Pedal Strike

Pedal Strike header image 2

August 10th, 2009

sans scenesters

I’m somehow still in NYC.

And no, it wasn’t the Yankees win against the Sox after 15 innings [although that was a pretty intense game]. And despite all the trash talk that I might be doing that Boston sometimes needs to step it up, it’s not the bike scene that’s keeping me here either.

Because there is none. And that’s sort of why I love NYC.

While Boston might be more conducive to putting miles and miles on my legs, it’s only ironically in NYC – a gigantic city immersed in fashion and style – where it doesn’t matter what my ride looks like. It makes sense, too, because everybody rides a bike. Hybrid, road, mountain, ‘cross, mixte frames, vintage folders, and straight up Dutch bikes from Amsterdam. If it exists, someone rides it in NYC.

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And with millions of cyclists of every shape, size, gender, and stylistic inclination, there’s no one right thing to ride. Not that there ever really is a right thing to ride, but the insecurity and judgment aren’t nearly as blatant. Bike cliques only exist if you want them to, and aerospoke sightings are few and far between.

Which is actually kind of surprising, given the stop and start nature of pure, urban, NYC riding. The first time I rode here, I couldn’t wait to flip my wheel over to the fixed side. I was convinced that city riding = fixed. Of course, I was wrong. Because I’ve never slithered through four lane traffic faster than when I was chasing M1 on his [geared] Cyfac [with full C-Record gruppo!], or descended a hill faster than when I first rode over the Billyburg bridge with M1 on his 40lbs tank of a Dutch bike. Geared or not, in NYC, it’s really not about the bike.

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Maybe that’s why I’m resisting the bus ride home, delaying my stay here for one more day [okay, it also could be that HDTV has been distracting me enough from running all the planned errands for this weekend-turned-almost-week-long jaunt to NYC]. And because it’s not about the bike[s], it’s the friends I’ve made down here, too. Sure, I can’t wait to do a longer ride, be able to roll out of a bed [not a couch] and hop on the rollers, and give my track bike some love. But I’m still sort of bracing myself for the usual questions I get about that bike when I’m in Boston: why don’t you ever ride it? [I do.] Why don’t you like it? [I actually love it.] Why do you only ride it on rollers?

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The irony being that friends in NYC who have never seen the Dolan in person have never asked me these questions. Expressing the guilt that said questions make me feel, then the frustration at just not enjoying riding it on the street, Jared interrupted my self-pity fest:

“Wait…what kind of bike is it?”

“A Dolan. A Dolan Pre Cursa. It’s a track bike,” I responded.

“A track bike? And it’s not meant for the road? REALLY???”

Touche. And that’s why I love NYC.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 teeheehee Aug 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

    The way I see it is that Boston is in bicycle adolescence – everything is struggle, angst, and about making a distinct impression (presumably to impress a potential mate.) Just like high school!

    And, just like HS, all trends and cliches are subject to participation at one’s own discretion, and not all of them are comfortable to be around.

    I’d wager that there are so many bike scenes in NYC that it is difficult to keep track of them all. I even saw a movie based there about a particular bike “club” that specializes in partying and tall-bikes. Definitely not my scene.

    Now, if you saw what I ride you’d know not everyone in Boston is in a position to be judgmental about people’s rides. 🙂

  • 2 teeheehee Aug 15, 2009 at 11:31 am

    And I think that will be the last time I ever try to put an emoticon into a comment… seriously.