Monday, December 13, 2004


Clique n. A small exclusive group of friends or associates. An exclusive circle of people with a common purpose.

In my experience, the word ‘clique’ has always carried somewhat of a negative connotation. When I was in high school, the clique was that group of kids who were the wealthiest, had the best clothes, the prom queen, and the quarterback of the football team. The kids today still use the word to describe the general tone of the high school social scene, but it seems that there are more cliques than just the ‘popular kids’ of my day and each of them probably slag off the other cliques every chance they get.
What’s interesting is that the term clique has probably been tossed around by the people who didn’t fall into any other group. If you wanted to be in the Kool Kids Klub, but didn’t match their clandestine criteria, you weren’t in. Because of this, you looked with some degree of disgust on the in-crowd and your envy caused you to say things like ‘they are so cliquey’, while turning up the corner of your top lip and squinting. Of course, if you had been born into this somewhat exclusive group, or if by miracle won the lottery and became part of it, then you would soon forget any ill-will you may have felt and would certainly deny any accusations of being a hypocrite.
I was under the impression that worrying about cliques was something that people grew out of, and for that reason I was surprised to hear it used by adults to describe other adults. Surely by the time we all become ‘grown up’s’ we figure out that everyone aligns themselves with a group of friends that share common interests, have similar views on things political, have equally disturbing senses of humor, and most importantly: like to ride bikes.
While you are pacing along life’s trails, you might meet people that you really um, click with. You might be friends with people who are somehow involved in the bike industry. You might have a camera, so you start to take pictures, and have your picture taken when you are out on rides. You might even start to write about the adventures you have with your pals. You might send in your words and pictures to a publication and even get them printed. Then it might happen again.

Or, maybe not.

When you see pictures of other people riding with their friends, and reading stories about rides what is your reaction? Do you think, wow those guys look like they are having a great time? Do you wonder where they are riding? Do you recognize the scenery? Have you had a similar experience that causes you to relate to the photo or the article in some way?

Do you say that they are cliquey?

Why is it that seeing the same faces in a magazine causes one to forget that they themselves are probably part of some particular group of friends, complete with their own in-jokes, favorite riding spots, weekend getaways, and Thursday night rides? Take an individual who is new, and mix them into this type of crowd and there are bound to be some things that the newbie doesn’t ‘get’. Does this mean that there’s a clique? Well, to some degree yes, but it’s not necessarily one that doesn’t welcome newcomers.
Keep riding with your friends. Take lots of pictures. Write down stories that arise. Tell the world about your favorite moments on your bike with your friends. Most of all, be glad that there are many other people out there than are able to relate to why you love riding your bike so much.

We’re all in this clique together. Now, let’s talk about how cliquey those damn car drivers are...


Singletrack said...

Is this a private clique? Or can anyone join in? :-)

Areola said...

Right on. BIKE FUN!
Pittsburgh PA.

Anonymous said...

Are all the posts on this blog gonna be that long??? ;-/

- Benjiman