Where are the hipsters?

Coming from Champaign, the sight of hipsters on bicycles is a familiar one.  Fixed-gears, cuffed up jeans, and hilariously modded bikes could be seen on any given afternoon spent in the downtown area.  SB and I fit right in with his fixed gear and my yellowbike, a hefty Kabuki road bike from the 70’s.  I had a ten minute or less commute door-to-door.  It was glorious.

One of the things that I’ve found curious since moving out here is the lack of regular people on bikes – much less hipsters.  Nearly everyone I’ve seen here who rides here seems to do it in full riding gear – preferably in a jersey and bike shorts that match the jersey and bike shorts of their friends.  There have been, of course, the token dudes who ride shitty mountain bikes on the sidewalk or RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, but for the most part, the people that ride seem to be serious cyclists, not commuters or broke kids who like to get around as cheaply as possible.

This observation is, of course, based on the 10 days that I’ve spent here.  I took my bike out for my first ride yesterday – I stuck to the flat parts, cos I’m a wuss and not used to giant hills – and only saw maybe 1-2 other regular dudes on bikes.  Very weird.  Very weird indeed.


0 thoughts on “Where are the hipsters?

  1. I think your observation about the giant hills is the key to the whole thing. In my experience, the average hipster cyclist thrives in cities like Chambana, Portland (OR), NYC- generally flat places, where riding a single gear or a chopper will not bring you sobbing to your knees.

    There’s also the “crazy driver” factor- drivers here are considerably less crazy and less considerate than those in the Washington DC metroplex. I’m always surprised here when I can bike somewhere and back without having anyone honk at me…


  2. Don’t get intimidated by the spandex. They’re just people who like to ride bikes, like you. I’ve experienced a similar thing here in Springfield, there seem to be a lot of club-type riders, definitely more than C-U, but it’s balanced with lots of regular folks just out for some exercise or fun. I’ve found that the common love of biking can bring all kinds of people together. Maybe it’s a Springfield thing, though; people here are, genuinely, really nice.

    Besides, I never got into the whole hipster thing, so I prefer a low hipster count anyway. This way YOU can be the trendsetter! When people see me riding gina on the trail or downtown, they recognize. 😉


  3. Hi, there! I just bought my own spandex on Sunday with padding. The reason? I think I don’t ride my bike much because shorts/pants/etc. get uncomfortable with a lot of cycling. But I am also planning on getting more into some long-distance stuff.

    I gotta say, though: I wore the spandex to a spinning class tonight, and I am never going back! I highly recommend it, hokey or no.


  4. I told e this, but in case she’s forgotten (she hasn’t had too much going on, after all), I completely expect you guys to do at least part of the Allegheny Trail… http://www.atatrail.org/ . There may be hills, but I think much (if not all) the trail is on old railroad beds with a limited grade… that doesn’t sound too hard to thie midwesterner!


  5. From http://www.kottke.org:

    “A fixie of hipsters: the perfect collective noun for two or more hipsters. Coined by Erika Hall on Flickr. Fixie is slang for a fixed gear bicycle, increasingly the urban 20-something’s conveyance of choice. Other favorite collective nouns: a murder of crows, a blessing of unicorns, and shimmer of hummingbirds.”


  6. And a murmuration of starlings.

    Where are you spotting these bikers? Out near where you and I live, along the W&OD, there are definitely a lot more bikers in the full getup. Though I also see a fair number of Latino dudes riding dirt bikes that are way too small for them, and sometimes they have heavy bags of groceries dangling from the handlebars.

    But when I go into DC I see a higher preponderance of bikers in more casual gear. Some are hipsters, others are just office-bound folk wearing regular clothes or even suits instead of jerseys and Spandex.

    But yes, DC has a rap as a bike-unfriendly city.


  7. The Springs has a mix of hipster bikers and serious cyclists. Both are really polite and I definitely appreciate a cheerful “On your left!” from a Colorado College girl more than the dude in spandex who scolded my Mom for not seeing him before she pulled out of her driveway. (I still think Mom had the right-of-way though. He saw he pulling out something like 600 feet away—he could’ve slowed in time.)


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