Cruiser bikes suck: they attract Philistines and ruin cycling for the rest of us

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Editor's note: Cruiser bikes have become a fixture in Denver, especially on Wednesday nights when weekly Cruiser Rides take over the streets. In fact, it's hard to imagine a time when there wasn't one on every corner. But the culture that comes with cruisers can be polarizing, and Westword contributors Britt Chester and Josiah Hesse each represent the opposite ends of that spectrum. See Chester's take in "Cruiser bikes rule: They will save the world and make your butt look good"; here's Hesse's:

In 1971, the Coca Cola company launched its legendary "Buy the World a Coke" campaign. The song and the TV ad were a multicultural message of peace and hope that tried to connect with the burgeoning counter-culture movement. But the commercial was really just a hollow attempt to encapsulate 1960s youth rebellion and condense it down to an idiotic song in order sell a fattening sugar drink

To any serious bicyclist in 2012, this is exactly the way to view cruiser bikes.

See Also

-- Denver Cruisers: Disco Inferno Edition
-- Denver Cruisers: America F Yeah!



I don't use the phrase "serious bicyclist" to be elitist; I don't think that people whose primary transportation is a two-wheeled, engine-less collection of steel are any "better" than those who only drive a car. But I will say there's a difference. A big difference. And when someone completely ignorant of bicycle customs and culture hops on their cartoonish SUV of a cycle and begins zig-zagging across roads and sidewalks, someone needs to speak up and tell them to go the fuck home.

Not only are the type of people who ride cruisers (or, even worse, participate in the orgy of devolved meat-heads known as The Denver Cruiser Ride) some of the most unenlightened bunch of Philistines that our city has ever been forced to contend with, but they are dangerous on the road. I don't know how many of them I've seen riding down sidewalks, against traffic, or swaying through lanes as they punch out text messages on their smartphones, cutting off cars and other -- more responsible -- cyclists.

Beyond cultural debasement, cruiser bikes are heavy and impractical. Over the last century, bicycles have experienced amazing leaps in engineering, allowing a rider to effortlessly fly up a hill at top speeds, the bike dynamics targeting his or her muscle groups with calculated measure, increasing efficiency and decreasing chance of injury.

And then here comes this group of ass-jacks riding bikes designed at a time when the hand-held calculator was mind-blowing technology, drunkenly gaggling their way down the middle lane, iPod blaring, pretending they're Winnie Cooper as they cause three-car pileups in their wake and delay traffic for people who actually have places to go.


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73 comments
paulrjones1
paulrjones1

I have had two road bikes and now have a cruiser. It has a four speed hub. After reading your article I think we should have a course on writing without the negative comments. There is too much hate and egotistical correspondence on the internet. Perhaps we should just start being nice to each other on the roadways. I have seen bikes blocking the roads on Saturday morning rides. They are courteous and wave me by when the way is clear. Most of the cruiser riders are not recreational users of the road. Some of us haul groceries or ride to work. Please play nice as we are all in the same sandbox. 

tCricket
tCricket

You'd think WestWord would keep the smut/trash from writing BS on the blogs - but low and behold, another article from one of the poor little rich Denver 'elite' bastards whining about having to share space with those 'lesser' people who choose a different style/type of bike.  GOD forbid someone NOT fit the mold and worry about how they 'look' next to one those jerks and their $6k bikes!  Biking is for everyone jerk - regardless of which brand/design/type you choose!

Erica Baker
Erica Baker

Hm. I have a cruiser & a low rider. I like to pedal around my hood. We're moving to Denver from Kansas in a few weeks & I was so excited to be able to ride my bikes in nice weather with pretty scenery but I guess never mind since I'm not a "cyclist". Sorry for owning something I enjoy & I don't act like a nazi about because other people don't agree with me.

3vilmonkey
3vilmonkey

This article is absolute garbage.  What a pathetic, mindless cheap-shot of an article.  I live and work in the downtown Denver area, and cycle + scoot wherever I go, except during the coldest winter days.  One thing that I've always noticed is that 90% of the truly dangerous cyclists are flying through red-lighted + stop-sign intersections at 35mph on roadbikes.  Can cruisers be oblivious and irritating?  Of course - but so can any irresponsible cyclist.  Totally wrong and cheap to convict all Cruisers just because you're bitter - because you apparently have to cycle through ice and snow in the dead of Winter to get where you're going.  (Can't even afford bus-fare??)  As a true Denver urbanite, I hate to say it, but Westword:  you truly suck for publishing this tripe.  And as for you, Josiah Hess, you need to get the hell out of Denver and go find another city to be miserable in.  Denver is open for ALL bicycles.

Alex Danger Bruce
Alex Danger Bruce

I knew one (of many people) person who rode a fixie because its hipster "cool" (also pretentious) and couldn't even brake. But now that I think about it if someone wants to get hit by a car because its cool to ride a trendy style bike more power to'em. Really not worth discussing

Che Harness
Che Harness

I like the concept, but I've seen a few people who look like they're riding a bike for the first time. My problem is some IDIOT lawmaker who thought bikes would work better with cars than with pedestrians and made riding on the sidewalk illegal. Bikers seem to like the roads but they don't like traffic laws, and act pretty damn entitled about it.

James Martin
James Martin

Get off they nuts. A bike is a bike. So what if a Sunday rider is cruising on a basket beacher. Hipsters don't ride those things anymore so you can't say it's a douchey hipster thing. Let people ride. It's an inexpensive way to get from A to B in addition to being good for your heart AND the environment. All bicycles, when operated safely, are a win-win.

Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree

Don't you know Westword's tagline: "Insulting the target audience and bitching about things of little consequence."

Katharine E Clark
Katharine E Clark

I road bike when I'm doing more than 10 miles, but cruisers are the way to go when riding around town and doing errands. Philistines? Kettle, you're black.

Darren Toth
Darren Toth

He is an asshole, John. Not everybody bikes for the same reason; I actually have a cruiser bike because I don't own a car and I can haul 100lb+ on my steel framed bike, something his built-for-speed bike couldn't handle. This blog is basically First World Problems incarnate. What a fop.

Frank Catalfano
Frank Catalfano

what makes you say that , they have the right , just drive more careful

Marc Emory Walker
Marc Emory Walker

Most gratuitous way ever to get comments on the Westword Facebook page - post a divisive and shocking opinion and ask, "do you agree?"

Randy Smith
Randy Smith

you might as well put a target on your back,you miserable POS!

genoandsusieclark
genoandsusieclark

Dear Angry Guy,  My daughter just gave me a cruiser bike and I could not be more happy.  I have been riding a mountain bike for years.  In a world where so many people are over weight and few get exercise, I feel that all forms of exercise should be encouraged and the form...is personal and an art form.  Lets just take a minute...slow down...wave and smile.  Life is too short to be so mad. x :)  smile

Johnny Genova
Johnny Genova

So are you training for the Tour? Or do you just like to dress like you are. The best part is riding down the Cherry Creek trail at top speed while yelling at other folks to get out of there way. I'm waiting for one of these fools to seriously hurt a kid and blame them for riding too slow. Not their city or bike path. If any one of these idiots had any balls, they would be "training" in the hills like actual cyclists and not holding the trail hostage.

BlondyVanWeirden
BlondyVanWeirden

Another inane article written about nothing.  (Did this Josiah clown even go to journalism school?)

Nate Mender
Nate Mender

All Cyclists need to obey the rules of the road. I've seen carelessness by "serious" riders too. It's too bad some who ride are under informed at best.

John Dalby
John Dalby

Wow. I'm not even a bike rider, and I thought this guy was an asshole. Apparently everyone else does, as well...

Mary Ella
Mary Ella

Obvious ploy for publicity Westword... Well done!

Amy Ann Wagner
Amy Ann Wagner

I love cycling but I've also been known to rent a cruiser bike especially when on vacation in San Diego. They're great for a casual ride. Not everything has to be all-out on a $2000 road bike...

Eddie Tejada
Eddie Tejada

I feel the media/writers are sheep controled by their superior sheep. Ride a bike and get off the couch.

Denver Critic
Denver Critic

What a hater. And arrogant too. Who's to say that EVERYONE on a cruiser flouts traffic laws and rides irresponsibly. Quite a leap of logic...

Nate Adelmann
Nate Adelmann

Amen. Best article to come out of Westword since ever.

Darlene  January
Darlene January

I ride a cruiser... What's wrong with that???? That's what's wrong with people now-a-days... people who want to ride for fun/exercise can't because those who use the bike paths such as this jerk want to run people down and a lot of seniors are afraid to use the bike paths for fear of injuries or death that these clowns will purposely will cause them to trip them up. I love the foot breaks rather then the hand breaks... If a bike maker can come up with the idea of keeping the foot brakes but modernizing the 15 speed type bikes... I would get one.. until then... I am keeping my cruiser.... and forget this writer... just ride and leave the cruisers alone..

Morganne Foster
Morganne Foster

I think cruisers are just uncomfortable to ride. I love the control my mountain bike gives me.

Cory Winget
Cory Winget

No, the Lance Armstrong douchebag wannabes with their ridiculously expensive bikes and "jerseys" with spandex shorts are worse. I giggle my ass off when I pass your pace line on my road slicked MTB.

Joe Beauprez
Joe Beauprez

Chin stroking cycling enthusiasts are clearly worse than cruiser bike riders.

Marcie Guerrero
Marcie Guerrero

This person's opinion is comparable to saying you don't want to see fat people jog unless they're in the best running gear. At least they're trying and doing something somewhat productive.

Steve Krautkramer
Steve Krautkramer

The author if this is a super douche even though he's trying to claim he's not. Westword you need to fire people like this.

dawn_eldridge
dawn_eldridge

I am a "serious" mountain biker and when I want to cruise around downtown where I live, I use my cruiser bike since I don't dare get my "serious" bike stolen. Kind of crazy to assume anyone on a cruiser bike sucks. There will be assholes in any sport/hobby including volleyball, running, golfing, crossfit, skiing/snowboarding, fans of college or pro sports, etc. Come on dude - just because I choose to not get my good bike stolen in a city where bikes are getting stolen left and right doesn't mean I suck. And because others want an inexoensive way to ride around town, doesn't make them suck either.

Geoff Armstrong
Geoff Armstrong

Your writer is a fuckin prick. HE is the dude who is ruining cycling for everyone! I bet he's the doucher riding in the middle of traffic like he owns the road..... GTFO BRO

Chanda Quinn
Chanda Quinn

Oh..and um I live in Florida..so perhaps its a bit different here.

Johnny Genova
Johnny Genova

I know, anyone worth a shit on a bike better be wearing spandex. Know this, I'll risk a broken arm to check any one these douche bags off there 5000$ bike for talking shit.

Chanda Quinn
Chanda Quinn

I love my cruiser..and it's simple in design/color..I am not a mountain/trail rider, I use my bike for joy rides and occasional trips to the store (used to ride it to work) and we have lanes designated for bikes..the "Bike lane"..so you don't drive "in" traffic, causing delays or accidents. Now sure if I wanted to purely exercise on my bike, or take it down a heavy trail (which we don't have here) I'd get a bike meant to do that..my cruiser serves it's purpose well.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

I HATED my cruiser. What a cute - and like many cute things - pointless device. Of course, I despise almost all city cyclists because they have no respect and don't know/care about the laws. Super frustrating for other cyclists and drivers.

Natalie Fossum
Natalie Fossum

This article is whiney and extremely elitist. Annoying or not I'd rather see people excited about getting outside and exercising than driving their driving their Hummer to McDonalds. There are WAY more important things to bitch about.

Grant Haygood
Grant Haygood

Uuuh... They're probably pretty uptight, right?

Alison Burton
Alison Burton

When ppl ride around half naked and drunk on them, I would agree.

Abcabc
Abcabc

You know, I have MS and for years have had balance difficulties. At the encouragement of my doc and family I learned to ride a bike, a cruiser, so I can sit up and train my inner balance mechanisms. It was a LONG time time I could ride even around the block but I did it.

I don't want to be a "Silver Streak", I don't want to go fast, I don't want to lean over I just want to ride. I don't know about all cruiser riders but I'm too intimidated to do things dangerously, I may weave a little or stop with a jerk but I'm having fun.

If you were to take your "arguments" to the limit then anyone who isn't a race walker with Gel Keyano's who walks to work can use the sidewalk. "Get out of the way grandma! Go home because a 'serious' walker wouldn't use a cane!" "Oops, shove the three year old into the next gutter because he has to hold onto mother's hand".

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