Friday, January 24, 2014

greys and bikes: tiring of the youth culture

A week from Sunday I will turn 51.

I spent twenty years working in an industry where youth predominated. All the advertising showed pictures of young bicyclists, some heavily tattooed and/or pierced, most ridin fixies or singlespeeds, all exhibiting the vigor and rebelliousness of being twentysomething with disposable income.
Almost none of the advertising wholesalers and manufacturers would send to our shop showed anyone with grey hair or wrinkles.

Velo Cult, still my favorite bike shop in Portland, featured its second season of gold sprints last night. Two racers on fixed gear bikes strapped to stationary stands and hooked up to computers to measure "laps" ridden within a time limit. Gold Sprints are hilarious and fun. And they're mostly populated by bike enthusiasts well under 40.
could've gone, but instead went home after work.
In looking over the pickings at the shift calendar, I note that most of the offerings of rides and bike social events are orchestrated by -- once again -- people decidedly under age forty.

I realized this morning that I am over it.
I am over the youthful bent that the public face of bicycling espouses. I am over the youthful emphases on speed, style and affluence that are all fairly shouted from the rooftops in this hipster image of bicycling as the new Urban Chic.

Urban Chic doesn't seem to include riders my age -- riders with grey hair and wrinkles and varicose veins, riders who are entering menopause and whose joints are so creaky they pop audibly on the coldest days, riders who love to ride but are doing it on the Schwinns and Raleighs they've had since college and which still work fine, thank you.

I think I will have to be among those who help to grow a new bicycling culture, one that is far more welcoming to, and indicative of, the greying of our society. No Gold Sprints for this gal; when the weather warms up you'll find me puttering along happily on the Springwater Corridor, looking for Nutria among the banks of Johnson Creek and Meadowlarks out in Gresham, all at an average speed of about ten miles an hour and on a old mountain bike that works just fine, thank you.
And maybe I'll resurct Slug Velo and turn it into a 50-and-over club. We'll see.

Happy riding.

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