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The Road to Ordinary 

Wednesday, Jun 6 2012
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Grant Petersen has been called a “retro-grouch” on the subject of bicycles. That’s a label usually slapped on curmudgeonly types who resist newer (some would say better) ways to do things. Petersen gets a pass on this one, though, because he knows what he’s grouching about. He helped found a company that designs and builds bikes, and has commuted via bicycle since 1980. His writing appears in major bicycle and outdoors magazines. He raced bikes for years, specializing the ultralight, the superfast, and all the form-fitting, pedal-clipping, logo-splattered race gear that goes with it. So what does he advocate? Radical practicality — regular people, wearing everyday clothes, riding their utilitarian bicycles to their ordinary destinations. Simple as that. Petersen outlines it (and also shoots down the need for ultralight and superfast technology) in his book, Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike. Petersen supports the idea of “opting out” of a bicycle culture he sees as overrun by the obsessions (and high costs) of racing culture. An example of his methods concerns tires: Petersen prefers thick and reinforced to light and thin. “I’ve fixed at least 500 flats in my life,” he writes. “I’m really good at it, and I still hate it. Beef up my tires, thank you.” Petersen leads a group ride after the discussion.
Wed., June 13, 6:30 p.m., 2012

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Keith Bowers

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