Monday, April 18, 2011
What is Hip
So for my own sanity, I have taken a vow of silence about things I may have opinions on. Just the other day, a good friend who is in love with the Tea Party and what it represents told me he would vote for Sarah Palin if she ran for President. My facial muscles twitched a couple of times. I felt or was it heard a rush of sound building somewhere deep inside me. But I literally gritted my teeth, turned away and said nothing. I acted as if he had said nothing and shifted the conversation back to one of bike parts, Freds, and what was hip and what was not in our micro culture of Gnarly dude mountain biking.
I have been part and parcel of this cycling subculture for 24 years now. I have also lived in many different parts of this country over the years. One thing I learned is that what is hip is only marginally affected by national trends. The national trend may get the fad rolling, but each area, region, neighborhood puts their own twist on it. Each move to a new area I suffered as a kid, I was always faced with the problem of not fitting in based solely on the fashions I brought with me from my previous home turf. I gave up early trying to fit in. The result being I have always been either behind the fad, or in front of it. Never solidly tuned in.
The perfect example is my titanium VooDoo "Zaka". It represents this contradiction of my fashion sense perfectly. It is both ahead of the curve, solidly into it, and woefully behind at the same time. Mountain bikes have for years been graced with either silver components or black. There was the "Ano Period" of the early 1990s, but that was just an aberration or short detour while mountain biking found and secured it's rightful place in the hierarchy of cycling. White components popped up now and then, but never to the degree they are now. I installed them on my bike 3 years ago, a good 2 years ahead of the curve.
Sadly, the frame of the "Zaka" is made of titanium. Titanium is not hip. Carbon fiber is the new hip frame material. And if you can't afford it or fear it because it feels like plastic, then Scandium is the next hip material in line. Regardless, titanium is old school. So any points I may have garnered for being ahead of the curve are negated. I have also gone retro with this bike and kept it rigid with no suspension of any kind. Definitely not currently hip. But the fact that it sports 29" wheels with white rims means I do have a clue of what is cool.
The bigger question I guess is do I even care? Of course I don't care if I am hip, but I am a tad concerned I may not be un-Hip anymore. After long ago embracing the notion I will never fit in, I have worked hard to make sure I did not. I guess some pink components or maybe some obnoxious yellow ones will return me to the status I have come to know and love.