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Do I Have To Live In a Big City to Be a True Bikefag?

August 11, 2009


I live in a town where I have hecka bros, an honest barista job, fantastic roads for hipster road biking, and an extensive nearby trail system for alternative mountain biking.  It should be a good life for a bike fag, right?

But the question that burns my insides is always there: “am I supposed to be living in a big city?”

A desire to live in a city is extremely common among bikefags.  Many moved out of the suburbs when they turned 18, hit the big city, and never looked back.  Many constantly plot their next move to a cooler, better, more bikefag-relevant city.  Some have lived and left the city life, preferring a more authentic, rural alternative lifestyle with chickens and solar panels.  An some just got stuck in a small town and complained about it on their blog.

Here’s a rough guide to the the mentality of a bikefag:

If this photo appeals to you, you might be a bikefag.


If, after the initial appealment, you notice that Purple is wearing Skechers and it bums you out to the point that you decide not to post the photo on your blog, then you are definitely a bikefag and definitely either live in a city or are uncomfortable about how you don’t (and you probably have a track bike in one of these colors also).

So you see, it is with this insecurity complex that I go about my life back in my undisclosed Northern Colorado Front Range college town.  Am I too cool/old to live in a college town?  Can I be attracted to girls who ride fixed gear conversions, not actual track bikes?  Should I be offended by the fact that no one own a R.E.Load Bag?  Will I ever find true love?  Can I still “represent” my UNCFRCT or should I feel shame and never specifically disclose its location?

These questions and more plague the Bikefag.

But let’s give my UNCFRCT – and by extension undisclosable towns across America – a fair shake, shall we?

Small town livin’ has its benefits, which I shall now innumerate in my usual style:

UNCFRCT Benefit #1: Being an Big (on irony) Fish in a Small Pond


Can you spot the bikefag..?

If I lived in San Francisco, probably everyone at the track would dress as obnoxiously as me.  Sure, this would probably bode well for my ability to sprint against them and maybe win some actual races.  But in my event (competitive irony), I am almost always in a solo breakaway at my local UNCFRCT race.

Sometimes I feel like I’m sandbagging and I should “cat up” to living in Brooklyn or Portland or something.  But fuck that, I just left Brooklyn and let me tell you: ironic cycling “training” in Brooklyn NY is about as disheartening as unironic road bike training is in Boulder, CO – where I recently got passed by someone who I choose to call Tom Danielson up Flagstaff road so dramatically that I considered starting smoking again.

The ironic cyclists in San Francisco have NJS-stamped inner tubes, the ones in NYC have awe-inspiring custom messenger bags by companies so obscure they make R.E.Load look like Wal-Mart, and the bikefags in Portland are too numerous, sleeveless, ironically dressed, and just generally fun-looking to even fathom ironically competing against.

No, I’ll just stay put in my UNCFRCT for the time being, leaving my den of  insecurity only long enough to go check the thrift stores in Boulder for wool jerseys.

UNCFRCT Benefit #2: Access to Actual Cycling

It took Der Eisentraut 13 minutes to ride here.

It took Der Eisentraut 13 minutes to ride here.

There’s more to living in an undisclosed small town than hiding from cooler people in cities.  One of my favorite activities to do in my UNCFRCT is go actual, non-ironic cycling.  This type of cycling is similar to what you see in the pages of magazines with boring titles like Bicycling Magazine and Mountain Bike Action – except less concerned with weight loss.

Popular activities surrounding “actual cycling” include “training,” “riding (as opposed to “mashing”),” “wearing (unironic) lycra,” “mountain” “biking,” and paying $45 periodically for a one-day license and entry fee in a local criterium, racing in the 40-minute mens Category 4/5 race, staying with the lead group but getting swarmed in the sprint, placing 9th, vowing to “train harder,” and then continuing to ride exactly as much.

Seriously, though, actual cycling does rule a lot harder than “mashing” through a city.  In ten minutes, I can ride from my house to the edge of my UNCFRCT where there are the beginnings of several incredible rides, including a 3,000-foot climb that takes fifteen minutes to get to the base of.  When I lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it also took me fifteen minutes to get to the biggest climb around – the Williamsburg Bridge…

This is the biggest problem with the urban bike hipster lifestyle.  You can’t actually ride if you live in a big city.  Unless you count walking up hills and “stuntin” haphazardly down them.

Again.  Seriously.  Actual cycling rules.  I don’t have to convince you of that.  And Bushwick, Brooklyn’s actual cycling opportunities are as depressing as a Myrtle Avenue Boat ride.


Also, chill out San Francisco, Seattle, etc.  I know you have road/mountain biking.  But I also know mine is better and that my rent is MUCH cheaper.

Those are the only two bikefag-relevant benefits that I can think of for living in a small town.

Here’s why living in a city is so appealing:

City Benefit #1: Girls

This is a tricky subject to navigate, but I think that it’s safe to say that bike fags – along with bikes and acceptance – want to have sex with hot alt girls.  And in this regard, a place like San Francisco or Brooklyn all-the-sudden makes perfect sense.

This girl, for example, does not live in my undisclosed Front Range Northern Colorado college town:


Neither does she:


Nor does this girl:


Her either:

(it was for that Improv Everywhere no pants day thing..)

(it was for that Improv Everywhere no pants day thing..)

These girls live in cities.  And if you’re a bike fag who lives in a small town, you are saddened right now by the realization that you will not have sex with these girls.

(alt girls in my town, I don’t mean it.  You know you lookin’ fly.  Toolate, you’re already offended?  Fair enough.)

There are many other arguments for and against living in a big city.  You can get a job as a bike messenger and increase your street cred in a city, for instance.  Cities have shows and art and fixed gear forums.

But I can’t help but turn this question into “do I want to be able to ride good roads or do I want to make out with girls whose personal brands are better aligned with my own?”

What does my location say about my own personal brand?  What does blogging about my location say about my personal brand?

Are these my true feelings or is this all a joke?

Will I ever find true alt-love?

Am I ripping off Hipster Runoff now too?

Is this just a lazy post motivated more by guilt for not having blogged in two weeks than an actual desire to share my ironically masked feelings?

Should I just move to Portland despite their high unemployment and lack of creative nonfiction graduate programs, apply for food stamps, start alt cyclocross racing, grow a beard, and be happy?

These are serious questions!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Crispy permalink
    August 11, 2009 11:25 am

    As an older bikefag I say go country. Those chickas are wholly age “inappropriate” for moi. Labels? Whatever happened to anti-consumerism? (Surely Colnago Master X-Light falls outside of appearing AC and one can still play alt!)

  2. Jean Meyer permalink
    August 11, 2009 11:36 am

    move to a city and have sex with hot alt girls

  3. Brecher permalink
    August 11, 2009 11:45 am

    i’m not sure about alt cyclocross and food stamps, but you should definitely grow a beard.

    • bikefag permalink*
      August 11, 2009 3:52 pm

      I wish I could, Brecher. That’s pretty much the only reason I haven’t moved to Portland yet.

      • Brecher permalink
        August 13, 2009 2:49 pm

        what a shame. i was afraid of wearing a beard since i can only grow a moustache and some hair on the chin. but you know… once you ge over it…

  4. marcj permalink
    August 11, 2009 4:42 pm

    Dude, be honest: those hot alt city girls aren’t interested in an anonymous trackside hookup, no matter what how sweet the Chris King bottom bracket you’re rolling/rocking/rubbing/palping on your Salsa Casseroll Single. (And if they were, I don’t want to hear about it, bastard.)

    Speaking from experience, the key is to marry to a nice (hot) girl and just live in the anonymous small town with no regrets. Added bonus: you can live in a place big enough to house all those bikes you can afford cause you’re not paying $2000/month to live in a Williamsburg broom closet.

  5. Lil' Kwittle permalink
    August 11, 2009 5:52 pm

    Just slightly offended, those are hotties with bodies though.

    All I can say about the move is its allot easier to feel original in our UNCFRCT, it kind of bums every time I go to Portland and there are 2,000 other ladies with the same personal brand as me, how am i suppose to find true alt-love if i am actually not interesting at all to those sexy bearded alt-boys with art degrees in Portland? I think your chances here are better that in some city, your a bike fag barista, think about it…

  6. August 11, 2009 7:57 pm

    i dunno. i’ve lived in the country, in hipster cities, now in a not-so-hipster city. i don’t think my life has been that different in these different places. but for finding girls, they’re in the cities. my plan is to catch one and then move someplace where i can have chickens and solar panels.

  7. Johnny Sprocket permalink
    August 12, 2009 6:05 am

    Move to Melbourne, Australia… that’s where 3 of the 4 girls in the pics are from ! We’re as big as Denver, but as cosmopolitan as many other major cool cities around. We have a roadie/fixie hipster culture. Better coffee than you’ll find in most places in the world. And the streets are paved with gold and single women !! Hahahahaaaaa!!!!!!!!!

  8. Grace permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:42 am

    Don’t sell yourself short.
    Shut your mouth and move to Portland.

  9. chris permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:26 pm

    Is it just me or does No.222 have ‘Tosser’ emblazoned on his shorts and shirt ?
    Perhaps other Bikefags are migrating from the cities ?

  10. Graham permalink
    August 12, 2009 10:32 pm

    Move to Portland. This is what the City of Roses is feeling these days:

  11. August 15, 2009 8:04 pm

    watch out for ALT girls. because you know what else goes along with ALT:


    then you gotta restart.

  12. August 17, 2009 2:51 pm

    Dear bikefag,
    I pondered your problem while “mashing” home from work. It takes me ridiculously little time to ride from one side of the city to the other. I keep telling myself its my legs, but its really the size of the city I live in. I came up with one possible solution: What if you took a regular alt girl from your city and convert her into a fixie girl? I think I will try this. Or is this as uncool as converting a road bike instead of riding a track bike?

  13. Neil permalink
    August 23, 2009 8:56 am


    Just kind of randomly stumbled onto your blog and after reading this post I have an important message: Be my friend! I feel the exact same way as you do, about a lot of things. Currently contemplating moving to a more messenger-bag-friendly city… mostly for the hot-alt-sex options.

    I believe that you live near Boulder or Fort Collins… and I’d be damn AMAZED if I haven’t biked that section of road with the picture that you said took you 15 minutes to get to. I bet it’s here:,-105.162034&spn=0.021401,0.038581&t=h&z=15


  14. bikefag permalink*
    November 30, 2009 10:57 pm

    Neil: you are totally blowing my cover.
    Everyone else: am I a misogynist?

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