Up here in the north the scant snow for December is even pissing off the weatherman. My fellow Minnesotans whose investments in high end snow toys along with resort owners are being hard hit with a short season. The last ten years have been up more than down for snow accumulation. I wouldn’t bank the warm weather will hold. Our winter really has not gotten its usual start and now with warm weather through December not even ice fishermen are able to enjoy their sport. It was reported Saturday 30 fishermen were rescued on an ice flow on Mille Lacs the largest Minnesota lake. And in the Twin Cities the Pugsley owners cotillion wants snow or someone is gonna get hurt.
It would be nice to see everyone who has plowed their hard-earned money into play toys to get some snow. Now I can be selfish to a fault and contrarian is my nature. I can take or leave the snow. Last years record-breaking blizzard that first week of December reminds me too well of the back-breaking shoveling and the god for saken attempt to clear it off the city streets. So what the warm dry weather means for me is a reprieve and one less day of winter is fine too. We have officially put an entire month behind us with only a week of icy conditions. That leaves about 75 days ahead of us for the prospect of snow. As I’m writing this the flurries are coming down sticking onto the concrete.
The excitement for snow doesn’t really turn me on. But, as a winter bike rider I think the winter is the best time to ride. It makes you prepare for each ride. Everyday is different. Being in the outdoors staves off cabin fever.
The bikes I am riding this winter are relatively skinny compared to a Fat Pugsley. I have a 13 mile commute one way and need a light bike. In the winters past I have always been able to move through streets and bike trails on my Raleigh and Rollo. The Pugsley may be optimal for six inches of snow but seriously, an apocalyptic man bike if there was one. This is a men’s only dance machine, and I’m not attracted to badunkadunk. All bikes are a tool if you are inclined to think like me.
The bike industry though continues to think bikes are toys and the Pugsley is boytoy. The propaganda that the Fat Tire shills are putting out there is for a small elite group who appear in public disguised as bearded ladies. In the past decade the elite customer is where a bike shop makes it’s profit. For a niche market such as the Pugsley a winter without snow is enough to think twice about the viability of super fat bikes. The market is saturated with these bikes in Minneapolis already with or without snow. Young urban dudes or YUD’s and Old urban dudes or OUD’s fancy themselves as rugged individualist.
We have life so good it would seem the winter bike rider community would be increasing by leaps and bounds. Well, if the bike industry is compelled to market things instead of a message then this community won’t grow at all. The blog Ecovelo was one such blog that overwhelmed the reader with product placement. In the end the blog will cease to be meaningful except for a history of the look and feel of bike enthusiast from the early part of the 21st century. These bike riders bought into the “thing” of the moment. Granted Ecovelo made itself accessible to riders even like me who are Do It Yourself and don’t buy into the lightest and latest. But, the rant is not against a brand or a blog but, towards an entire industry with out a message.
In a previous post I spoke about bike riding before their were bike paths. Going back in time to the bike boom of the mid seventies there wasn’t a message then either. I lived and came of age bike riding then. The boom was doomed for two reasons. One is that the drop handle bars of the road racing style were the “totally wrong handlebar” and the bike industry did not have a feminine side. So urban bike riding never took off and the result was falling rider ship, few women riders and the soon to new market called mountain bikes. Again, a mens only club.
If the bike industry continues to keep outsiders like me off their radar the boys club will remain the same. Maybe for the rest who are looking to enter full-time bike riding you will want to use my new name patent pending handlebars. I am changing the name on Christmas Day from Rev2 to “The Detroit Bar” so in the next couple post I’ll be writing and referencing the Detroit Bar. The Detroit Bar is totally the right handlebar for urban riding with a feminine appeal. So boys and girls let’s now get out and bike ride more and drive the car less.