On Saturday night, the staff here at Heavy Metal Monday engaged in partying with Sean the Man and sometimes contributor of this blog, Cam Mckenzie, of "if you don't like The Bronx, you won't like crits" fame.*
In what was perhaps a continuation of the style wars sparked on this very blog last week (written while we here at HMM were in fact half cut) various fines were handed out to gentlemen wearing v-knecks. I'd like to say it's because we were doing our civic duty, but really it's because we weren't allowed into Billboards for being too old and were, thus, pissed off.
Still, the time passed, with Hurley talking in a high pitched voice about anything that came to mind, and Cam telling everyone how sick it would be to grind a particular urban feature. Other than confirming that cyclists, as a bunch of people, tend to really like partying, not much else was learnt. Other than the slightly sordid lesson that, when Ollie Phillips says we're going to Southbank, we're actually going to Crown. Lesson learned.
Gin influenced actions aside, I very much enjoyed getting to know Cam a bit better, and a night spent with Hurley is never a disappointment.
As is often the case with these kind of alcohol inspired moments, all this got me thinking. Heaven knows there are enough misguided rants about 'community' on this blog, coming from both Brendan, and myself, but I feel the need to touch on it again, albeit briefly.
As stated above, I ushered in Sunday with a bunch of road racing mates, swapping funny crit stories, three day tour myths, and venting about certain personalities of the bunch (none of them seem to be offended that I am a total hack and thus have no right to make these rants). Sunday evening I went to a birthday dinner with some of my, for want of a better term, punk mates. It was all vegan food, track bikes in the hall with very low gear inches (though I spied a few beardo-in-training bikes) and general shit talking.
Even though these people are all very different, they all like bicycles in some guise or another, and i met them all through bicycles. By the same token, I feel as if I have gotten to know all these different people much better this year, to the point where I don't reckon I would need a bike involved for me to feel comfortable around these people.
This is not a 'we are cyclists, we are one' critical mass-esque rant. I'm not interested in cycling as one community, because it isn't, and never will be. In the same way that 'motorists' make up no distinctive community, so too with cyclists. The guy in the Honda Civic has no interest in sinking beers with the guy who is dropping the clutch of his Skyline. Or, at least if he does, he shouldn't. In cycling we have beardos and roadies, hipsters and triathletes, commuters and recumbent nerds. These labels simultaneously mean nothing and everything. On the one hand we are all just people, regardless of the bicycles we ride, on the other what we do choose to ride, tells us a lot about yourself.
So I'm not interested in cycling as some sort of bloated 'community'. What I am interested in is meeting people as a result of riding bikes. Bikes are a tool. Whether they are a tool to race, to commute, or something with which to meet like minded people is irrelevant. What's important is to swing the leg over, and see what happens.
Now I can have a quiet dinner mates I have met through fixies. Or I can go to Crown with my road bike mates (though I probably won't go to Crown again unless Ollie Phillips guarantees we go back to Fusion).
In classic Heavy Metal Monday fashion, none of this is ground breaking stuff. I've sat here for an hour and a half, desperately willing the words to come, with little luck (plz see above). Still, it's kinda comforting to know this all came about due to a silly obsession with bikes.
With all this in mind, and a sense of wellbeing restored in the bike 'community', stay tuned next week for the next instalment of the style wars, wherein Heavy Metal Monday will address some other cycling sub category, and make fun of the cloths they wear, thereby hopefully removing any trace of this god awful attempt at emotive realism.
*Why not Hotsnakes Cam? "Because I don't like 2002 pitchfork music.". Touche.