Monday, April 18, 2011

What is Hip

Even though I have been detached from the real world and lost in my own trip for the last month or so, I have been paying some attention to the events that swirl around me like all those tornadoes that recently touched down in North Carolina.  Some of the storms have abated, some are just heating up and others are about the same.  And I know that regardless of my feelings, mood, or inclinations, events beyond my control will always swirl around me. 

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.



Kulkuri said...

I like titanium having worked with a variety of titanium parts on aircraft. I think it's the best metal for most applications. At this point in time the only titanium frame I have are the glasses for which I'm gettin new lenses.

PipeTobacco said...


I would like to hear more about the various different valve caps you seem to have found (or made?). They are funny and interesting.... as are the photographs of them you show.


Chef Cthulhu said...

Screw carbon fiber and scandium. The next big thing is going to be imported spent nuclear fuel. I hear Fukushima's got some ... cheap, too. Get on it and be a trend-setter!

BBC said...

Hip is my old 16 foot boat and a warm day on the water. But I'm going to sell that 40 HP motor, I don't need a 28 MPH boat anymore.

I need a new four cycle motor but they are so expensive that I'll have to steal one.

Hum, maybe I could get one on the black market.

Ol'Buzzard said...

My Hip hurts sometimes when i get into a weird position when i am having sex, but it is worth it.

The Blog Fodder said...

I rode a bike once. A passing car yelled at me "Fat man, get off the street". Good plan.
Love the valve covers.

Randal Graves said...

Hip is that place where your legs dangle from.