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R.I.P. Bike Fag: April 2009 – April 2011

August 15, 2012

Goodnight, Sweet Alternative Cycling Prince

This blog is dead, reader.

Click here to follow along with my non-ironic, non-alternative-cycling writing.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Over the two years that I wrote this blog and since, I’ve met and ridden with some of the finest men and women I’ve ever come across on this metal Hell-beast-infested globe.

I hope to meet many more of you. And I hope to get another chance to use what the Bike Gods gave me to get closer to you (in ur heart, pervz).

Until then, enjoy a selection of my “greatest hits” posted below.

Signing off,

The Bike Fag

Hipster Road Biking

Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?

The Black Cloud

Sheldon Deeny: From Pro Cyclist to Dishwasher

Is THIS the Pinnacle of Cycling?

What Will Be the Next Fixed Gear?     (I ended up just putting a coaster brake wheel on the Purple Bike)

Trite Cyclist Sayings

January 22, 2012

“The Pain Cave.” “Burned all his matches.” “The rubber band snapped.”

Some of the best (and worst) phrases in sport have been worn out, ground down, and bleached of all color by overuse. And it saddens me.

You hear these phrases everywhere – in blogs, on Facebook, from the mouths of announcers.

And fair enough. Some of these people are professionals(or wannabes) who are frequently called upon to comment. It’s not surprising that they rely on familiar turns of phrase to describe what happened.

But members of the media, announcers, and fans need to put these phrases out to pasture after they stop secreting deliciously fresh, warm mind milk.

When a clever, expressive phrase becomes overused into a boring simulacra that just takes over for the original meaning rather than connect two unfamiliar neurons, it is time to go back to the drawing board.

“It was pissing rain all race. Racer Y attacked and went deep into the pain cave, but burned all his matches in the end and was caught by racer X. Racer X pipped Racer Y at the line. With this race in the books, Racer X said, “I’m so happy. My team was great. I want to thank my sponsors.”

“The pain cave”

We were all so far and so deep in “the pain cave” that one time at that one race ten years ago. Then we were in “the pain cave” again – at some other race.

According to the race announcers, we (Dave Towle voice) “could fill out a change of address form” because “the pain cave” was our “new permanent residence” another time.

We went to “the pain cave” again. And again. We kept going.

But the chilling darkness of the cave lost its entrancing hold after time. What was once a deep, cold cranny of granite-walled loneliness far below the Earth’s surface took on the chintzy feel of the set of an elementary school play with grey paint, foam padding, and cardboard clearly visible around the edges.

What once described the interminable ache of Sisyphus pushing his ball up his hill has now become a way of describing any time our heart rates went above 150bpm for more than five minutes.

Do you smell something stale coming from “the pain cave?”

Ah, my mistake. That’s just the smell of mold growing on our imaginations.

“In the Books”

No one can even remember how to say that they “completed a race.”  They only seems capable of thinking of a completed race as being “in the books.”

(e.g. “the Colorado State Cat. 4 Criterium Championships is in the books. I got 14th. It was the culmination of a season fraught with bad luck. It all started back in January whan…”)

Why not “in the blogs?!”

“Pissing rain”

It no longer simply “rains” on a cyclist. Anything, the slightest drizzle, is now “pissing rain.”

I really think that cyclists forgot what pissing is and what a stream of urine looks like, and what the implication of rain “pissing” down from some sort of heavenly fallus is – as opposed to simply “raining.” I seriously think that some cyclists now believe that “pissing rain” is what you say is happening when liquid precipitation is ocurring. You hear it all the time here in Portland, but it’s almost always inaccurate. Though it rains practically every day this time of year, it very rarely rains hard.

Maybe Portlanders need to start saying it was “sweating rain,” it was “secreting rain.” Or say simply that it was raining.

I know those phrases don’t sound as bad-ass. But strangling all originality and expression out of a trite phrase by tweeting or blogging about how it was “pissing rain” on you doesn’t sound that bad-ass either.

“Winner winner chicken dinner”

“Winner. Winner. Chicken. Dinner?”

Seriously, dudes. Back to the drawing board.

“Burning all our matches”

“Burning all our matches” is a phrase that I found delightfully clever when I first heard it – years ago (and I’m a latecomer).

Then I heard it again. And again. I realized it was likely not invented by our local race announcer, nor by my collegiate cycling teammate.

We remember the brilliant fire this phrase once lit within us. But like that last match that you’ve scratched over and over against the only rock you can find until that ball of flammable red stuff turned into tiny corners of red that could never possibly spark that stick alight – you know it will never spark the same flame. But it’s your last match, and maybe you can’t think of any other way.

This phrase burned like a bright light of wonder for a very short time long ago. But it has “burned all its matches” as a meaningful, innovative metaphor.

It’s time to “get some new matches,” cyclists. Or a flint. Or a laser.

“Shot all his lasers.” “Used all his propane.” “Shot off all her dynamite.” “Used all his food stamps.” “Burned all his firewood.” “Ran out of coal.” “Ran the tugboat ashore.” “tapped the keg.” “cached the bowl.” “Exhausted his glycogen stores.”

Surely there are other options!!!!!!!!!!!

Please comment with additional trite sayings or innovative solutions!

Bikefag PDX: Finding Confidence in my Milieu!

August 25, 2011

Hello reader(s?).  If you’ve been keeping up on this blog (I’m not making it too hard on you these days), you’ll remember that I moved to Portland, was challenged by my milieu, and weathered the icy storm of a Great Alternative Cycling Self-Worth Crisis.

I’ve essentially left the blog for dead – yet the vultures of the internet keep feasting on the corpse.

Evidently enough people are Google Image searching "ironic skinsuit" to keep my hits steady forever?

Well I’m happy to say that I’m back!*

*This statement is not necessarily intended to suggest increased future content on “Bike Fag”

After 4.5 months, I’m comfortable in my “melieu.”  Or about as comfortable as a self-conscious, perpetually-dissatisfied,  internet nerd gets..

A lot has happened here.  Let me hit the main points:

-I raced a bunch of races and found the local racers very friendly and welcoming of my zany racewear.

-I moved no closer to a category three upgrade in road racing – finding Oregon’s lower categories no easier than Colorado’s.  Then because of work, I stopped racing on the weekends altogether.  Oh well, there’s always ‘cross season..

-Through racing, I met a guy who hooked me up with a job riding a bicycle coffee cart to the farmers market to sell CO2-neutral, women-empowering, pour-over coffee.

Bravo, the Bike Gods! What a great job!

-I succumbed to anti-fixed-gear peer pressure (unfortunately the fixed gear really IS dead now) and have hidden my Purple Bike in the basement until I can get the money together to update to a “porteur conversion.”

-I broke my pedals and rode with toe clips on my road bike for a surprisingly long period that only ended yesterday.

-I got a coffee shop job and now work more than I’d like.

-I met a bunch of awesome people who are exactly the kind of people I was looking for.

-I still didn’t meet my alternative cycling dream girl, but I remain hopeful.

-My editors at the Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times started saying yes to everything I pitched to them.  Then I talked to a few other editors and they said yes to my ideas also.  So now I have to devote most of my writing time to the people who pay me.  I guess now I’m a “freelance writer” but most of the time I make coffee.  And the dream of getting an actual paying job involving writing and bicycles seems more possible than ever.

I don’t know what else to say.  Moving to Portland worked out just fine.  I should have done it years ago, so I could be working at a cooler coffee shop by now.

This blog has suffered, but that would have happened no matter what I did.

Now let’s put this “moving to Portland” issue to bed and get back to some normal blogging.

Or maybe not.

Maybe I’ll start a new blog.

Maybe I’ll let this one sit with some sort of “so sorry, will post again soon” thing and never actually post.

No matter what, I can assure you that the Bike Gods have been working in my life and pulling me toward something.  I’ll see ya when I see ya, readers.

P.S. I know this is an uninspiring blog post and it ain’t like the good old days of 2009 anymore, but I’d like to thank the people who inspired me to continue posting through this tricky blogular transitional period:

Corey “Cornbread” Godfrey

The guy from Looking Good In Pants

Oliver Miller of Slab Magazine

All of you anonymous “hits” out there sitting in front of a computer screen.  I’ve met a few of you now, and you guys are some bright-ass stars in the Bike Gods’ Vast Universe.

The Bikefag’s Great Alternative Cycling Self Worth Reevaluation Crisis!

May 31, 2011

The biggest pond of American cycling has apparently proven too challenging a milieu for the fag to keep confidence in his routine. – The dude from Looking Good in Pants, explaining that he was removing my link.

My first thought was: “Fuck that guy! I’ve been busting my ass trying to find a job in a city with 10% unemployment , populated by a bunch of assholes with the exact same skills as me! (which I did)  And when I wasn’t looking for a job, I was writing for three publications, racing bikes, trying to negotiate my way through a racing scene where I didn’t know anyone, and checking out a brand new city that I vacillate between loving and hating on an hourly basis!  Have you ever moved before?!  Fuck you!”

My second thought was: “And what the fuck is a ‘milieu,’ anyway?!”

Finally, though, I admitted that he was right.  And that my new milieu (apparently it means one’s social environment) in Portland is indeed challenging.

Whether or not it’s “the biggest pond of American cycling,” Portland is undoubtedly a “big pond” compared to Fort Collins, CO.  And a much different social environment.  Isn’t that why I moved here to begin with?

Yes.  And there are some big, beautiful fish in this big’ ol pond.  That’s a good thing, right?

Yes and no.

For an egomaniac “alternative cyclist” like myself, not standing out in a crowd is challenging.

Spot the "ironic" one (I think this is actually Seattle, btw)

Being the new guy in “the scene” is difficult.

I’ve had to reevaluate my importance in the world of alternative cycling.

But I’m coming to understand that many of the people here are  transplants who, like me, came here from somewhere else, and probably underwent their own periods of uncertainty concerning their places in alternative cycling society (though I doubt they ever quite put it in those terms…).

“Am I cool enough for Team Ironclad?”

TBD, doggs (I actually already have a team).

Whether or not my “milieu” is “too challenging,” I’m gonna probably be laying back and peeping the scene for a minute.

Somebody by the name of “OliverMiller” commented a few months back: “I just have to wonder what this is gonna do to your writing, how this will warp your perception; snarkiness, I suspect, may well fall to the wayside.”

The guy was totally right.  Snarkiness takes confidence.  And now that I’m here, I’m a lot more worried about kissing ass and getting in with the right people than talking shit.

Things are changing fast.  And my own voice isn’t ringing quite as loud or true as it has in the past.  But I’ll settle in real nice, and have plenty of shit to make fun of in no time!

I do truly have a lot to learn from the people of Portland.  And I’m confident that my alternative cycling self worth will be positively appraised in short order.

Plus, it’s not like I’ve really been updating this blog very frequently this past year anyway.

Spandex’d bike fag/grindcore nerd looking for room (South MPLS)

April 15, 2011

You can’t make this shit up.  Here’s an extremely flattering Craigslist post from Minneapolis (the Portland of the North):

Spandex’d bike fag/grindcore nerd looking for room (South MPLS)And if you’re in Minneapolis and have a room available, give this man a room!

Bikefag PDX: What the Fuck Was I Thinking?!

April 15, 2011

Commuting by car in Portland, OR!

One of the hassles associated with moving across the country is  the inevitable: “what the fuck was I thinking?!” stage.  And I gotta lay it on you straight, readers: I’m there.

What the fuck was I thinking?  It rains all the time.  I have no friends (not true).  I’m unemployed.  And I’ve got a serious alternative cyclist inferiority complex:

Gentle Lovers Steven Beardsley and Tony Kic. Photo stolen from Cycling Lens

I make it out to be pretty grave, though, readers.

So leave your cares behind.  Come with me and find.  The pleasures of a journey to the center of the alternative cyclist’s mind.

It all started in Fort Collins back on March 31st when Dad and I loaded up the Subaru and I hit the road.

"Thumbs up for the camera, son"

I only made it to Boulder that day, but the next day I drove into a terrifyingly strong headwind, uphill, over the Continental Divide, to mountain bike mecca Fruita.  I’d met a guy about a week earlier by the name of Cale Wenthur.  Cale’s a real kindred spirit – sort of like a financially-stable version of me.  We’re both about 5’8″/130.  Both 29 years old.  And we’re both moving across the country.  We’re both mountain mountain bikers, although Cale is about the most Euro mountain biker I’ve ever met.

Shaved legs and white Sidis special-ordered from Europe, yet he's never raced a road race..

Cale started one of the raddest-kitted teams in history – Team Pegasus out of Milwaukee – and now he’s leaving it all behind to drive a van (you should really check out his van) across the country to San Diego.  He’ll probably be experiencing a strong sense of “what the fuck was I thinking?” soon, but more power to him.

Anyway, Cale and I rode Fruita’s incredible trails for two days, guided by Aspen Street Coffee owner Tommy.  Tommy is an absolute shredder on the technical stuff.  He’s been doing it for years.  And he rides exclusively on flat pedals, wearing Vans slip-ons (former BMXer).  I was very lucky to have such a radical guide (wish I’d have taken a picture).

Here are some photos that I stole from Cale:

Oh there's Tommy in the middle

Fruita easily lives up to the hype.  And I definitely wish I could beam there at least once a week to get sunburned and have screaming bike-gasms on their incredible trails.

I drove through Salt Lake City and Boise (and enjoyed both more than I thought I would) on my way to my to my next shredding destination: Bend, OR.

Bend was a little more “northwestern” feeling, despite it being called “high desert” (sort of laughable to a Coloradoan when it’s only 3,500 ft. high and raining..).

I’ll have to revisit Bend during the summer, as I couldn’t see any of the scenery and it was just sort of wet.  But they had a great coffee shop called Thump, a great friend of mine named Erin, and a great shredder from Fort Collins named Todd Chance:

The really good trails in Bend were still snowed-in, but Todd and I managed to catch a window of decent weather and some dry trails on Horse Ridge.  It was sort of mediocre mountain biking – a bunch of sandy volcano dirt that sort of makes noise as you ride on it, interspersed with jagged black rocks.  But the downhill made up for everything – straight down the fall-line along a little ravine where you can go as fast as you have the balls for.  I wanted to ride another lap immediately afterward!

Todd and I were both brand new to Oregon, so still repping Fort Collins.

I was forced to leave my cocoon of Fort Collins friend comfort and head into the big bad world of Portland the next day, where I pulled into town at 5pm, then raced the cat. 3/4 PIR Circuit Race at 6:30.

There’s nothing like racing a bike to make everything else in the world – financial worries, feelings of loneliness, bad weather, and really anything else – disappear for a little while.

And the Portland bike racing scene is really good.

I managed to race three times in the first week: PIR that first night; a 56-mile road race on a beautiful, rolling loop outside Corvallis   on Saturday; and a hilarious mud-fest mountain bike race on Sunday.  Here’s what I looked like afterward:

I have a lot to say about my:

First impressions of the Oregon bike racing scene.  

First, the weather fucking sucks.  I’ve barely ridden other than the races I’ve done because it’s rained every day other than one (I guess this stops at some point?).  I knew going into this that the weather would suck, but I guess I still didn’t think it was real – like I could somehow bargain with the rain once I got here.  Well, it’s real.  However my first rainy road ride the other day was pretty fun.  You feel like a badass riding in the rain.  And most of the time the rain is passing and it’s sunny for 20 minutes, then cloudy for 20 minutes, then lightly raining for 20 minutes, etc.  Once I get the gear and get used to it, I might just grow to love it.

Second, there are so many people that got into cycling from some sort of fixed-gear or skateboarding background.  Cycling is definitely not the mostly-squares-from-the-suburbs sport that it is in Colorado.  Also, the racers in Oregon mostly live in Portland, unline in Colorado where they mostly live in Boulder or other smaller/more suburban places (again, this is a first impression here, confirmed a little bit by looking at OBRA results).  I’ve gotta tell you, doggs: it’s quite comforting to go to PIR and see a bunch of dudes with ironic mustaches racing in the pro/1/2 race.  I mean there’s no way to really get at this without sounding really lame, but there is no doubt about it: the bike racers in Oregon are on average significantly cooler than the bike racers in Colorado.  Sorry, CO…

Another thing is that the bike racers are more friendly here in Oregon.  The way you say hi to somebody in a cat. 4 road race in Colorado is by glaring at them.  But during my first road race last weekend, several people sidled up next to me in the peloton and introduced themselves. It was totally weird, and clearly a common-enough practice.  I really liked it.  Out of about 100 roadies, there was only one jackass repeatedly yelling at everyone to “pull through!”

The mountain bike scene looked equally rad.  The race on Saturday was long and hard (like your dad), and I only went to Sunday’s race because I’m trying to court a team called Trusty Switchblade.  They have really awesome team kits, and they’re sponsored by a really awesome shop, 21st Avenue Bicycles – a shop with a really awesome mechanic Amanda who has an awesome Production Company/blog called Backyard Blam.  I definitely want a piece of this action (the shop, not the mechanic, pervz).

But I’m really glad I raced.  The course would have been fairly wack, but the rain made the whole thing very entertaining and hilarious  – especially for me with no skills in the mud, and some large-volume, low-tread-profile tires that acted as gigantic mud-pontoons.  After half a lap, I understood why so many people were riding either thin-ass mud tires or cyclocross tires on their 29ers.  I was riding plenty strong on the opening climb and start lap, settling into second place and opening up a little gap on the guys behind me.  Then I crashed dramatically on a downhill mud chute and had to spend two minutes getting my front brake to function again.  I thought of dropping out, but continued along, passing single-speeder after single-speeder.  I improved dramatically at riding on slick northwest mud after two laps, and settled into a good groove of slowly cornering and running down the mud chutes.  I found out I finished 8th out of 25, so I registered in the next race of this series and I’m making a goal of racing most of the single-speed races in this series.

There’s no substitute to knowing everyone in town, though, and I really miss my home racing scene in Fort Collins.  I know that it only took a season or two to get to know everyone, and it’ll happen here, but for Christ’s sake can’t we just skip the “get to know you” phase and get straight to the “broing out” phase, Portland?!”

But there’s only one way to get in, and that’s by showing up and broing down!

I’ll talk more about not having a job and not being cooler than everyone else later on, but for now check out this awesome ride that I’m gonna do on Sunday:

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

You see what I’m saying about this town having a rad racing scene?

Bikefag Report: Fort Collins, CO

April 4, 2011

Paris.  NYC.  PDX.  FTC?

Yes, readerz, I’d like to report on a place that, unless you live in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, might not be on your bike-dar.  It might not be the capital of “fixie kultur.”  The mountain bikers may not have the most extravagant pork chop sideburns.  The local group rides have a severely underwhelming hipster road biker presence.  And the local racing occurs exclusively in actual colors and in sensible chronology rather than in “epic” sepia hues and edited primarily for aesthetics.

It may not be the coolest place, but it’s been my home for most of the last four years, and it’s the place I know and love:

Fort Collins, CO

I moved to Fort Collins from Colorado Springs for school in 2006, figurin’ on suffering through the state college beer pong bros, and the Subaru-driving outdoors-persons for two years or so, getting my degree, and getting the fuck out of this hell-hole without remorse.

Well, it sort of went like that, just minus the “no remorse” part and minus the “get the fuck out” part.  I “moved” to New York, and was back six months later.  I’ve been whiling away my days for the past 1.75 years since, riding Fort Collins’ many beautiful roads and trails, making people coffee, and occasionally writing something about bicycles.

So why do I love this “hell-hole” so much anyway?

Racing Scene

Fort Collins reared me up as a racist, and I’ll always think that racing should be done “the Fort Collins way.”

If my only criteria for judging a place to live were “housing costs” and “racing scene,” I’d probably never leave Fort Collins.  The racing here is seriously fantastic! For a town of only 140,000, Fort Collins’ local race calendar is stacked up like Princess Diana’s wedding cake.

“Stay poor and stay Cat. Four!’ I say!  No problem in Fort Collins.  You could race every week for half the year without ever having to buy a license or pay more than ten bucks.

And if you DO want to race a “real” race, Fort Collins has about the best race of the best series of the best cycling sport in America: The New Belgium Cup USGP of Cyclocross!

And if beating people on much more expensive equipment is your fancy, Fort Collins is perfect because of its proximity to Boulder – a town chock-full of mediocre racers on extremely expensive bikes who are all too happy to pay thirty bucks to go out and roll their tubulars off their rims from a comfortable distance behind you.

(That’s an unfair picture.  In addition to slow rich douchebags on expensive wheelsets, there are also a bunch of very fast rich douchebags on expensive wheelsets in Boulder..)

(I’m playing, Boulder.  Some of the rich douchebags down there are super cool)

Anyway, as you can see, Fort Collins is a great place to race (even though you end up having to drive to Boulder every goddamn weekend..)!  Go Fort Collins!


But who cares about racing.  Racing is just an excuse to make dressing up in spandex all day seem more macho to your old high school friends on Facebook (get over it, dude. You’re your own man now).  Any true cyclist knows that that pinnacle of cycling is not racing or “training,” but RIDING!

Riding is AWESOME!

And Fort Collins has some AWESOME SHIT to ride!

We’ve got a big climb: Rist Canyon.

We’ve got a couple other big climbs that people don’t think about as much: Buckhorn Canyon/Pennock Pass, a dirt road that tops out at 9,150ft; Stove Prairie from the Poudre Canyon to the backside of Rist; Rattlesnake Ridge above Loveland; the Glenhaven climb outside Estes Park.

We also have a shitload of fantastic dirt road riding!  Why it was just the other week that I finally rode Cherokee Park Road, a steep, red clay affair that connects to a network of terrifyingly steep and remote roads going all the way to Wyoming.  There’s a never-ending grid of dirt roads East of I-25 that no roadie dares tread on, and that I’ve only barely begun to fully understand.  The dirt roads north of town are the ribbons of legend, where a man can ride red dirt straight into the wind North until he’s stopped by the Wyoming State Patrol!  Basically, there’s a bunch of awesome dirt road riding..

Not into climbing or dirt?  Well, that means you’re a douchebag.  But even total douchebags have places to ride in Fort Collins!  There are many “rolling” roads (“rolling” by Colorado standards) like the route out through Masonville and up Cult Road to get to the stuff Southwest of town; or the windy prairies out East; or the boring, straight training grounds north of town where roadies sell their souls to the brown grass in exchange for just a few more watts.

We’ve got mountain biking too, by the way – lots of it!  The ol’ standard Maxwell-Shoreline-Michaud loop that we’ve all done a hundred times never gets old.  Blue Sky will always be about the funnest trail for a rigid bike in Larimer County.  And Bobcat Ridge will rattle your arms asleep without six inches of slop front-and-rear.  Lory and Horsetooth have trails enough to make you feel like you’re riding through a house of mirrors all day and getting no closer to home.  And if the local trails lose their luster, you can drive an hour North to get to IMBA paradise Curt Gowdy State Park – or an hour South to get to the jewel of the Front Range: Hall Ranch.

Personally, my favorite place to ride is David Cross.  “David Cross” is the name of the cyclocross group ride that i started, but I now call all of the trails near the Poudre River Between College and Sheilds “David Cross.”  The place is like some sort of childhood treehouse for me.  I know it all like the back of my hand.  I feel like I own it all – even the pump track – and I magnanimously allow all the joggers, stoners, and bums pass.

I started riding as a kid on a mountain bike in Colorado Springs.  And I’ve ridden all over the state of Colorado and many other states.  But Fort Collins is more-or-less where I learned to ride for real.  I rode my first Century here.  I rode my first “group ride” here – the Oval Ride – and got dropped up “The Windsor Wall.”  I got my first road bike here.  I got my first rigid, single-speed 29er here.  I learned to race here at our Tuesday night races.

I may not fit in the best here in the Fort Collins bike community, but I know that I belong.  And I’m sure that I’ll be back soon enough, once I run out of food stamps and lose my mind to the clouds

“Sustainabilibro Culture”

I googled "beard 'organic farmer'"

There’s a lot to be said for sustainability – I’m convinced.  That’s why I do things that make me feel better about myself like recycling, only flushing the toilet every other time I urinate, and driving a Subaru that gets 25mpg on the highway.

But what I REALLY like about “sustainability” is all of the laughable bullshit associated with it – because I get to make fun of it.

For instance: are Subaru Outbacks sustainable?

Fuck no!  But they’re practically ubiquitous for the “entry-level sustainabilibro.” (more advanced sustainabilibros get old Toyota pickup trucks (again: why not just buy an old Honda Civic hatchback?), and top-teir sustainabilibros get vegetable oil-powered Toyota Landcruisers or Mercedes diesels)

Are Chaco sandals sustainable?


Probably.  But not nearly as sustainable as just buying some old shitty running shoes from the thrift store, wearing them until they die, then buying some more.  Old, shitty running shoes have already been produced.

Need sandals?  I doubt it, since all you’re doing is going to the New Belgium Brewery tour, but let’s say that you DO need sandals.  Well, they’ve got crappy old adidas sandals galore at the thrift store.

Instead, sustainabilibros buy Chacos by the dozen!  There are probably enough fucking Chacos to fill up a landfill here!

People don’t buy Chacos because they are sustainable.  They seldom buy Chacos because they’re going to be walking through water. And they certainly don’t buy them for their looks (they look REALLY FUCKING STUPID).  People buy Chacos for one reason: to fit in with other sustainabilibros.  Same goes for Subaru Outbacks (the all-wheel drive is nice, I’ll admit..)

There’s all kindsa consumerism-driven “sustainabiity” posing in Fort Collins.  And I can’t imagine Portland will be much different (other than being dressed up in a way more pleasing to my sensibilities).

The best is New Belgium Brewery.  These guys have created an image being the “sustainable brewery.”  And fair enough, they are a leader in sustainability.

But gimme a break.  New Belgium makes a totally frivolous product that takes real resources to produce.  If all they cared about was planet Earth, they’d halt production immediately instead of trucking “sustainable” beer in glass bottles all across America in petroleum-burning trucks.

It’s not New Belgium’s production methods or waste disposal methods that I take issue with.  Again, New Belgium does a great job.

What I dislike about New Belgium is how they seem to just bask in self-congratulation for making beer to get people drunk with.

And what I dislike even more is how the people of Fort Collins literally lap that shit up!  Go to the Tour de Fat in Fort Collins and observe as a bunch of fairweather cyclists dress up as an advertisement for New Belgium Brewery, then listen to all this frenzied hype-man bullshit about the bicycle, then ride in a circle around town getting piss-drunk by noon.  It’s like Saint Patrick’s Day for Liberals!

Well, fair enough, New Belgium is pretty much Guinness for Liberals…

And people are going to drink beer anyway, so they might as well drink “sustainable,” “wind-powered” beer.  Also, New Belgium pretty much funds every bike-related thing in Fort Collins and supports every publication I read with full-back-page advertisements, so I hope they don’t get pissed off at me and pull the rug out from under the cycling community.

Really, I just don’t drink and I’m bitter that I’m missing all of the fun.

But for all its greenwashing, Fort Collins has really changed me.  I’m from Colorado Springs, and they don’t do a whole lot of recycling down there.  Nor do they do much restriction on sprawling cardboard-home developments, or much funding of social services.

Unfortunately, I’m at a:

Demographic Disadvantage

I’m 29.  I’m sober.  I’m a bike racer.  And I listen primarily to gay disco from the late ’70s (and I’m straight).

So it is with a heavy heart that I must say farewell, Fort Collins.

I’d like to thank:

Dan Lionberg (Dad): you’ve been like a (dysfunctional) father to me.  Thanks for demanding that I race bikes while I’m under your roof.  You taught me everything I know about bikes (even the totally incorrect things)!  Congratulations on finally graduating college!

Sheldon Deeny: thank you for giving me some perspective on the things Dad “taught” me..

Teresa Garcia: Teresa’s probably the fastest, sexiest, and most classless person I know who’s graduated from an Ivy League institution (and, let’s be honest, the only person I know from the Ivy League).  Thanks fer being my dawg and believing in me during that dark, lonely time when we both got dumped by our girl/boy friends in the dead of winter.  You may have abandoned me in singlehood (and I’m very happy for you), but I know you’ll never abandon my dad’s single hood..

Dan Porter: Dan Porter should be declared “cyclist of the year” every year for the last three years in Fort Collins.  He runs the bike resource website Your Group Ride and he really welcomed me into the bike racing world in a serious way, despite me being a newbie and probably a total idiot.  Dan has a hand in most of the cheapo local races where idiots like me get to dip their toe in the vast, cold world of bike racing.  Seriously, if Dan Porter weren’t doing what he does, I don’t know what the hell Fort Collins’ race scene would look like (probably still pretty great, but in a very different way).

There are like a million other people I love and want to give shout-outs to, but I’ll try to keep it bike-related:

Thanks to Brave New Wheel for your support (what am I gonna do now?!). Thanks to The Bean Cycle for paying me money to flirt with every hot sustainabilibroad in town.  And of course:

Thank you to my dawgz!

And last but not least,

Tell your dad I said thanks!


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