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