Nov 08, 2019

Culture and Community: Most at Home Far From Home

Scott Pic 2

Culture and Community: Most at Home Far From Home

Words and Photos By: Scott Mattern - Tasmania, AU

A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in a virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community, important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at large. Therefore, a key part of considering if a social unit is a community is that it must display a common culture. When considering a culture there may be variances that differentiate groups of people from the parent group, this being known as a subculture.

Culture is how people in a community live. It includes their ideas, language, religion, and history. It includes the clothes people wear and how they live. Every community in the world has a culture. Each member of the group learns about culture from influencers in a group, legends and stories about ideas that are important in a culture. To be part of a community does not mean you have to align with all of the cultural norms. Subcultures may still subscribe to elements of the parent group but may also develop a subset of their own beliefs while remaining part of the community.

Following these definitions, cyclists can be considered a community with a number of subcultures; both in local and/or global sense. When looking at cyclists broadly there are distinct cultural norms that are displayed with aligned values, customs and identity. There are most definitely distinct subcultures and variances within cycling. Road Bike Riders to Mountain Bike Riders, there is a wide variation in subcultures and within the group we call riders.

So how do I define my cycling community and culture? These days I am most at home far from home with influences that are global. This has not always been the case, but has developed through a number of subcultures within the cycling world.

I am mix of my influences. Road, Gravel and Mountain are all relevant mediums of exploration

The scene of racing within the sport of cycling has never had much attraction, however the bike as a source of freedom and adventure has been a keen interest of mine from almost the very beginning. Multi-day rides both supported and unsupported have slowly increased in their importance in my cycling interest. Within cycling there has been a surge as cyclists discover the pure freedom of this style of riding. This interest has had a profound effect on my cultural attitudes and my cycling. My development into what I will loosely call adventure cycling has shifted or at least sharpened my cultural values and changed and/or expanded my community.

Through the medium of social media there has become a more global focus. With this now global interest I have had the opportunity to broaden my group of friends. This has changed my cultural attitudes to cycling even further. This tempered with age condenses it down to this:

Cycling is about the experience. The experience is individual and valid for the individual. An adventure for some is a ride for others and why should that matter? All bikes are good bikes. Getting on a bike and riding is all that matters. Cycling should be part of a balance. It is just a medium for transport and fun after all.