In yesterday's post, I posited that "hipsters" are moving towards bicycles equipped with fenders and racks. Well, it turns out I may be mistaken. In fact, it looks like they could be forsaking bicycles entirely and taking up running instead:
All of You Running as a Group on Manhattan Ave - 7 PM Tues - 26 (Greenpoint)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-04-29, 10:59AM EDT
Yesterday I was walking my dog and I saw a group of hip young individuals running east on Manhattan Ave near India Street. Guys and gals, in the bike lane. I like your pace and I wish I could join your running club. Are you looking for members? I like Propel Fitness Water, tiny shorts and long runs on the streets. I've done a marathon but these days run in the 3-5 mile range most of the time because of an ITB injury. Hope to hear from you...
A "fixie of hipsters" running en masse in a Greenpoint, Brooklyn bike lane can mean any one of the following:
--People have long spoken in hushed tones about a "hipster communication network" which can only be accessed via a secret iPhone "app." Through this network, "hipsters" receive regularly updated commands and style mandates from their consumerist overlords--an oligarchy consisting of Nike, Apple, General Electric, Bank of America, Google, and Wal-Mart Stores. For example, it was this oligarchy that recently ordered all of hipsterdom to adopt the flat-brim fitted cap. Now it seems they may have ordered "hipsters" to abandon their bicycles and take up running, most likely to increase sneaker sales.
--The Fixed-Gear Apocalypse is upon us, and we'll soon be living out a "28 Days Later" scenario in which the streets are strewn with abandoned track bikes and crazed undead jogging "hipsters" with ironic Prefontaine moustaches who feed upon the flesh of the living.
--"Hipsters" are not in fact abandoning their bikes altogether; instead, they're taking up triathlon. This is a necessity for them, as their beloved Williamsburg concert venue, McCarren Park Pool, is in fact being turned from an ironic pool back into an actual pool. Expect old-timey swimming costumes to make an ironic comeback, and don't be surprised if you see some competitors palping p-fars on the bike leg.
--They're not actually abandoning bicycles; it's just cross-training for the increasingly competitive (ahem) "sport" of fixed-gear freestyling.
Of course, it's always possible that this running was a completely non-bike related isolated incident. They may have just received a message from the "hipster communication network" that the bar they were just in was now over, and so they were running from that bar to a new, cooler bar. Also, the "hipsters" would be crazy to abandon bicycles right now. I mean, things are just starting to get good! No sooner had I finished yesterday's post than I learned about a new integrated handlebar/basket, thanks to both Trackosaurusrex and a commenter:
Yes, if you're thinking about selling that tired NJS track bike and getting in on the new practicality trend, don't be too hasty. Sure, an integrated handlebar/basket on a brakeless track bike isn't all that practical, but the new practicality isn't about actually being practical--it's about the style of practicality. Really, riding around on a Nagasawa with an integrated handlebar/basket is only slightly more practical than riding around on a Nagasawa while wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a basket on it. Actually, in a way the t-shirt's more practical, since you can take it off--or at least wear it while you ride a different bike that has brakes.
Clearly, though, baskets are hot these days. A commenter yesterday even posted a link to this picture of Ozzy Osbourne using the classic wicker variety in New York City:
As always, Ozzy's riding a "crazy train," though his friend opts for an SE Draft.
But the best baskets are removable yet fit seamlessly with both the bicycle on which they're used as well as with the needs of the rider. For example, let's just say you need to get places in a big hurry, but you also value the comfort of flat bars. Let's also say you have a fondness for light beer, and you own a small dog who accompanies you on all your beer runs. Naturally then, you'd opt for a setup like the one in the photo below, which was forwarded to me by a reader:
While it's hard to properly lock a frame like this, it's also not entirely necessary, since the dog is an effective theft-deterrent.
Really, the only downside I can see to this otherwise ideal setup (assuming you have a dog) is that it would be extremely difficult to fit fenders, or even a "filth prophylactic," to this frame. This could be especially problematic in Austria. I was recently informed by a reader in Australia that someone who once lived in Austria told her that you can get a ticket for not having fenders on your bike. Now, I couldn't be bothered to do the necessary research in order to verify whether this is in fact true, but since Austria and Australia are only two letters apart I'm just going to take it on faith. Also, while I don't know much about Austria, I have always gotten the impression that it is a society that places extremely high importance on clean pants, so it stands to reason that they'd enact this kind of legislation.
Speaking of cultural differences, the same Australian reader also reminded me that Australians (like the British) call fenders "mudguards." While it's adorable linguistic idiosyncrasies like these that make the Australians so endearing, cuddly, and koala-like, I also think that our cultures might benefit from sharing a universal term. This could either be some sort of portmanteau like "menders" or "fudguards," or else it could be a completely new term, such as "wheel eyebrows."
But regardless of whether you think "wheel eyebrows" are essential, very few people would argue that a pie plate is a necessity on a fixed-gear. In fact, the only reason one could possibly have for rubbing a pie plate on a fixed-gear could be irony, as evidenced by this example, forwarded by a reader:
For maximum irony, be sure to wear a "Drop Bars Not Bombs" t-shirt while rubbing riser bars:
But foreign countries aren't the only places you'll find alternate terms, and t-shirts aren't the only places you'll find "clever" groan-inducing wordplay; another great place to find them is in bike reviews. If you've read more than two bike reviews, you may notice there are certain words and phrases that are specific to them. For example, brakes are always "stoppers" and rims are always "hoops." Furthermore, "hoops" never have tires on them. Instead, they're always "shod" in "rubber." Unfortunately, some of these terms are now leaking out of reviews and contaminating the greater cycling and linguistic environment:
Cervelo Soloist- for TT or Road Racing - $3200 (Upper West Side)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-04-29, 4:28PM EDT
51cm sole owner Team CSC Soloist Carbon bike. Stiff, fast and race ready.
Full dura-ace, Mavic hoops- Ksyrium ES. UWS
Needs a tune up.
I strongly believe that these bike review terms must be contained. After all, where does it end? If rims become "hoops" and brakes become "stoppers," what's to prevent handebars from becoming "turners" and saddles from becoming "ass pedestals?" And speaking of contamination, if you do buy the Soloist with the Mavic "hoops" and you do take the seller's advice and bring it in for a tune-up, be careful which shop you choose:
The above is a still from an unsafe-for-work pornographic video which was forwarded to me by a reader. In order to legitimize it I not only sepia-fied and Larry King-ified it, but I also Opinionated Cyclist-ified it because, well, there were a lot of nipples and genitals to cover. (I did, however, leave the word "fuck" intact so that it might serve as a warning.) If you'd like, you can watch the video by clicking here, though I won't be held accountable for the consequences. In any event, this is certainly the most sordid bike shop affair since that episode of "Diff'rent Strokes," and it just goes to show that you never know what might be happening after hours inside your LBS. And whether you're offended or intrigued, either way you might want to think twice before you try on a helmet.