I figure I’m of no more interest to Big Brother than any other marxist, greenie, anarchist, libertarian, bike advocate gnawing at the tail of car culture and occasionally getting his kit off in public. That’s why I’m not at all concerned about cameras everywhere nowadays and the internet’s apparent capacity to store every last photo—hundreds of millions each day—that keep being uploaded to it.
Should it bother me that the random youtube clip I showed my dinner guests on the weekend, to explain the Seattle Solstice Parade to them, showed a red headed guy on a green Brompton? I mean, there must be hundreds of red headed guys with green Bromptons, who happened to be in Seattle last June.
I’m not concerned about images that may or may not be me in the buff. I’m not even concerned when a member of my bike club captures footage of me with his hero cam, merrily drafting at the back of the peloton. The only kind of photo I do not want to find of myself on the web, is one that might portray me as truly pathetic, caught on the tail of an echelon in a cross-wind for instance, slouched to one side, perhaps with my tongue out, maybe one bike length off the last wheel, in the middle of nowhere, quite obviously facing the realisation that this race I have fought so hard to be a part of for so long is going to head over the next horizon without me.
It’s not like other sports where eleven a side win some and lose some until the last whistle, when even the losers still have their mates there around them. Bike racing is about losing, and every so often not actually losing, but still not actually winning. The only thing differentiating the “winner” from everyone else, is the winner got to the end having somehow escaped that realisation that every other rider arrived at some point before the actual finish, that they are inadequate. Before the internet, we were all granted space to have those moments alone, without ever being shown, for example, that we lose with our tongues flapping around in the breeze.