Culture is one of those nebulous words, describing a set of characteristics and interacting factors, a hazy, almost discreet quality of human communities. Counter culture, then, is some subset of countervailing forces, the writing of refuseniks and revolutionaries, the art of misfits and agents provocateur, music that is dissonantly unpopular but somehow still compelling.
I find myself irresistibly attracted to all of these things.
Cycling has arguably always been counter cultural. First, the bicycle broke the nobility’s hegemony over travel, replacing the horse as a prime mover. Then, as the Automotive Age dawned, filled our skies with pollution, and spread its paved tendrils across the globe, the bike steadfastly refused to be moved except by the rider’s own power, the original internal combustion. In a world where there is no reason to ride a bike, riding a bike can be a revolutionary act.
The Cycling Independent wants to be one of those counter cultural forces, pushing back against the consolidation of media and the manipulation of the consumer. We live in a time when, just by going online, we submit to intense observation, the internet looking back at us, recording our every choice, and serving back to us an experience designed to extract maximum profit. Targeted ads. Our preferences and predilections sold to interested buyers for further targeting. For writers and editors all of that is a deal made at the crossroads of making a living and surrendering our principles.
Riders want to ride. Writers just want to be read.
With TCI what we’re trying to do is strip away all the bullshit. You don’t have to worry whether our advertisers are paying for coverage and kind words, because there are no advertisers. You don’t have to worry about us selling your information to a third party. All we’re trying to do is bring you the best cycling content we can, and all we’re asking is for you to make a minimal contribution for it. If we stick together, it doesn’t take a lot of you to create and sustain this counter culture.
There is a big difference between a business, whose aim is maximizing profits and a way of life, which is only concerned with sustaining itself in alignment with a set of values. In that sense writing is a way of life for us. Riding bikes is a way of life for us. TCI is our sustenance and our set of values in one place.
Please join us.