I recently came across a pair of editorials in Velonews where each side debated the merits and drawbacks of the recent popularity of fixed gear bikes. Much like the rigs Street Kings ride. The two points of view are taken up by two of the staff of said publication and voiced two separate thoughts on the matter. The first point of view was voiced by a gentlemen named Maynard Hershon. Maynards take on fixed gear is spelled out in the title of his article clearly and without pulling any punches. “Fixed-gear bandwagon is hurting cycling.” In 25 point Helvetica screams across his half of the page along with a picture of Maynard that I would say puts his appearance conservatively at around 74. I only mention this as a point of reference, hear me out. His article is well written and he doesn’t mince words when expressing his concerns for cycling as a whole. His debate seems to center around the welfare of the band-waggoners and their inherent lack of cycling skills. He adds the ubiquitous; “when I was a boy” speech that includes logic such as: “there was less traffic, and, “…the handful of racers using fixed gear bikes were ultra-skilled” He doesn’t qualify the “ultra-skilled” comment but I came to the understanding that he is surreptitiously referring to himself. He goes on to lump every fixed gear rider as incapable morons and “first time riders” that not only eschew functionality for style, but refuse to put lights on their bike. The final insult he takes a psychology 101 approach and tries to somehow make the bike dealer feel guilty about selling a bicycle to person that would; GASP “lock the bike to two or three similar bikes in front of a neighborhood tavern after midnight.” He challenges the bike dealer to “feel good about selling (sic) the bike” after he realizes she is in there drinking with her friends on a bike he sold her.
(Cue the 1950’s dramatic instructional video music and the unseen deep voiced announcer.)
“It’s supposed to give you a good feeling, seeing it. Does it? Stick your head in there. I’ll bet she and her friends will buy you a drink. You’re their dealer after all.” ???
I cant even reach a cynical enough position to try and defend that last quote. I was expecting his sign off to be something like; “I’ll bet they smoke marijuana cigarettes too, that’s right… reefers. And if you asked her parents, I’ll bet they think she’s actually studying at the library right now and don’t even ask them about that rock and roll music she has come to enjoy.”
At his age I am assuming he sat through enough cold war, public service videos in school that the fear propaganda machine is the only form of motivation he understands and sadly still is clinging to. To bad he wasn’t reading or writing about cycling as a kid, he would have heard people in his same profession (sports writers) his age at the time, debating how adding derailleur’s to fixed gear bikes ruined great races like the Tour de France. I wish you well Mr. Maynard Hershon, your struggles will continue as a man with a name from five decades removed and a dated point of view to match. You just made the short list of cyclists not welcome in Street King territory