In a war between gas-guzzling SUV drivers and friendly neighborhood bicycle commuters it's pretty clear whose side the general population would take. But throw in a few thousand hipsters riding customised fixies in their little sister's jeans, and the results might not be the same.
The urban biking movement in the United States started as a reaction to absurdly high gas prices and increasing awareness of climate change. Encouraged by bicycling activists, and adopted by the growing creative class of professionals, the movement grew phenomenally over the past decade, with bike use going up 31% in the United States since 2001. But lately, biking seems to have a bit of an image problem. And just like with every other thing that's been going wrong lately, everybody's tossing the blame onto the hipsters.
One of the reasons biking is so easily accepted is that it has populist roots. But ever since the hipsters joined the cause, it seems to have way too many associations with ironic french moustaches, four thousand dollar Italian bike frames, and 1.5 million dollar houses built to accomodate said bikes. Suddenly, the fist shaking clunker drivers who had grudgingly begun to share the road are not so sure anymore.
This odd turn of events has thrown up some uncomfortable questions. Should the general bike riding population make an attempt to be more likeable? Or is it enough to feel righteous about saving the world, and dismiss the critics as the same people who are calling The Muppets communists?
Images courtesy by: Lockedup Bikes