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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-10-05, 10:05 AM   #1
IchbinJay
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The Immortal Class

Anyone read this? I posted the same thread in the books forum but I figured I'd post here also. I'd really like to hear what any Chicago messengers have say on the topic. Anyone?
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Old 09-10-05, 10:19 AM   #2
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http://www.chicagocriticalmass.org/m...eldtravis.html
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Old 09-10-05, 11:32 AM   #3
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Henry Miller, Sade, and Janeane Garafolo were messengers? That's kind of awesome.

I could be wrong, but when I lived in Chicago, I think the general consensus of messengers i/r/t the book was pretty negative. But I'm not sure why. Maybe b/c they thought it was exploitative. I thumbed through in it Barnes and Noble or something when it came out but have never read it myself. amazon has plenty of user-reviews.

I bet you could get it at the library, if you don't want to buy it.

Also, I wish I could see old episodes of the Real World with Puck. I barely remember it. I was probably like 12 years old back then (i really have know idea how old i was)... I didn't even know what a bike messenger was.. it would be fun to see....
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Old 09-10-05, 07:26 PM   #4
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I really liked Immortal Class. The urban design/car culture and autobiography aspects of it moreso than the messenger part. It really is, I think, about the author first, car culture second with messengering and critical mass tied for third.
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Old 09-10-05, 07:46 PM   #5
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sorry to derail, but who even sells a copy of "nerves of steel" anymore? I've been trying to get it for awhile, but i think i saw it somewhere online for 150 or something...
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Old 09-10-05, 07:59 PM   #6
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the link tjfix posted has a link in it to the Bega online store. They have it for $30.
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Old 09-10-05, 08:32 PM   #7
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i recommend reading it in the wintertime. i got it from either bklyn or nyc libraries, and can't imagine thinking it's any good when the weather's so nice (like now), but i think i read it in when it was balaklava weather last year, and it was just the thing.
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Old 09-10-05, 10:35 PM   #8
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mmmmmm.....baklava....
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Old 09-10-05, 10:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jhnmrk
i recommend reading it in the wintertime. i got it from either bklyn or nyc libraries, and can't imagine thinking it's any good when the weather's so nice (like now), but i think i read it in when it was balaklava weather last year, and it was just the thing.
Ahhh the difference a couple of letters make.

A balaklava. A toque with face covering to protect you from loosing your nose when it is 30 below.

A baklava. A Greek honey soaked pastry to be savoured as dessert with ouzo on a patio restaurant overlooking the Mediteranean.

I have worn the former, but much prefer to eat the latter.
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Old 09-11-05, 03:51 PM   #10
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Interesting...does anyone know anyone in this forum who was mentioned in the memoir? I really like the book as a whole, I thought that it got much more interesting with each page and that his ideas were insiteful and full of good evidence. His urban developement chapters painted a broader picture of the biking community...that's probably what I'd say the whole thing was about: community, more than anything else.
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Old 09-11-05, 04:59 PM   #11
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This was one of the most over-written books I've ever set my eyes on. However, it does have some nice anecdotes.
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Old 09-11-05, 04:59 PM   #12
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I have read the book a couple of times and I like it.

I think he caught a lot of sh!te from the Chicago messenger scene because he made himself out to be more of an integral part of the scene than he actually was. That could be a rumor though.
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Old 09-11-05, 05:43 PM   #13
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I have read the book a couple of times and I like it.

I think he caught a lot of sh!te from the Chicago messenger scene because he made himself out to be more of an integral part of the scene than he actually was. That could be a rumor though.
who gives a s***. i think at this point he would rather take his clothes off than care what the 'messenger scene' thinks or thought of him. i don't think it ever really mattered.


(i don't believe i responded to this)
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Old 09-11-05, 07:45 PM   #14
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Well, it seems to me that what he described in the memoir was that the messenger scene was a constantly changing and renewing family/culture for him. He felt like he belonged for a little while, and like most of the messengers he described, he got his main 'gig' at the end and took out what he could from being a messenger. I thought it was really interesting to hear some of the people on this forum say that the Chicago messengers gave him a bit of guff. I mean, that's the jist that I'm getting from this.

As an avid cyclist and bike mechanic myself, I feel that maybe a lot of the negative feedback people gave him were perhaps from people who maybe weren't as involved in that aspect of the culture that he was. That would be my guess. As far as the people who were actually mentioned and written about in the memoir, I'd really like to hear what they have to say. I mean, is this something that could be a sort of case study for other cities? I feel like maybe there should be a follow up to it. So much time has passed between then and now, and especially with the messenger/fixed gear trend really catching on with the bags and clothing etc. I'd really be interested to hear what Culley or some of the other people he mentioned in his memoir would have to say about all that. Reading his thoughts really gave me a different perspective on the bigger picture of what I guess could be described as a 'bike centric' society. Really, I thought the book was going to be fluff, but it came out being really wholesome for me after all.
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