Friday, December 14, 2007

Are American bike commuters big wussies?

Interesting article from pinchflatnews

It's a question that finally has to be asked, since our friends in Copenhagen have been insinuating it for some time now.

We gather that in Denmark bike snobbery is sort of the mirror opposite of American bike snobbery. Fine bikes are looked down on as extravagant and unnecessary. Chainguards are celebrated with open admiration. Lycra and spandex are strictly reserved for Cirque du Soleil. Fixies are pretentious, unnecessary, dangerous, and an affront to the social order. And helmets are for the dim-witted and softheaded.

Yes, it's probably true that Americans are too concerned about our gear. Being a culture of conspicuous consumerism, it is our general MO to find the best tool for the job, buy it, and then occasionally use it the wrong way, and more than likely replace it as soon as a better and shinier one is dangled in front of our noses.

This is not something to be particularly proud of, but there it is.

My personal philosophy is ride whatever and however you like. Whatever bakes your brownie, as they say. I should buy a boatload of cheap, crappy Danish-tailored suits that I can ride in to work, so that when the ass is blown out of them after the first week, I can throw on a new one.

And the day they invent a chainguard that doesn't rattle until my fillings fall out of my head, hey, sign me up.

But lookit: nothing will ever get between me and my top-secret cycling-specific underpants -- not you, not my wife, and certainly not a self-righteous and oversexed Danish bike commuter.


Stargazer said...

bike snobbery?

Bello Velo said...

Maybe but here if you commute it is because you can't afford a car and that is looked down on in the states.
In Europe you can't afford a car or the gas but it is not looked down on.

chamoisqueen said...

top secret? maxi pad or depends
or maybe NASA diaper?

Tyler said...

yeah this article is good and all but what the fuck are talking about calling fixed gears petentious no gears, derailers, brakes, cables, fancy free spining hubs. They make great commuting bikes as well....yeah I might be pretentious if i sported around on $5000 carbon fiber track bike where my customed tailored suit and my hand made italian dress shoes.....but come one give me a fucking break

Bello Velo said...

I think the point is that you have these choices; fixed,carbon etc...
To them it is just a bike that gets them back and forth.

I too am guilty I have a carbon bike and some really nice Italian shoes. I can wake up and choose a bike to ride.

I think we could all learn a bit from places that really commute; China, Belgium, Italy, Portland OR.
Otherwise we will just spend our time renaming french fries to freedom fries.

BTW: my Italian shoes have lasted me for 6 years and will probably last another 10. Oh and they are really comfortable;)

Bello Velo said...

Another thing they all don't seem to be wearing helmets either. I wonder what the real stats are for that. Could this be another money making scheme from the helmet companies?

Tyler said...

wasn't trying to talk shit about your carbon bike it's great for long high paced rides I am sure.....but don't think about riding it to work or I will have to talk some major shit..and as far as the italian shoes wouldn't mind having a pair my self I would only wear them when I drove my Hummer !!!!!

Bello Velo said...

mama mia!!

Bill said...

"... a chainguard that doesn't rattle until my fillings fall out of my head."

It's here! Check out the Hebie Chainglider. Not compatible with a derailleur, but there are an increasing number of good geared hubs. Not sure there are any retailers in the US, but some European bike parts Web merchants will export.

I've been using one on a tout-terrain Silkroad with a Rohloff Speedhub and am delighted. My regular commute is too long and hilly for "regular clothes" to be really practical, but I've ridden several times with good business trousers, no pants clips, and have yet to see any ill effects.