Wednesday Is As Wednesday Does

Given the awful news coming out of Portland I'm doing my best to remain positive, so instead of contemplating what it is about America that turns people into gun-wielding maniacs (and don't say it's the guns, because everybody knows if we were all armed to the teeth like the Second Amendment wants us to be that this sort of thing would never happen) I'll instead celebrate the capture of the "hipster bandit," as forwarded by a reader:

So what makes him a hipster bandit instead of just a regular bandit?  Here's what:

Oglesby earned the nickname the "Hipster Bandit" after a witness in the August robbery told police that he "looked like a hipster."

Thanks to that witness, police were able to narrow the list of suspects down to only the entire population of Portland.  And if you're wondering what forces a hipster to turn to a life of crime, the answer is something called "heroin:"

Once arrested, Oglesby repeated to authorities, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'' the complaint says. He told police he was addicted to heroin.

I think the lesson here is obvious: Stay off the heroin, because it can turn you into a total hipster.  Also, buy yourself a gun, so you don't have to rob banks with cowardly notes like some kind of hipster.

(Or, if hugs are not available, as is the case in most of America's broken homes, simply substitute hugs with guns--and plenty of prescription anti-depressants, which don't count as drugs.)

Speaking of Portland, another reader tells me there's actually a show called "American Hipster," and they made an episode all about the "freak bikes" there:

And it opens with somebody who would be an adult anywhere else in the country playing ring toss on someone's tombstone:

"We're in the cemetery and it's stupid dark out.  There are three tires and a bike I might not be familiar with riding, and I've gotta try to get as many tires as I can over the obelisk of a tombstone that may or may not be lit up with a bike light."

I always thought people moved to cities to escape the suburbs and find themselves, but I guess they do it so they can continue acting like bored teenagers well into their 30s--behavior which is often mistaken for being "inventive:"

Until recently the term "hipster" was considered a hopelessly dated cliché used only by the bitter and uncool (that's why I used it), but now it would seem that the idea is to claim it and thereby "own" it, just as other minorities have done with their own slurs.  My theory for this is that there's now a resurgence in hipster pride happening in America's trendier cities, since most formerly hipster neighborhoods (Williamsburg, for example) have since been taken over by real estate developers and garden variety rich douchebags.  Whereas once the hipsters displaced people, now they themselves have been displaced, and so they're acquiring a new veneer of sincerity and humility--unless they manage to make more money, in which case they themselves become garden variety rich douchebags.  By the way, did you know that hipsters are also bikes?  Because they are:

They're also "dangerous:"

This is evidenced by their willingness to rob banks with notes, and to eat donuts shaped like penises:

(He's got two fingers right on that donut's scranus.)

Anyway, after defining "hipster" in various ways the show goes on to explore Portland's freak bike scene:

And to talk to Jake Ryder, a freak bike fabricator:

"I started a new project, it's a drift trike?  Something I can take down the west hills over here in Portland, so it's kind of like an adult Big Wheel tricycle?"

I object very strongly to his use of the word "adult."  Just because it's bigger and he's 30 doesn't mean the word applies.

And here are some American hipsters owning the hopelessly dated cliché that is themselves:

And here's a freak bike that I suspect has toe overlap:

And here's Dabe:

(Right now a bunch of people are going, "Hey, it's Dabe!")

The show never explains who Dabe is, the implication being that if you don't already know then you're a total loser.

Anyway, my first instinct was to laugh off the whole freak bike thing as a childish waste of time.  Actually, that's still the way I feel about it, but then I realized that there's almost no difference between freak bikes and Fredliness--which is also a childish waste of time, something I'm acutely aware of being a latent Fred myself.  (Really, I'm sort of a Fred in remission since I think I've finally managed to quit bike racing and leg shaving, but there's always the possibility of a relapse.)  Consider the "Dead Babies:"

Here are two (physical) adults who actually call themselves "Arizona Dave" and "B-Lez" explaining the club's "philosophy:"

"We find these things?  Like?  Old bikes?  They used to be somebody's baby?  Like, we Frankenstein them back together? "*

*[Please note that this is not a verbatim quote, I tried to transcribe it but it hurt my brain far too much.]

Sure, they're gigantic nerds in biker vests, and sure it's embarrassing that they actually have a philosophy.  (I would have respected them a lot more if they'd simply explained themselves by saying, "Dead babies are awesome.")  At the same time, is wearing a leather vest that says "Dead Babies" any sillier than wearing a Lycra kit with the name of some local business on it that you pay to wear?  I'd argue no, and in fact I'd go so far as to say it's less silly.  Same thing goes for the goofy nicknames.  Is calling yourself "Arizona Dave" any goofier than calling yourself the "club champion" or crafting a bio for yourself on your team's website in which you actually refer to yourself as a "rouleur?"  (In amateur bike racing "rouleur" just means you suck even worse than the "climbers" and the "sprinters.")  Also no, since Arizona Dave is probably from Arizona, but the "club champion" is only the champion of the handful of people who are stupid enough to wake up that early on a weekend and ride their bikes fast before they've even had a decent bowel movement.

And what about this group ride in which the freak bikers all set out after reciting some line from a Roger Corman movie?

Yes, that too seems ridiculous--until you consider the people waking up at 4:30am, putting on Lycra outfits with local business names on them, and riding around at top speed with full colons.

At least the freak bikers probably went to the bathroom.

It's even true of the bikes themselves.  When you think about it, is this:

Any more idiotic than this?

Really, the only reason I might not pick the top bike(s) over the bottom bike is that I don't have any friends with whom to ride it.

Anyway, if nothing else, this video should serve as a wake-up call.  Let he who is without Fredliness cast the first u-lock, and so forth.  Also, cyclocross racers are not exempted from any of this, since this year cyclocross has officially gone Full Fred and is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from road racing.

That's why you should skip all of it and just get a bike sauna, forwarded by another reader:

(Two shirtless men enjoy a playful frond fight in the back of their bike sauna.)

If this bike sauna's a rockin'...

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