As I thought further about the two guys on fixed-gear bikes who chose to ride in the lefthand, "fast" lane on Grant Street yesterday evening, I realized that they don't think about cycling the way that I do, the way many of my readers do. If they think about cycling at all.
We certainly think about cycling. We care about cycling. Our friends and heroes are cyclists.
We watch more Tour coverage than presidential election coverage. We follow the Race Across America. We care about safe routes for cycle-commuters in Sedalia, Missouri.
We love cycling, the idea of it and the reality of it. We want the best for it and its practitioners, short-term, long-term. We don't yearn for cheap victories over motorists, nor do we need to make statements about our steely nerve and natural fiber authenticity each time we ride.
We don't need the sidewalks or the fast lane on Grant. We don't need badges, stuff we can simply buy, to feel real. We are real.
We've been around Cyclingtown for decades. We try to take care of the place. We're boosters, I guess - proud of where we live.
Fixie riders and their sullen, scofflaw friends are overnight guests at a cheap motel out on the highway. They're just passing though. Tomorrow they'll be gone to whatever's next.
When I see them make cyclists look disreputable, I foolishly get disappointed. I don't know why I expect more. They don't know the ways. They won't be riding long enough to learn them.
It's unfortunate that all pedalers look alike to pedestrians, drivers and law enforcement. Sadly, if you ride a bike, folks figure you're a bike rider. That's the bad part.
The good part? Won't last long.
Perhaps if we call on the great minds of America, we'll be able to come up with uses for discarded leather seats, mid-calf pants and huge, rolltop messenger bags. When the glow goes off the fad, no one will want any of those things.
Sometimes, what glitters is a polished copper rivet, glistening in a dumpster.