Ulysses the Tracklocross

fixed gear bikes outside a pub

As we head into winter, I always feel the urge to ride my bike more. I guess this may seem strange to some people, particularly those of the fair-weather cyclist variety, but I hate the heat and riding in summer makes me mostly feel horrible. I guess this is because I am Scottish, and my beard tries to be ginger.


Where am I going with this? In reality, I have no idea. I went for a ride and felt the urge to write, so I am writing. Will this be the first stream of conscious writing about tracklocross? Who knows but buckle your belt and let us head off on an adventure together.

Cycling, I feel, is best experienced as a stream of consciousness. Sure, we could have a linear narrative structure, and we can go from A to B, maybe throw in a little detour or twist to keep it interesting; it’ll be enjoyable, but will it be as enjoyable as Ulysses? I’ve more than likely ruined my own argument there. How many people have read through Ulysses and not felt it a struggle?

I feel that we should not expect people to read our rides; no one cares about your Strava. Your Strava will never have a review from T.S Eliot that reads, “I hold this Strava account to be the most important expression which the present age has found; it is an account to which we are all indebted, and from which none of us can escape.” Nobody cares. You should, though, care that you had fun on your ride, and I’m sure when Joyce wrote Ulysses, he was having fun.

Eliot was also a great writer; he gave us “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. A great tale of tracklocross

Let us go then, you and I,
 When the evening is spread out against the sky, we speed on bikes
 Like a patient etherized upon a table we dream of single speed;
 Let us go, through certain half-deserted tracks,
 The muttering retreats
 Of restless nights in bivvy tents
 And sawdust restaurants with pale ales:
 Skids that follow like a seditous argument
 Of insidious intent
 To lead you to an overwhelming question …
 Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
 Let us go and make our skid mark.

 In the room, the women come and go
 Talking of gear ratios.

The search continues

Tracklocross has obviously left its traces across serious tomes of English literature, like skid marks through soft gelatinous mud. I delved straight into this gelatinous mud and searched for further proof of tracklocross’s influence on literature. Like all budding academics, I headed to Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, I found this photo.

This photo shows a pub in Dublin that is featured in Ulysses. In this pub, Bloom eats a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and drinks a glass of burgundy, showing how cultured tracklocross riders are. In the photo above, you can see wide tyred fixed gears, with alt bars and baskets, showing you that tracklocross has been around longer than the fad you think it is. Also, you are not as cool and different as you think you are; let us face it, all of us riding tracklocross really want to belong to r/xbiking.

Excited by these new revelations, I dived across the Atlantic Ocean and came across William Faulkner. Faulkner was a devoted tracklocross rider, giving us this further statement.

Let the tracklocrosser take up road riding or mtbing if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the skids done, no shortcut. The young tracklocrosser would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good rider believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old rider, he wants to beat him.

So I feel I have now managed to uncover a massive conspiracy that big bike has tried to keep hidden from us. Tracklocross is the most important form of cycling, both from a physical and a cultural perspective. Don’t be fooled by the glossy adverts and GCN videos; fixed gear is king, and being aero is for fools.

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