Welcome to Santa Cruz County’s Bicycle Courier Blog

I thought it would be great to have a place where Bike Couriers and Bike Riders could meet and talk, share stories, trade advice, and build an online community. I look forward to reading and writing our Courier stories, news, and comments.

Rick Graves

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Life

Spring has sprung! And with it new ways of seeing the world:
Just when I was getting all ageist this kid writes me this amazingly eloquent email about his love of fixies, the Tao Te Ching and Clutch Couriers-If he represents just a part of the future of urban cycling I am inspired and refreshed by his attitude. Andres, I hope that your practice of Wu Wei can help keep you from getting hit by "that car".

Stay alive to see another Spring! Rick

Hey my name's Andres. 19 years old hailing from Davis, CA now living in San Francisco. I stumbled upon your blog on google when i was looking up the story behind Lucian Gregg. I heard his story through a few friends but no one seemed to have details on how or why he died. But this email isnt about Lucian, its more or less about the love of cycling for what it is. Growing up in Davis, i got a lot of things other kids my age in other areas didn't get and thats first hand exposure to bike culture and i mean the kind of bike culture that is rarely seen in this day. My best friend in elementary school is a bike fetishist and makes a shit ton of bikes from spare frames/parts he finds around town. He specializes in unconventionaly yet totally practical bikes. This was my first experience with fixed gears. At that age, i didnt understand the appeal, i just thought of it as ancient technology and what not. I stuck to a lower-end mountain bike in my youth, a Specialized Hot Rock. I rode to school everyday and took pride in perfecting whip skidding to a halt on the greenbelt by my house. Since high school i remember being opinionated about single speeds, thinking that stripping my bike down to a single gear is retarded and remained firm on this ideology until early 2008.
In my senior year of high school i picked up a road bike from my uncle, a 1987 schwinn circuit with full Suntour Sprint components in fairly good condition. My dad and his brothers had been into cycling in the late 80s and i was in the midst of getting over a very very very devastating break up (i was 17 and stupid-er than i am now)and i wanted to pick up some new hobbies to rebuild my life. I started pushing myself harder on a bike after that day. I fell in love with cycling and it helped that i was already really comfortable on a bike. Fast forward a couple years where i get over my hate for ss/fg and get my very own track frame in october of last year and become skilled at handling traffic and hills in sf.
For a long time i've felt isolated in my view of bikes. I dont hate on hipsters with brand new bianchi pista concepts with matching celeste aerospokes, i appreciate the look of their bike but i do hate that when i talk to those people, i realize we're on two different planets. Im working as a mechanic at a bicycle co-op at my college and a couple of the guys that help out there are new to biking and especially new to fixed. But what really pisses me off is the attitude of some messengers/friends of messengers that think that track bike use on the street is EXCLUSIVE for messengers. You can see why this sucks and you hopefully feel like i do. I keep my bikes practical and like Peter Wagner, the Davis Bike Fetishist (http://daviswiki.org/WhymCycles), i ride for the pure joy and release. At the end of the day though, when i get on my bike, all of the previous statements made by whatever dickheads that day get brushed of my shoulder by the strong breeze from going so fucking fast. While i'm new to san francisco, i still consider myself a skilled cyclist. Im taking a class on Taoism and i saw on your blogpage that you are familiar with the Tao Te Ching. I find that biking increased my skill in tai chi which in turn helps my biking. The lessons taught by the Tao are exactly my attitudes about biking. Being in harmony with your enemy, the young and reckless Benz driver, and accepting defeat, slowing down before yellow lights, has kept me breathing and healthy to this day. I've met a few messengers and they've felt the same way i do about bikes and i'm glad i stumbled on your blog because you are an exceptional example of what my philosophy seems to lead to. Consider an alleycat in the present day. You show up and see a group of messengers, and a few feet away is a mass of hipsters, next to them is a group of older people on mountain bikes, of course some more hipsters show up, and lastly there is always one or two guys with the nicest road bikes you've seen in a while. With so much diversity before the race, its rare to see members of each group mingling with other groups. Start the race, wait a couple hours and after enduring the hardships and dangers of racing on the city street, everyone who finishes has a newfound respect for one another and enjoy a few beers together ending the night with a few new friends. This is why i bike. This is why im proud to bike. I know that i am bigger than the hate that gets flung at us, even by our own kind and i can come out on top at the end of the day.

For the record, i dont run brakes on my fixed gear in the city. It's stupid and dangerous and i definitely dont reccomend it. I do it to train myself not to waste energy and try to plan my path by slowing down as little as possible, i try to avoid skidding as much as possible as well as im a broke college student that cant afford a new tire every month. I do however put a brake on my bike when i go back home to davis because its definitely not worth getting ticketed by the police. I know one of these days my number will be up and i'll get hit again by a car for not having a brake, i just hope i'm wearing my helmet and am able to walk away.
Good luck

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Big ups!!! thanks for sharing this rick