I was talking with Nath the other day about a cycling event he was putting on. He was mostly doing the promo through a particular website frequented by fixed-gear aficionados and other assorted hipster-biking types. His event was to take place at the Brunswick Velodrome, and he didn't expect a great turn-out. "This has been the problem with the website from the start," he said. "Events that involve riding never do all that well, whereas events like the swap meet, which are about making your bike look cool, are always really well attended." It just so happened that I'd been thinking about this issue a lot - mostly when people give me shit about wearing lycra. "That's because they're into bikes, not cycling." I said. And I feel like these days, when bikes themselves are treated as fashion items or objets d'art, it's a distinction that is growing in importance.
Strangely for me, I don't think either one deserves any heirarchical ascendency over the other, just so long as people are clear about where they stand. If you're into bikes, and having a sweet looking bike that is only ever ridden to Atomica and back, that's just dandy. And if you're into cycling and punish yourself on the hills every weekend, well that's great too. Sure, the two can be combined occasionally, but ultimately when it comes to choosing between form and function, then you gotta figure out which side you're on. This doesn't mean, however, that you get to look down your nose at those who have taken the opposite path. You're not any better than them because you smashed Donna Buang in 1'07", or if you have a set of sweet old school Shamals. You're just doing something different. And that's ok.
Hell, maybe it's even possible to go one step further than this. Maybe we should encourage one another. When people are into something, really passionate about it, then we should be stoked for them, right? You know, unless it's heroin.