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Ask a Track Bike 

Wednesday, Aug 16 2006
Well, it's been a long time since we've hit the road together, folks, and for that I do apologize. You see, my owner recently landed himself a real-life girlfriend, and in an effort to "just, like, grow the fuck up already," he hid me in the closet next to his ratty Converse high-tops and self-consciously obscure vinyl collection. But 1 1/2 months of boring sex and a quick blowoff of her weepy voicemails later, his inner scenester is back, and so am I! Lucky you is right.

So let's get started with the questions that gnaw away at your hungry minds:

Q: Dear Ephraim,

I have two questions for you, both of which I ask in firm half-seriousness. Firstly, it seems like people struggling with their track bikes take away some of the messenger mystique — you know, because you don't have to be a messenger anymore to ride a brakeless track bike. Do you think it's worth sacrificing an important part of messenger identity (or culture, at least) for the financial gain of the bike industry and to get more people to ride bikes?

Also, I was wondering why hipsters would imitate bike messengers?



A: Dear Sparky,

"Messenger mystique," eh? If poverty and an indifference to deodorant qualify as mystique, then I have no problem with the eradication of its culture.

Imitating bike messengers is on par with hipsters' other blue-collar fetishizing practices, such as drinking PBR and sporting sideways trucker caps. This, Sparky, leads them toward the ultimate goal of appearing as if they really don't have a degree from Wesleyan and a weighty trust fund supporting an even weightier blow habit.

Q: Dear Ephraim,

The messengers of today appear to be only interested in hanging out and looking cool. Is this true?


An Old Geezer

A: Dear Old,

If you are, in fact, an elderly man, then how could you possibly know what cool is or how it's being projected? For anyone outside the 18- to 25-year-old age bracket to assume what looks cool is not only wrong, it's also very sad — like music critics of a certain age using the term "sellout" or gay men saying "fabulous."

But back to your question: While they do look cool — although, as noted before, many would appear that much more hip if they discovered the awesome joy that is Ban roll-on — only a few of them really are cool. Those are the ones who don't participate in Critical Mass, because conformity is for suckers.

Q: Dear Ephraim,

I live in the Marina, and all the hipsters from the Mission think I'm not as cool as they are since I drive a silver Audi A4 (with an automatic trans). Will they think I'm cool if I get a track bike? Can I still wear my 7 For All Mankind jeans?


Not Hip Marina Dude

A: Dear Dude,

Well, I must commend you on choosing what I do believe is a most beautiful automobile. Bravo, aging frat boy! And, fine, go ahead and wear your precious jeans. Lord knows that what this city needs is more people sporting even more pairs of damn denim. But will they, the hipsters of the Mission and beyond, think you're cool? I should hope not. Yet if you're rockin' the 7 For All Mankinds while perched atop a track bike cruising along the Palace of Fine Arts, I suspect you'll have no problem being the coolest cat in all of the Marina/Cow Hollow vicinity. Or perhaps at the Exploratorium you might be. Hmm, better try it in Berkeley first to be on the safe side.

About The Author

Ephraim the Track Bike


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