoloid species that long ago branched off from our sturdy trunk of evolution.
Autonomy: We must set a course and be the masters of our own universe. We shall not be conditioned by shallow promises, haughty fads, nor accept the flagrant disregard of our privileges and rights from motorists, pedestrians, equestrians, developers, and city planners. They cannot stop our steady march of progress.
It is with great hope that our dream of a utopian, two wheeled, self propelled society is realized.