'Dirtrider' wondered: "Where are y'all riding in those pictures that looks like some kind of post-apocalyptic warzone or third level of Hell?"

That's the Burn Area, as we call it, in the Pike National Forest, caused by one of three huge wildland fire events that ravaged the forest in the past ten years or so. The Buffalo Creek Fire I believe was started by a group of Boy Scouts failing to extinguish their campfire in the late '90s. Dousing a campfire with finality is trickier than many people realize. Far from hellish, the Burn Area is green and peaceful, blooming with wildflowers and wild trails.

 

Pat from Denver is exasperated to be called a 'fakenger' just because he might use a messenger bag, etc. and wonders if there's any way to avoid giving the ever-decreasing number of real messengers a bad name while still using some of the equipment commonly associated with messengers.

I'm not too worried about you giving anybody a bad name, Pat, but I certainly appreciate the concern. Many of the messenger-look-alikes I see out there don't seem to care a bit what kind of psychological destruction they leave in their S-shaped wakes.

I would say to anybody out there getting around via bicycle, fakenger or otherwise -- just ride smooth. When in doubt, ride smooth. Stop with the herky-jerky madness. Cease the crazy weaving, the head-bobbing, the furious thrashing, the pothole-bashing, and the wacky swerving. Economy of movement. Relaxation of all your muscles except those needed for propelling the bike. Relaxation is key. Head up, eyes forward. Think ahead. Breathe in, breathe out, and roll smooth.

Every day there are fifty more hipsters downtown in archetypal messenger get-ups of the 1990s, swerving around illogically. There is no sex in their swerving. Meanwhile, the type of riding that real veteran messengers consider ideal -- ghostly quiet, patient, swift and silky smooth -- is a lost art.

Smooth riding is good riding, efficient and comfortable. Smooth riding is also safe(r) riding. Besides that, smooth riding looks good. Every city cyclist is riding in front of an audience, like it or not. Give 'em something to admire. Make it look good, make it look easy. Ride smooth and build in your audience respect and confidence in you, people who might accidentally look like you and bicycling in general. Ride smooth and bring glory to the human race.