Make no mistake. I fancy this as a Tech Blog. Bicycles are surprisingly high tech, especially these days. Heck, even when I was a kid the owner of the Schwinn bike shop wore a LAB COAT. That was a statement. It meant a PROFESSIONAL was there in support of your bicycle purchase.
I’m turning 60 this year and one thing has almost never changed in my life. Put me on a bicycle and I get positively HAPPY. I love riding a bicycle. Rain, no problem. Wind, no problem. Okay, I lied about the wind one.
I go through periods when I want to read, dream, and think about all things BICYCLE. I just bought a new bike and I’m in that phase again. Got the bike, got some lights, got some pedals and shoes. And it is about the reading and research for me as it is about the stuff. I want TECH stuff. I want to read reviews from users. I want to saturate myself in bicycle culture.
That is until I picked up a Magazine…………
This may be a bit disjointed, but bear with me. I have an iPad. Hmmmm you are thinking. What the hell does that have to do with bicycles?
I have an iPad and I used it daily when I was WORKING. Now that I’m retired I only use it for one thing. As a video screen for my Echelon Spin Bike. Oddly enough that isn’t where I’m going with this.
On that iPad, when I used it daily, I had a subscription to Bicycling Magazine. When I stopped using that iPad daily I forgot all about the subscription. And when I got my new bike I decided to see if the subscription was still active. It was. And I hadn’t seen it for a year or maybe two.
So I sat down in the sun with an adult beverage and started catching up. Let me start by saying this:
Bicycling Magazine went full WOKE. I’m not kidding. It used to be about bike porn. Pictures of sexy bikes and gear that you couldn’t afford. Pros giving tips. Nutrition advice.
Now it full of inclusiveness, and Ads. Mostly ads. And it pretty clearly states that bicycling is a dominant white sport that isn’t inclusive and isn’t diverse. They are also trying to pull in riders that are larger.
Let me start by saying I have no issues with bringing ANYONE into the bicycling fold. Large, small, handicapped, black, white, asian…………….if they get the same charge out of riding a bicycle then by golly they are brothers and sisters in arms. I’ll change your tire for you if I see you with problems and you can have one of my water bottles if you forgot yours. I see a BIKER.
But woke, is woke. Don’t tell me that the sport is not inclusive and diverse and that it is white dominated. Also I am one of those larger riders. I was once 300 lbs. I fought my way down to 180 and I hangout around 190 to 200 depending on how sloth like I get. I know what I am. One particular issue had a picture of a pretty large gal who was a bike rider, and more power to her. But the article clearly said she had no desire to lose weight and by golly “She IS an athlete”. Yeah, and I’m the King of England and Morgan Fairchild is my wife. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
I’ve no beef with the gal and some of her rides do make her “athletic” in my opinion. And she’s perfectly lovely. I have no issues with her appearance. But the magazine is selling a woke concept here. I personally ride to NOT have the heart attack my father had. I want to be fit. I want to lose weight. I want to NOT take medicine. I want to have biking adventures. I would love for every person that was my size to be on a bike and love it as much as I do. I’d love to see group rides of large riders having the time of their life.
The better the shape I’m in the more I can enjoy biking, the further I can go, and THE LONGER I CAN DO IT. She was a young gal. She’ll know what I mean when she’s pushing 60.
And this isn’t the worst of it. Seems that as per the magazine, that bicycling isn’t inclusive enough to the gay and transgender and black and latino community. Every issue has at least 1 to 2 of these articles or concepts and they showcase someone in one of those communities.
I have got to ask, “How is bicycling not inclusive?” Is it against the law for someone in one of those diversity groups to buy a bicycle? Maybe they mean it is a sport financially geared towards “privileged” people. I can’t speak for anyone else but I was once poor. Dirt poor. Dirt. Poor. Dirt fucking poor. While brand new carbon race bikes are expensive as hell I certainly would consider someone who rides a $12,000 bike as having privilege. Privilege they maybe earned through hard work or using their brains, or skilled hands.
But a quick perusal of Facebook Marketplace where I live shows some pretty epic bicycles for $100 or less. People buy bicycles all the time and never ride them and then sell them for pennies on the dollar. So I’m not so sure the argument that only privileged people can afford bicycles holds water.
ChainReaction sells a proper, brand new road bike with great reviews for $400
Consequently the same magazine who tells me “bicycling ain’t inclusive and diverse” also peddles and reviews bikes that cost over $10,000 routinely.
Anyone can get a bicycle. I fail to see how bicycling is not inclusive to all. What would make it inclusive I have to ask? Free bicycles? Being allowed on a race team even if you aren’t fast enough to be competitive?
But I do see how some people love to take any issue and make it WOKE.
Here’s a thought. If you want to ride a bicycle, get a bicycle, hop on and ride. A bike won’t judge you.
But to Bicycling Magazine I say this: Kiss my subscription goodbye. Get woke, go broke.
UPDATE: I received an email that stated that because I am white I can ride places that other races may not be able to without having the police called. Here is my response:
I’m a man. Not a small man either. As I walk down the street (or jog, or bike) and I approach a woman I do everything in my power to be non-threatening to the woman. I’ll cross the street, look away, wave super friendly, whatever. I have no intention of scaring anyone. Recently while riding I found some tools on the ground and could tell what house they belonged to. I went to the door and rang the doorbell. I stood off of the porch maybe 25′ or more away. Then while I was standing way away from the door I held up the tools in my hand showing them why I was there. Why? To appear as non-threatening as possible to someone who has a complete stranger at their door. “Are these yours? I found them on the road.” “Yes, why yes. Thank you”.
Okay, I’m not black and I do understand the comment. I fully understand. But I defer to my paragraph above. If you KNOW you might be perceived as threatening do whatever to appear non-threatening. A bike rider wearing bike riding gear, all sweaty looks like a bike rider to almost everyone. Do you want to bet that I could take one of my beater bikes, put on camouflage pants and a Metallica T shirt and no helmet and ride SLOWLY through a nearby gated community and then can we guess what would happen?
I’m fully aware that what I said can be twisted a couple of dozen ways. Sigh. Give it your best.
And I have to say I have had a policeman roll up to me when I was taking a water break and ask a couple questions about where I came from and stuff like that. Hell the cop could have been a biker and just wanted to see my ride or maybe in the super small town he works in he never saw me before and was just being a cop. Either way, I was respectful and friendly. So was he. I’m confident I could have made the encounter go the other way if I wanted it to.
I won’t pretend the emailer wasn’t on some level correct though but you can better believe if you roll past my house on a bike………you’ll be perceived as a biker having a bike ride.