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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.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon permalink
    August 26, 2011 11:08 am

    cool story bro

  2. jackseph permalink
    August 26, 2011 10:51 pm

    I encouraged you too. Where’s my credit?

  3. Lil Terter permalink
    August 28, 2011 1:35 pm

    Maybe you should start your own ‘zine- Bike Fag’s Bike Mag? I’m glad the bike mag industry is finally paying ya! We miss you in FtC!

  4. September 1, 2011 7:47 pm

    Fugging hell! I come here all the time and I get no name mention or blog name drop (brother could use some hits too). Meh.

    Enjoying the blog when you do write and good to hear you’ve found some peace and happiness on the coast.


  5. Oliver Miller permalink
    September 16, 2011 9:13 am

    Really amped to have done something to encourage your project, halting as that project may be. For my part, I’m sorry not to have posted a reply sooner. It was a massive stroke to my ego to be mentioned in your post, again(!), maybe just too much for me to respond to so soon.

    I think it’s important not to look back too much though, no matter how heady a time 2009 was. The good old days. It was incredible, reading about how to ebay-search florescent spandex, the virtues of Dura Ace 9 and the ridiculous conflation of T-shirt fashion and rim profiles; about existential quests on a pink track bike, wildly contradictory positions regarding leg shaving, and the invention of a new mathematics with which a bicycle’s quality could be evaluated. The most important thing I took away from it all was a heightened sense of identity as a cyclist. You expressed a sense of irony that ruptured the persistent earnestness, or smugness, of those who have an uncompromising commitment to riding hardcore, or claim to. That irony also shattered the monotonous, semi-articulate pontifications of the self-proclaimed arbiters bicycle taste. Happily, it came from a place far away from the messinger/fakinger problematic, and for that reason transcended what had really become a pretty inane, though all-consuming, sideshow to issues more central to an unhealthy cycling obsession.

    A couple of thoughts crossed my mind in the last couple of weeks, wondering what I could say next, wondering how could I stoke the still-glowing embers a bit more. Fittingly, the first of them came after a ride around the countryside on my ’92 pink and violet fade, steel-lugged, carbon-tubed F. Moser running on tubular tires and Heliums with the last generation of Campagnolo Record before they changed the Ergopower levers to the more rounded shape. Sorry about that gratuitous description; it should only be added that I built this bike up before I found your blog, and CP€ of it is under 1, CPD unfortunately is higher :-( Okay, alright, so I was at Bonanza Coffee -really insanely good coffee, incidentally- flipping through Kaleidoscope magazine when I stumbled upon this published conversation between two people I’d never heard of, Mark Greif and Richard Lloyd. The piece was entitled The Dark Side of Hipness. I tried to find the talk on Kaleidoscope’s website to no avail, but I did find this article that goes over some of the same stuff:

    The theme that made me think of your predicament, and of your milieu, and that I’m not sure is actually addressed in the above link, which I only skimmed, was something to do with the condition of alternative/hipster/bohemian culture outside of the primary metropoles of New York, LA, London, Berlin, Hong Kong, etc. They talked in some depth about the meaning and relevance of such de facto cultural centers vs regional cities where there’s been a steady growth in gallery scenes and music scene and whatever else. Like bike scenes. Portland was actually mentioned as one of these regional centers, so welcome to the small time, I guess. But for bikes Portland is actually a lurking behemoth, no? It may be that you’re more than struggling with making sense of your place in it, that you’re actually needing to make sense of the thing itself, whatever that “thing” actually is, and if that’s the case, then it seems you’re not alone.

    That was an involved description to get to a simple but somewhat vague point. Whatever.

    My other thought was that your heavily-researched/deep experience-based method might be proving a bit unwieldy at this sensitive stage, in spite of the fact that I fucking love such wayward treatises. But a methadone treatment of smaller blurbs, reactionary filler, as it were, could serve to tide you over till you you get renewed inspiration for something longer. I’d love to hear your knee-jerk response to the recent bike polo world championships in Seattle, for example, or to whatever silly stuff is to be salvaged from the flotsam and jetsam left behind by the juggernaut of the track bike fad.

  6. sammmmmm permalink
    September 23, 2011 1:01 pm

    I saw your picture in dirt rag. Famous Dave.

  7. Chump permalink
    November 8, 2011 8:56 pm

    Buy it!

  8. jackseph permalink
    November 18, 2011 1:40 am

    Write man, write

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