These days there is so much advertising from the media and pressure from the world around us as cyclists to fit in. From clothing brands, bike brands, to where we shop, very quickly you will be shuffled into a category by your fellow cycling buddies.
It is truly amazing how quickly trends come and go, and if you don't have what the cool kids have..then you ain't cool. An example you ask. There are too many to mention! From the cars we drive to the clothing brands we wear, we are driven by an inner desire to fit in and be accepted. If you are not on Strava, wearing your POC Octal helmet, racing CX or the latest Enduro series then you are probably still walking down the street listening to your Sony Walkman!
I have no issues with the above mentioned cycling brands/events, in fact they have all had a massive impact on the cycling world in a positive fashion, not only in Australia but worldwide.
BUT I remember a time when bike riding was exactly that... bike riding. There was no judgement about the clothes you wore, your brand of bike or how fast or far you had ridden.
Why bring this up now? Last weekend I headed out with the family to the Hurstbridge Wattle Festival. It is in the North East of Melbourne and has a town fair type atmosphere, with kids activities, fire trucks, rides etc, etc, but they also have a massive Retro BMX display and show and shine. Congratulations to the organisers of this event, there were around 500 bikes on display and if you love retro bikes then put this in your diary for next year.
It got me thinking about my first BMX. It was an Intrepid, it was made by Repco, it was Red and it was my 2 wheels to freedom. I rode that bike to school, to footy practice and most importantly with my mates. Never once did they comment on my bike for not being as cool as theirs, and some had reason too, one in particular had a fluro green Torker 2!! But it didn't matter, we just rode.... and rode, until it was home time.
Never once did we discuss frame weights, wheel size or if we had any KOM's, we chatted about the latest Atari 2600 games, what flavour Sunnyboy we were buying at the Milk Bar and how wrong it was for the local Fish and Chip shop to up their minimum chips to 50 cents!
It was indeed a simpler time, there were no helmet laws, lots of bad hair hair cuts and Stubbie shorts. Yep, we were only kids, but there was something nice about just riding. Isn't that why we love bikes? Because we love to ride? Some people ride to go on a journey, some ride for fitness, many people ride to socialise but we all ride to put a huge smile on our face. So go on... call a mate or 2, organise a ride, and go and enjoy the simplicity of the humble bike.