When Good Advice Goes Bad

In my most recent Outside column, I prophesied that you soon won’t be able to repair your own bicycle tire:

When it happens, you’ll of course be able to blame the bike industry, which always strives to make bike technology “better” by making it more proprietary and less cross-compatible. Ironically, you’ll also be able to blame the people who want cycling to be more accessible, because telling people they should learn how to fix a flat is now “elitist” or something:

I think she and I fundamentally agree that once you start getting far enough away from home base you should know how to fix a tire. I also fully acknowledge bike people can be insufferable–on the subject saddle height, or flat repair, or which unguent to use on your crotch, or pretty much anything. I mean we’re right up there with foodies and oenophiles, just horrible, horrible, horrible people, I can’t stress that enough. Horrible!

Still, I do think that amid the current mania for purging the cycling world of all vestiges of elitism and gatekeeper behavior, we run the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or the bearings with the solvent, or however you want to look at it. Isn’t one of the biggest problems with cars that we become reliant on them to the point of helplessness? Isn’t understanding the working of your bicycle ultimately empowering? Is there not even a basic level of competence to which we should aspire?

[Sheldon Brown Dot Com: Too Elitist for 2022.]

Don’t tell people they should learn how to fix flats, don’t say anything negative about e-bikes, just surrender to the iPhonification of cycling and keep your mouth shut. It won’t be long before it’s considered elitist to suggest that people interested in taking up bicycling may want to learn how to balance on two wheels.

Speaking of the current zeitgeist, Ultraromance and Crust are selling an aluminum bike:

Seems like a cool bike to me. Amusingly however, it seems to have elicited all sorts of hand-wringing on the Bikey Internet, and as invariably happens in every subculture the backlash to the backlash has officially arrived:

You’ve got to hand it to the roadies–whether it’s the Fixie Kids or the Wide Bar Brigade or whatever other new arrivals are attempting to challenge the drop bar hegemony, the roadies just keep doing what they do and not giving a fuck. Defining yourself in opposition to something may be cool, but being the thing everyone’s always attempting to define themselves in opposition of is even cooler, and if trends are changing the roadies are passing too quickly to notice.

As for me, I’m just trying to stay ahead of the curve:

It’s aluminum and it has skinny tires, so I think I’m covered.

Oh, by the way, if you want an unpainted aluminum bike for your mixed-terrain ramblings you don’t need to pay bespoke prices, the American M-16 I was riding for awhile can be yours for a mere $990:

[Classic Cycle]

It’s just a handelbar change away from perfection.

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