The Pettit~Files. Enough is enough, can’t we just ride bikes.
Enough is enough. May we call a truce on the words used to describe rides, adventures, miss haps , road rides, all mountain rides, enduro rides, cross-country rides, fat bike, gravel rides, self-supported rides. We are dividing ourselves by verbiage, already a narrow group against the motored crowd we are becoming our own worst enemy.
Fat, skinny, hairy legged, shaved legged, shaved head, fuzzy head and a beard, as far as I’m aware, we still have two legs, feet and arms. 5 milers-5,000 milers, we all forget we ride things with two wheels and some kind of driving force that we push to move it, that’s a bicycle. The simple, glorious thing about a bicycle is its innate ability to inspire and give adventure, vast vistas, new friends, loves, passion and empathy. The different the bike, the different the endeavor, but the soul of the effort is the same as the LA fixie hipster, to the brah downhiller and the 140 pound cross country cat.
We look at gladiators of decades ago in woolen kits, wrapped in spare tires and the efforts across their face, hard men we still connect to for reasons we don’t know, but reasons that have brought us together. We didn’t call them roadies, fixies, no; we call them by their names and names others gave them, that are alive and vibrant to the lore that they are. They weren’t ever categorized as a being in a group, but by establishing this same group we honor today. There is so much terminology now that surrounds what a bunch of rebels cascaded down a mountain in California, escaping crowds, seeking adventures, and getting the hell away from problems both they created and those they live with. Men who started multi-million dollar companies off of one ride, we burn at the cross when they step outside a line we created, instead of praising their endeavor nearly 40 years ago. We all fuck up, we all sometimes continue to make mistakes, and we’re human and cyclist.
The funny thing about legends is usually no one sets out to become one are a part of one. They followed a path, single in its width, and a couple of friends who ventured out where the sidewalk ended. At our current peak of technology, words are being created that diehards don’t understand, what happened to just being a cyclist? What is wrong with the pure form of wanting to feel better about ourselves, become fitter in mind and body, and see sights that take effort to see and appreciate.
I started riding bikes that costs 10’s of dollars and like my age they have since gone up, but I get the same feeling as riding down that gravel road I grew up on aboard bikes that used non bike parts to get down the road. Take your bicycle up mountains, down mountains, across mountains. Take your bicycle over roads, chip seal, gravel, and potholes. Take your bicycle to school, around the block, down to the tavern. Just go downhill if you want, just ride it flat if you want. The important thing is the damn machine makes you happy, no matter the discipline, you’re a cyclist. We need to stick together, because if we lost one, we lose part of that oddness that sets us apart, an appendage we need.
We will always be individuals in this sport we love, it alone sets us apart. While our passions may differ, our heart is the same, the stronger the grouping the louder the beat, and while I usually spend the majority of my time and rides alone, I’ve never lost the first home and group I’ve known. I’m proud to call myself a cyclist and belong to this sect of odd folks. Let’s take it easy on the menagerie of names and just ride our damn bikes.