Rule #5: Harden The Fuck Up
QUOTE: “Every single time I ride my gravel bike past a group of hikers, one of them will ask about my “hybrid” road bike with fat tyres. They ask because they think it’s cool as hell that I can ride a bike from my house to the trail. But “serious” cyclists don’t see the term hybrid that way.
We’ve valorized bikes often favoured by beginners as lesser than. Well, it’s time to put that to bed, and if it takes a $2,600/£2,600 flat bar gravel bike to do that, then that’s fine by me.”
-Some Dumb-shit writer from Cycling Weekly
It’s fucking hard to stand up here and cheer on my favorite “flat bar gravel bike”.
Cough! (HYBRID) Cough Cough!
It’s tough to stand in front of everyone and, behind some mental ideology your gut knows is myth, maligned and marginalized by bad faith, piss-poor politics, and a false prophet, such as 'Grimace'.
My “Flat Bar Gravel Bike” is my best friend and I love her. Sob, sniffle,
Absolutely Sure of my resolve and confident, of my conviction, I delve deeper into insanity every day, insisting that my “Flat Bar Gravel Bike” isn’t a “Hybrid”. …And everyone else just doesn’t understand me.
I think I’ll strap a comfort animal to the bars, and parade that shit around proclaiming adjectival injustice, and pronoun prejudice.
I had this stuffed animal as a kid — A small rabbit with soft fur and a stitched nose. I dragged it around over dirty pews and ledges, into the bathroom, and she lay with fellow dust-bunnies beneath my bunk-bed, never assigned a gender. I never wanted a stuffed bunny, but as easter faded, I thought I really loved her. I wanted comfort, through rough patches, and something to clean, care for, and rub when I felt insecure. She was NOT a doll, but a hybrid solution to bridge the gap between my infantile need for comfort, and restless greed for acceptance, (if by a stuffed friend) -- Down the bumpy road toward adventure. A token, I'd strapped it to my handlebars, as I practiced kick-turns, skids, and wheelies. She was filthy, & comforting, but it was far too late for me to keep her, and keep my peer-group..
“Man…, I’m never going to talk to those guys again.
I’m the one who got Arnold and Dave their jobs in the first place”. -Brad
Today I’m a “grown-up” and I’ve long forgotten when I discarded my faux comfort animal, but she taught me that make-believe works only up to the point when it no longer fits the confines of one’s cliché, and someone beats your ass for having imaginary friends.
Through the end I’m sure that I held tightly to my bunny and resolve that my aim was true, and my faith was sound and well reasoned. And when its not convenient I developed a “fuck them if they can’t understand” monologue which I'd repeated to my self (perhaps to this day), to guard against having ever been mistaken in my convictions. Of course I’m right about my politics, my faith, and my opinion., I’m always right… And Fuck Dennis Taylor
My first bike was as a Schwinn Pixie, the top tube was removable, attached at the seat collar and Headset, for quick conversion to a “Girls Model”.
My gender ambivalent two wheeler — the equal of a non-conforming Bathroom, was dark green, with scars of rust, and a rattly paint-matched chain guard. The solvent applied white decals (complete with pin-stripe star), were near illegible. The stripped seat-bolt was one turn away from the dark path of the vice-grip. When I outgrew the Metal Flake Green pixie, the top tube was withdrawn for my Sister’s to ride. She would be the fifth kid to inherit my gender non-conforming bike. I suppose you could say that resting mid-way between the Feminine pronoun, and a “Boy’s Bike” made this a Hybrid. Someplace in the netherworld — Neither XX nor XY. “But Serious Cyclists don’t see the term ‘Hybrid’, that way” -Dumbass
Your Stuffed Rabbit is exactly that; A stuffed rabbit. If you later see it zip-tied to the grille of the garbage truck, dangling from a trailer hitch, or upon your lap at the dinner table, It's a stuffed rabbit... Should you expect differing reactions, whether hanging like filthy balls from a snowy trailer-hitch?, or from the bar on your first two-wheeler -- Certainly!
..but it’s a stuffed rabbit. Nothing will change the Rabbit's Gender into a Flat Bar Gravel Bike. No magic spell will make Grimace less creepy, and that Kid from school cannot be a TeleTubby.
Scientifically speaking, If I’d prematurely removed the top-tube from my Schwinn Pixie, then it’s gender would not have conformed to my chromosomal skew, and I may be teased, or even beaten. And YOU should also be teased for defending what is clearly a “Hybrid” — This stuffed rabbit you are rolling upon is most certainly NOT a “Flat Bar Gravel Bike”. Yeeesh!
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, that all the ludicrous pandering to pussies for non-conformity — All of our erasure of curbs, and leveling of the hills, will create that Vanilla Pudding Khaki Dockers, banner waving prejudice who’s weight becomes unbearable, who’s trajectory un-sustainable, and who’s damage to mores irreparable. We have curbs in place so the sewerage stays in the street, and the cars off the sidewalk, and we build bridges to connect both sides of the tracks, so commerce, and continuity will persist. Siloing every precious thought-bubble in a padded mauve comforter, will yield one singular failure… The failure to engage.
“What does little ‘XXY’ want for lunch today?” This question alone will eventually cost us trillions in mental health, confusion, suicide, listlessness, productivity, and a flat GDP. Bygone is the day when you ate what was served, and you wore what came in a box from your wealthier cousins, and you experimented with gender rules when you hit HighSchool.
Today, without an inkling of what you may aspire to.., Everyone wants to be a fucking Teletubby.
A mountain Bike has a flat bar and knobby tires for patently obvious reasons.
A road bike has a gorgeous curved bar blending near perfect form, and function, with lithe tires.
A gravel bike is a road cyclist’s opportunity to continue where the sidewalk ends. (see also Cyclocross).
A Schwinn Pixie, works to keep you from getting your ass beat for non-conformity (when that mattered).
A Hybrid Bike is neither a Mountain Bike, nor a Road Bike, nor a Pixie. It is neither good for hills, nor for trails. A Hybrid bike resides in the margins with your incompetent SUV, and a purple non-conformist diabetic monster. A Hybrid generally rests in the garage 11.875 months out of the year with flat tires.
A hybrid bike is the Beige Cotton Dockers, and UnderArmour Polo shirt of the discontented comfort-class.
As a child I asked my parents, and siblings about the only un-identifiable character in the play-lot — A giant purple non-conformist called Grimace. Grimace was introduced in 1971, as a thieving pair of purple monster arms who drank Shakes, and stole Cheese-burgers. Like all "Quazi-Bad-guys”, Grimace needed no gender, even when they/them moved from monster status to cheerful dolt. Grimace became the Hybrid Bike, the Schwinn Pixie of the Play-lot. Grimace was welcoming, non-judgmental, and flat out fat, and Grimace made it OK to not give a fuck about what you looked like, or which side of the gender question you landed. Grimace was my fucking filthy rabbit. A scape-goat. The brunt of every joke. Fodder for fun-poking.
Grimace is your fucking hybrid bike. Neither monster, nor angel -- Neither patron protector, nor nemesis.
Grimace rides poorly up-hill, descends like a fridge, and cannot hold a line in single-track. Grimace laughs at all the wrong jokes, and can neither make up its mind on where to go, nor how to send it, because Grimace’s parents have been doing that for they/them for forever.
Grimace is your fucking Hybrid “Flat Bar Gravel Bike”, and Grimace will eat you one day.
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Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.