What is it?
According to the latest uberchic ultrahipster vending machine for the coolly urbane, they are. Well blow me down with your single bean, name the farm syphon coffee breath. That ain’t no track culture wheres I comes from. Never seen no yoggie riding a gorilla bike in a limedrop skinsuit. So I reckon, hey, you! Get off my cloud!
I love postmodernism. Or is it now postpostmodernism. I’m not sure, as it’s been too long since I finished my Honours degree in Intellectual Wanking. Although I did enjoy it, and verbally ascribed orgasms amongst friends are always ego building. Anyway…. I suspect St Cloud is a front for the new postmodernists, thumbing a nose, or fixed wheel, at the likes of Nike and Addidas, while aspiring to be as Nike as Addidas. Or Puma. But definitely not Reebok.
While it’s nice, in a condescending, suburban way, to see “fixies” (let’s get this one straight, if the wheels spin, and the pedals don’t, it ain’t fixed. Please learn this unto yourselves Urbane Hipped Ones) being radically mainstreamed (yes, it’s deliberate), please don’t make claims on a neck of the woods where you don’t dare to venture, unless it’s a Come n Try day, and your bottom bracket is so low, and your rubber so slick, you pedal strike constantly and fall off the boards.
So what is track culture? I don’t think there is one. There are many. But my track culture is about grease covered hands, baby wipes, snapped on skinsuits, full fingered gloves in summer, astroboy rocket helmets, super record hubs with ceramic bearings (one removed), perfecting a the line of an entry for that 0.01 second, Shamals that really do race rather than bling on, swapping ideas, discussing observations, my turn, your turn, recover, next, lung busting, leg splitting, carbon fibre, steel and aluminium, diversity, comraderie, entering the bull ring for a goring, a visit to the spew bucket after. It’s also post training coffee and food (if you can stomach it). It’s gunning it up on Facebook, sledging on Twitter while reporting live race results, it’s lobbying for a women’s event that already (and only) exists for men. It’s gate starts, stopwatches, grimaces and tears, track wide grins and ecstasy, it’s the purring buzz of chains over cogs, the calls of riders within a race, the chessplay of knights to bishops, it’s getting to third wheel with three laps to go, or taking a lap with 25 laps to go, or blowing up shaking and baking the opposition, to whom you lent a tool/cog/wheel pre-race. My bike is not any more or less serious than yours. We do gym. We show respect, to ourselves, each other, the bike, the track, the sport. We pay homage to the past, while making the future. We congratulate our worst enemy when they beat us. There is a code. Most of us follow it, no matter how colourful and out there we seem.
But I can tell you one thing, it’s not a funky shop with a groovy name in a trendy inner suburb, selling brands never seen in a velodrome.