Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Keep It Real

You wanna get to heaven? Mail me a $100. Or better yet use my Paypal account, cause most of my mail is junk and I rarely open any of it. Just don't fuck with Michael Dean Damron. Cause that dude is the real deal and something tells me he doesn't take well to being messed with.

Talk about the "real deal", I'm hoping soon to catch a new flick called Veer, a documentary about the growing urban cycling culture in the United States. There's a little piece of that culture festering here in the 616. Like the Tuesday night group rides at the brewery. And the Wednesday night road racing out at Gratten Raceway. And there's the over active local chapter of the MMBA, which just hosted Midwest Mountain Bike Summit. But there's also a lot of hipster kids getting into the swing of things. There's a weekly fixie night ride downtown, and they've found the Youtube and figured out how to sell T-Shirts online.

It's hard to tell how much of the "new" cycling culture is here to stay. I've seen a lot of trends come and go. Trends can vanish overnight. Skinny jeans and American Apparel Ts will disappear one day soon. But it's unlikely that it'll take the rest of our cycling culture with it. The folks who dedicate their time and energy into fighting the Horse Menace have already shown that they're in it for the long haul. Some of them have been fighting the good fight since the 1980s. Something also tells me that the commuter guy who rides down my street every morning at 7 am and every evening at 6 pm isn't riding his bike to work for the style props.

Like Michael Dean Damron belting out wicked tunes, there are those that will forge on for the love the bike. They ride because they have to. It becomes who they are. It keeps them sane. At the same time the trendy bits of cycling culture can't totally be written off. While a lot of those fixie kids will probably finish school and put away their track bikes in favor of conformity and suburban sunrises, some of them will get hooked. Like a punk in a high school garage band they won't be able to let it go.

On top of that there's the reality that can't' be ignored. The dominance of the car culture is on the wane. Peak oil, global warming and a seriously screwed up global economy may have finally turned the tide. Change will still come slowly. But it feels almost inevitable that car culture, once driven by the dominance of General Motors, will never been what it once was. Public transport and human powered transportation will fill in the gaps. The flavor and feel of cycling culture 20 or 50 years from now is anybody's guess. But when we finally get there I hope people look back fondly on these times, when cycling was small, fun and still something of a counter culture.

Until then, keep it real and don't forget where you come from.

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