Friday, September 23, 2011

Bicycle survivalism


While riding home in the rain from school with a pannier full of books, cat litter (unused) and groceries, in addition to a 12 pack of Miller Lite on my front rack, I realized that the zeitgeist of the beat bike blog is bicycle survivalism. We don't really race all that much and we're only mediocre advocates, but we really enjoy talking about putting our bikes in weird places and carrying weirder things around. Things are scavenged and jury-rigged together, but it's not really DIY in the cool sense (like this, I guess?). It's more functional, but irrationally functional.

While riding, I was trying to consider why we do this. It is generally much more fun to get around by a bike, even if it's in adverse conditions. Yet, carrying heavy loads in freezing rain on icy streets in the dark on your bike is very perverse fun. So, I'm guessing our attitude is something like akin to smugness, but more along the lines are a feeling of superiority of beating society at is own game by developing self-imposed rules to make it more difficult and then claiming that's all possible with reliance status quo. I don't know. What do you think?

6 comments:

DAN said...

It is a self discipline to me, and beating the norm.(rebelling)

Schleppi Longstocking said...

Let me know when you are ready to lug around the used kitty litter.

dario said...

You've got to be kidding right?

Besides the obvious answers involving commuting and physical exercise, you get to see parts of Hartford and surrounding areas, many people ignore. You get out in the great "outdoors" and into the wilds exploring the extra-urban flora and fauna, etc... You get out of doing law school homework and I escape from my professional and domestic obligations; we get to hang out and talk about the philosophy of refuse, bike parts, and the state of the universe with pretty interesting people (well, maybe, y'know what I mean). Best of all, we say "hi" to people on the street and they say "hi" back because even though we're just passing by there is a semblance of human contact with people and the environment that I don't get while driving.

Self-discipline? Rebellion? Smugness? To each his own.

Let's just go ride.

Brendan said...

For a man who loves philosophy, you hate philosophy.

dario said...

I don't hate, B'boy, I just love to love to love is to love to love is to love is to love love is to love...

Tony C said...

I do enjoy the challenge of car free. My response in CT, is a bit more counter culture, but I feel that is a response to the scarcity of a bike / ped culture to belong to. When I was in Urbana, IL I didn't feel or act as much like an outsider or weirdo. There was a sizable bike mode share, and no one even blinked when one showed up on a bike. The rebellious aspect atrophied, but riding was still fun, if not more.

I choose to ride and enjoy it for all the reasons above in Brendan's post and the following comments. I will admit I'm sometimes smug. Other times, I'm saving a buck or absorbing a sunset. Saying hello to passersby and stopping to snack on autumn olives.

It's all good.