Monday, September 14, 2009


My ladyfriend made the following comment to me the other day as I was gushing about how much fun it was to ride in the Tour de Fat:

I bet it's like running. Usually you run by yourself, or with a buddy or two. But then when you run in a race with hundreds of people, it's all electric and charged, and you're full of adrenaline and having lots of fun.

Which is pretty much exactly what riding in a large group is like.

Good analogy, lady.

And another reason I really liked it is the concept of tribes, which is something I started thinking about when I read this great article in some magazine.

I can't remember the name of either the article or the magazine, but it was by Dave Anderson, and the main concept of it was "the bicycle of the totem of my tribe."

Which is an awesome way to think of yourself and your social group, whatever it may be. What is the totem of your tribe?

With cycling, there is not one unified tribe. There are tons of them.

And they're not all discreet. You can belong to several, to many of them at the same time.

There's the Tribe of Always Wear A Helmet, and the Tribe of Occasionally Wear A Helmet If You Feel Like It, If Ever.

There's the Fixie Tribe. There is the Single Speed Tribe and there are the 3-, 10-, and 21-Speed Tribes.

The Mountain Bike Tribe and the Roadie Tribe.

There's the Commuter Tribe and the Utility Bike Tribe.

And you can get really particular if you want to recognize the Platform Pedal, the Toe Clip, and the Clipless Pedal Tribes.

There is the Lycra Tribe and the Tweed Tribe and the Whatever You Roll Outta Bed In Tribe.

There are Pirate and Ninja tribes.

There's the Tricycle Tribe, the Tall Bike Tribe, the Tandem Tribe, the Recumbent Tribe. The Penny-farthing Tribe.

And you can belong to so many of these tribes. By recognizing your preferences and behaviors; and being aware of all these tribes, and by rejecting the very existence of some of them, and by inventing new ones; you can create for yourself a near endlessly customizable -- and thereby almost guaranteed to be unique -- identity as a cyclist.

And so what I mean to say is that I enjoyed the Tour de Fat because I saw cyclists of every tribe imaginable gathered together for some fun and games.

It was a gathering of all the tribes of the Nation.

1 comment:

Elisa M said...

I love this idea of tribes. It is true and kind of makes us sound pretty bad ass (which I also like!)