I’m gearing up (pun intended) for this weekend’s Singlespeed World Championship (SSWC) 2016 – the Carni-velo festival of the bike in Woodend, VIC. I’ve been so looking forward to this weekend – and have been getting more and more excited about it since I entered back in July (with a post of my favourite Singlespeed videos). Last year I didn’t go to the Nationals, (but I did post about it), so it is extra special that the World Champs are in Australia this year.
I’ve turned down an acceptance for me to do a poster presentation at the Australian International Education Conference (in Melbourne on Sun) and I’m not going to the HDR Student Conference that I am on the organizing committee (on Friday) – as this opportunity is too good to miss! I could well go to another WSSC, but certainly not on home turf as well as being physically willing and able and having the means!
So, packing up the singlespeed tonight. I took her for a ride out in the rain this afternoon. She’s riding like a dream and I can’t wait. I’m decorating her in a similar vein to Leki (my flower bike) and you can see a prototype of when I rode my single speed at an MTB event last month. I’m going with colour and flowers so that she will be easy to see at the starting line – just in case there are any shenanigans. I’ve also bought a beard to wear, which I am very happy with and am very excited about catching up with some old and new crew. See some of last years photos here.
There are apparently 1,000 registered of the event form all over Australia and the world. Checking the latest weather updates this morning, showed that it is going to be raining and between 1-12C! After being in Brisbane’s balmy and sunny 26C – this could be a real challenge and reduce the actual riding cohort on the day – but certainly not the festivities!! Just more people to cheer on those who are game enough to ride!
The events run all weekend and on offer are activities for riders (and competitors), non-riders and kids. There are heaps of entertainment and satellite events in the week leading up to the main event in Melbourne. If I was there, I would be getting down tomorrow for My Mechanic Rules.
General Run Sheet for the weekend.
Tuesday 18 Oct: My Mechanic Rules heat 1 (Melbourne)
Wednesday 19 Oct: Melbourne pub ride (Melbourne)
Thursday 20 Oct: rides, early bird drinks at Holgate Brewhouse (Woodend)
Friday 21 Oct: social 12 kms ride and Opening Extravaganza at Holgate Brewhouse (Woodend)
Saturday 22 Oct: Group ride, Carni-velo at Hanging Rock Reserve (Woodend)
Sunday 23 October: SSWC 2016 race day, hosting rights competition and after-party
Social observations – new directions
I find the singlespeed community so welcoming and interesting. I love how it seems to naturally evolve and is so accepting of all types of people, with minimal pretension, yet in its own way, maximum membership identification. This aspect in particular is very curious to me. I’ve often thought that its a pity there is not much accessible, authentic, respectful and insightful work undertaken about the singelspeed lifestyle – sure popular media and advertising has gone to town – but not so much from academia.
As I ride along on my single speed, I’ve often thought about this. I’ve got a few research ideas that I am hoping I might be able to put into motion about some sociological work and/or possible collaborations using the WSSC as a basis for participant recruitment. There are a few areas within the ethnographic literature that are void of original voices and narratives – and none more so than within cycling subculture communities.
After reading work discussing alcohol in sports such as Ultimate Frisbee and Roller Derby (as opposed to Football and other sports which use it as a way of team-bonding or representations of hypermasculinities), I’m curious to see how this might factor in at WSSC. I’m not a big drinker myself, so I’m interested to see if/how that will factor into my experience of the event.
In considering such deliberations, I’ve come up with a general list of sociological perspectives I’m keen to keep massaging and working on. SSWC is a great opportunity to see it all in action, add some new ideas and reevaluate others. I’m interested in seeing what the social functions and mechanisms of the WSSC as a singular event is, as well as singlespeed culture as a whole, such as:
- The role of alcohol as a social integrater: drinkers, abstainers, defer-drinkers and under-aged
- How SSers self identify individually and collectively – aspects of social distinction – what are the differences between hipsters, fixies and singlespeeders??
- Role of gender (women/girls and hypermasculinities?) within the SS community
- Values, indicators and central themes to the singelspeed lifestyle
- Networks, groups membership and representations of self and image (as opposed to media diffusion?)
- Subcultural/Subsocial artefacts, behaviours, norms and signifiers
However, this weekend I am going to enjoy, relax and get amongst it all – who knows what might come up!