The Grand Scheme of Things: A Bold Caper

In yesterday's post, I discussed the implications of non-hipster-on-hipster crime. Certainly there is no greater tragedy than when youthful idealists are forced to confront the realities of urban living.

Or is there?

What happens when hipster actually robs hipster, which is what happened not too long ago when the MASH store in San Francisco experienced a break-in and a couple of bikes were stolen:
Despite the outfits, I'm actually not totally convinced that this was the work of hipsters, since hipsters love "authentic" accessorizing and this seems like an irresistible opportunity to finally wear some super cool "vintage" villain clothes à la Black Bart in "A Christmas Story:"

Then again, they were stealing bicycles, and riding in burglar clothes would have offended their sensibilities. I wish I had been present as they hatched styled the caper over $5 coffees on Valencia Street:

Burglar 1: "So what should we wear?"

Burglar 2: "Like, villain clothes, obviously."

Burglar 1: "But we can't ride in villain clothes. Will there be time to change into tight pants and cycling caps?"

Burglar 2: "Probably not. OK, let's just wear tight jeans and cycling caps then."

Burglar 1: "Can I at least wear a giant Chrome bag that says 'SWAG' on it?"

And so forth.

By the way, if you're wondering what the MASH store is, it is not a shop that sells action figures of B.J. Hunnicut, "Hot Lips" Houlihan, and Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger:

Rather, MASH is a fashionable bicycle-themed design concern that puts their "M" logo on Cinelli stuff and produces videos of themselves running lights while wearing backpacks:

("Out of the way! Can't you see I'm wearing a backpack!?!")

Anyway, a crime like this is not only a violation of the law, but it's also an egregious violation of the social contract. By charging extra for stuff with a logo on it, Companies like MASH provide an essential branding service in the hipster community, and when rogue hipsters refuse to pay a premium for this service it threatens to undermine the entire hipster economy. Worse even is the loss of trust, for the hipster community depends on its members constantly validating both themselves and each other. We can't have them regarding one another with suspicion. A house divided cannot stand--even if that house is in a fashionably distressed and rapidly gentrifying part of town.

By the way, while I may be making light of the theft, I certainly don't condone it. However, in the grand scheme of misfortune and injustice it is a fairly minor occurrence. Some broken glass, a missing fixie, a pair of fugitive hipsters bickering over which boutique hotel to hide out in and whether or not being "on the lam(b)" is technically vegan... Despite all this, life in San Francisco will continue on as it has for years: smugly, and with an overinflated sense of self-importance.

The truth is, there are places in the world where people are far more accustomed to hardship, and where tragedy is a way of life. Needless to say, I have never been anywhere near any of these places, but I do like to read about them in comfort and safety in magazines like the New Yorker:

In fact, I am currently reading the issue above, and in it is a very interesting article about cycling in Rwanda which looks like this when it's lying on my floor:

I haven't actually finished the article yet because my helper monkey, Vito, is reading it to me and he has an irritating tendency to get distracted by matters of simian onanism. However, I've been quite engrossed by it (though not as much as Vito can become engrossed by himself), and among the riders profiled in it is Gasore Hategeka:

Gasore Hategeka bought his first bicycle in 2008. It cost thirty-five thousand Rwandan francs, roughly sixty dollars. Gasore, who was about twenty years old, had worked for nearly half his life before he could afford it.

After buying the bike, he becomes a "taxi-biker," and eventually "Cat 6"es his way onto Team Rwanda under the tutelage of Jonathan Boyer. If nothing else, it serves to put all those "must-have upgrades" into perspective, and it's the sort of article that should be ready by every Fred who has so much as contemplated buying a $2,000 set of wheels. It's also a welcome respite from the idiotic musings of John Cassidy:

("I think, therefore I douche."--Douchecartes)

The goal, basically, is to make mountain biking a high school sport:

NICA’s mission is to bring the sport of mountain biking to high schools coast-to-coast by 2020, and a major step in that direction is the NICA East Coast Outreach Tour. Matt Fritzinger, NICA’s Founder and Executive Director, will be joined by our new Development Director, Ben Capron, for a 6-day whirlwind tour of the East Coast. Stops have been chosen because supporters there are already dreaming of a NICA league in their state – NICA wants to make that dream a reality!

Each stop will include an evening event, sponsored by a local organization, to include a presentation, Q&A, drinks and snacks. Come out and see what NICA is all about. Let’s bring NICA coast-to-coast!

Racing bicycles (albeit of the smaller-wheeled BMX variety) was very important to me in my youth. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was something of a salvation--a life preserver that saved me from drowning in a sea of thick accents, thicker hair gels, and impossibly lavish Bar Mitzvahs. They may have it tough in Rwanda, but they know not the horrors of being trapped in a temple as an unironically bemulleted band belts out the greatest hits of the 1980s and aging garmentos dance to lukewarm renditions of "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang. Therefore, anything that makes bike racing more accessible to our youth and offers them an alternative pursuit is all right by me.

So get involved--because I won't, but I do like the idea of someone doing it for me.

But while I would love for cycling to become more mainstream, I still have my reservations about those tourist rental bikes with which the bridges are always teeming at this time of year--even if the bike rental facilities are staffed by "blond bearded dreamboats:"

Blond Bearded Dreamboat at Brooklyn Bridge Park bike rental stand - w4m - 28 (Brooklyn Bridge Park)
Date: 2011-07-06, 10:58AM EDT
Reply to:

I was all lost on my bike on a Sunday, so I went to the bike rental booth and asked your co-worker gal for a map and how to get to the Kent greenway...aka Williamsburg. She was all what do you mean yeah I have no idea because I live the opposite direction but this dude probably knows, he lives in Williamsburg. And you DID know, it was so helpful. I focused on your wonderful directions and I pretty much had them down UNTIL you like, smiled at me or like maybe slightly a little bit looked into my SOUL before I turned away to leave and oh my gosh you have blue eyes and wait a minute where am I oh yeah my bike I'm leaving now what was that?
So yeah, that was intense dude! Did you do that on purpose?

You live in Williamsburg. I live in Greenpoint! Email me! Let's go on a bike adventure!

ps your directions were totally helpful! Despite you having disoriented me with your all that soul-looking, I remembered them and totally made it home super easily. Thanks! I seriously would've been literally lost without you.

It's bad enough that most of the the people who rent these bikes can barely ride them, but it's even worse that some of the staff can't give directions from the Brooklyn Bridge to Williamsburg--and that those who can are lauded as heroes. Perhaps scariest of all though is that the person renting the bike is not a tourist and lives adjacent to Williamsburg in Greenpoint, yet can't find her way home. I mean, how did she get there in the first place?

She might as well just ride backwards for all the attention she's paying:

It's the new frontwards.

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