Sunday, October 14, 2012

Forswearing Normal, epilogue

In his latest post today, Ian Cooper offers this"...there is something to be said for glorifying cyclists. Cycling does have a certain refreshing iconoclasm to it. In the US especially, it represents a kind of new frontier of independence and rugged individualism in a culture that has always secretly despised all those things even as it pretends to be defined by them..." 
Sheldon Brown

In a comment on an earlier version of Forswearing Normal, Jim Rickman, who rides the Los Alamos trail system to work, sez "I switched it up the other day and rode my steel road bike into work while wearing some awesome spandex and a messenger bag to hold all my stuff. It was fun! ...On the way home from work, some guy in a giant Ford truck slowed way down next to me as I stood up to ride a hill and yelled, "Nice ass! I took it as a compliment. Shake it if you got it!"

Eve DeCoursey
I guess those comments, in a nutshell, explain a little of my ruffled feathers regarding the LAB post the other day alluding to a posited dichotomy between cycling and "looking normal". In a nation where "normal" often means conformity (not to mention obesity and poor health), and where conformity uses more energy per capita than virtually any other nation on earth, why should a cyclist want to be seen as anything other than that the iconoclastic, energy-saving, healthier break with the past paradigm? Even without the forementioned political baggage, what's wrong with looking like a cyclist, whatever that means?

Patrick O'Grady, self-portrait
When everyday cycling becomes normal in the U.S., we won't be wondering how to make cycling look normal. It will be what it is: the new normal. Without the straitjacket. The folks pictured here got past false dichotomies. Why shouldn't you?
Gail Ryba
Bruce Rosar
Neil Allen Smith
Jennifer Buntz and Annette Torrez
Jennifer Buntz