The Hipster is You

No mentions of fixies or single-speed cross racing in this book review about the Sociology of Hipsters, but just swap a trucker hat with Wellington boots for a Rapha cap with Sidis. Then add PBR as a constant and you got hipsters in bike culture.

“Hipster neighborhoods are crossroads where young people from different origins, all crammed together, jockey for social gain. One hipster subgroup’s strategy is to disparage others as ‘liberal arts college grads with too much time on their hands’; the attack is leveled at the children of the upper middle class who move to cities after college with hopes of working in the creative professions.”

During my talks this year about Designing the Ordinary, I opened with, “let’s look at the fixie as a study in minimalist design.” Separate it from the hipster tag. The more I travel and the more people I see riding fixies, I began thinking about how we categorize ourselves. When did skinny-jeans with u-locks and bikes with no brakes become first hip and then hipstered?

Is this cyclist a hipster?


Spotted him riding around in Rome.

These bros?


They met up before our Mobile Social Interbike ride.

Or her, a hipster feminine?


That’s Sarah Rodgers, an Austin artist and rollergirl.

According to Grief, author of What Was The Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation, yes because

“All hipsters play at being the inventors or first adopters of novelties: pride comes from knowing, and deciding, what’s cool in advance of the rest of the world.”

Besides realizing that people in other countries just ride their bikes as a transportation choice and not in some enlightened, “euro” way, I also had to stop judging someone “as a hipster” because of the bike they rode. Fixies are everywhere – a true cultural phenomena. I don’t know these cyclists. Either just met them for a ride or saw them riding by and to insult them by thinking, “they’re not for real, just a hipster” is a disservice to them and what I do.

The Mobile Socials exist because I thought that we delineate ourselves far too much by the bikes we ride and clothes we wear. I believe the bike is a connector and a constant across industry, social strata, and countries. Get people on bikes together and they’ll have a good time.

We’re planning our 2011 Mobile Social schedule now with more rides to do. Hope to meet you on a ride and talk about how cool whatever you ride is. Maybe we’ll see some douchebags in cars.

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