Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hipster sighting

Last night while riding home I came upon a hipster riding a 20 inch wheeled bike with sissy bar and big, but not quite ape hanger, U-bar handle bars.  While I didn’t get a photograph of him, if you can envision this urban lumberjack:


riding this bike:

then you get the idea.  Besides, if you’ve seen one hipster on a bike, you’re seen them all.  Hipsters have a tendency to express their individuality in highly conforming ways. 

This particular hipster was furiously spinning his tiny cranks by Liberty Park last night, likely on his way to the Coffee Garden at 9th and 9th.  He had a Chrome brand messenger bag [Full disclosure—so do I.], a tweed cycling cap, and rolled up, skin-tight jeans.  When I stopped behind him at a stoplight we exchanged pleasantries, and then he said
I've been riding a 56 centimeter track bike for like five years, so I'm used to spinning fast. 
I resisted the urge to laugh at his need for validation, or at his beaming pride in riding a fixie since way back in the George W. Bush administration, or at how he betrayed his efforts to show how little he cares about being fashionable by excusing himself for riding such an unfashionable bike. 

Instead of laughing I said something nice and polite like “Well, at least it gets you around.”  But what should I have said?  Maybe something like

No kidding, 56 centimeters?  How ironic that you’d ride a bike that’s actually your size.

And what do you think was this hipster’s point?  Was he worried I would deem him un-hip?  Or embarrassed that a guy with fenders and a hi-viz jacket was faster than him?  Please help me out with this.  I live in a neighborhood full of hipsters and while I may not run across this particular hipster again, I’m sure to have encounters with others of his ilk.  What can I say to earn myself some cred?