> Freewheeling

the bike 4 U

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sam:
I am confident within an acceptable margin of error that certain personalities are attracted to certain bicycles.

Fixed wheel. Control freaks
Anybody who feels the need to pedal every single inch should not be trusted with a bike. It is a sign of fanaticism. They consider themselves to be an elite force, and will often parachute into freewheeling conversations on missions to propagate their notions of purity. Most attacks on so-called 'fakengers' come from this quarter; the urge to shame and purge their own bandwagon is particularly ruthless. It doesn't help that manufacturers of single speeds often colour-coordinate components to make them easier targets.



Tandem. Candidates for couples therapy
People who share a bike should probably not be allowed one either. While it's sweet to watch couples declare their commitment to each other and to cycling by combining these passions, and that scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid never fails to raise a smile (not actually a tandem, I remembered it wrong), ultimately tandems promote unequal relationships and corrosive power struggles antithetical to the egalitarian ideals to which we should all be aspiring. It's like co-dependency, only worse. Captain and stoker? More like master and slave: guess who's who. The only good thing to be said for them is they make it impossible for the man – it's almost always a man – to ride far in advance of the woman – it's almost always a woman – when they are ostensibly traveling together.



The Classics. Reactionaries, of course
We're talking beautifully painted, with painstakingly sourced parts, lots of gleaming in the right places, altogether lovelicious. People who have these do not belong on bicycles, much as they obviously cherish them. They belong in institutions where the modern world outside cannot intrude into their sepia-toned rose-tinted clearly not 16 million colour palette time capsules. Fodder for tweed runs, they probably also watch Downton Abbey. I do, too, but only for research purposes.



Those who opt for penny farthings and other extreme examples of retro, when not actually institutionalised, should be required to register with the police, if only for their own safety.

Exotic materials. Exhibitionists
Whether or not steel truly is real, which is for the philosophers to determine, it does a remarkably adequate job. Carbon fibre is for weight weenies, titanium for people who think they're too good for steel or aluminium. Though obviously titanium is better than carbon fibre.



Folder. Napoleon complex
People who ride these are confident that they will eventually take over the world, because integrated transport only makes sense. There is a certain false modesty at work here as well: little wheels, big statement.



Recumbent. Generally Disturbed
These types of conveyance are perverted and unnatural, it should go without saying. They belong in alternate realities or parallel universes (though those may be the same thing), where evolution has taken a very wrong turn indeed and results in all manner of monstrosities.





That leaves people who ride 'normal' bikes not listed above; conformists clearly not fit for the revolution, despite or perhaps because of their evangelising ways. Nobody likes a prophet, especially when he's right.

sam:
The colours you find acceptable for your bicycle will tell people more about your worth as a human being than anything else. We all instinctively know this, which is why we spend so much time thinking about it when acquiring or building up a new bike. Choose incorrectly and it will be, as Leonard Cohen sang, like your father or your dog just died.

The ability to paint over mistakes does not make the process less fraught. It merely muddies the water with the possibility of regret. Mistakes can be made indefinitely.

Clever paint jobs such as this, now unusable because it's been used as an example, are the only way to achieve validation. Good luck with that.



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