Monday, September 10, 2007

How will this all play out...

I’m not sure what to make of the news (via Jessie) that the Columbia Bike Guy, Athar - he of the red mohawk - has a Facebook fan club.

(Disclaimer: I’m on Facebook but am horrible about checking it. My bad. I’ll get around to the pile of messages one day.)

While I think it’s kind of cute that he’s reached this level of notoriety, I’m not sure how sincere it is. Sure there’s probably a mix of motivations in the group, but I get the feeling that most see him simply as a freak who makes a good backdrop for a silly photo. After all, pronouncements to the contrary notwithstanding, The Internet is still largely a place where people go to laugh at others.

I mean, if random but visible people deserve fan clubs, why isn’t there one for the Columbia Ninja (the woman who dresses in all black and rides her bike along Rt. 175)? Or, what about the Poodle Lady who’s always walking a gray, standard Poodle around Town Center? Are there others I’m not thinking of?

Jessie thinks this fan club is a way of reaching out and including him in our community, something that may be true in either a positive, welcome-to-the-club way or in a negative, ask-him-over-for-cookies-and-then-ambush-him-with-water-balloons way. (Yes, if you're wondering, I know of the latter "way" through experience -- it basically describes my first date with Abbzug.)

Maybe I’m just being overprotective. I’ve run into Athar a bunch of times on the paths, and as someone who enjoys riding a bike all over Columbia, I have long felt a special affinity for him. The fact that he’s (apparently) as well known as he is comes as a bit of a shock. It’s almost as though I want the Facebookers to prove their intentions before joining the club. But as we all know, that’s impossible.

Or, maybe he enjoys the celebrity (he seems happy in the photo Jessie posted). And perhaps this is just a way for other Columbians to celebrate something (rather, someone) unique to our community. He could be our very own Wild Bill Hagy.

Whatever the case, I just hope Athar doesn’t let fame go to his head.


numbers.girl said...

I had the same concern when I saw the post. My first thought was that they were making fun of the guy. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I find it hard to believe that their motivations are kind.

On another note- totally didn't know that the woman in all black (including a face mask!) had a nickname.

Poodle lady also walks her dogs on the grounds of the Symphony Woods office building. Kind of creepy when you are sitting on the other side of the window from her.

Anonymous said...

Funny you bring up the “Ninja Biker.” I had not seen her in literally years (but one never forgets such an odd site.) Beginning a month or so ago I think I have seen her about 6 times along the RT 175 corridor. True to form she was in her skimpy low cut black spandex, boobs falling out with her face covered and all manor of wires and communication devices. Truth be told I actually saw her once in Borders. She of all people deserves a fan club.

Anonymous said...

About 15 years ago girl that I know used to work at a shoe repair place and said that a small Asian guy came out to her place to have shoes fixed. Noting that he was in the outfit of the black rider she looked outside and saw the bike too. She swears that THIS is the black rider. I have seen the black rider a few times since and THAT is NOT a little asian guy! Maybe there was a changing of the guard that we do not know about. I also heard that the black rider carries a foot long Rambo knife on her leg.

Anonymous said...

Every time I see the black rider she is just sort of dawdling. The bike and the lady look like they should be going 120mph. Get a move on Ninja Biker!

Anonymous said...

Walking Randy would have left the Black Rider in the dust!

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