Friday, September 14, 2007

Newman Lake Loop and Welcoming The Hipsters to Spokane

Liza and I had plans to take a mini bike tour this weekend, but some stuff happened and we had to cancel, but we still had Friday cleared. So, we decided to do one of my favorite loops: The Newman Lake Loop. The link there goes to the bikely map of the loop -- just shows the interesting bit, which is up Lehman Road, to Forker, over the hill via Temple Road and down to Newman Lake.

This is a great ride that I've not done for over a year. Last time I went it was April of 2006 and there was a ton of mud. A truck had just been abandoned on one of the tough sections of road back in ought-six (left picture). The truck is still there, but it's been heavily vandalized (right).

Anyway, this ride is another great "fat-tired road bike" ride. It's mostly road, with a nice 5 or 6 miles of dirt -- some county road, some logging road, and a wonderful section of Summer-Only road. A hard climb. A harder descent. And nice views.

We got back into town at around 2pm and had a snack at Madeline's Bakery there on Main and Post. What a great spot to watch folks. I sat there one morning about 2 weeks ago and was really surprised by the number of early morning commuter cyclists I saw. At 2pm on a Friday, it's a whole different show. We saw a bunch of sidewalk riders -- one girl in particular who appeared to be time-trialing on the sidewalk, against traffic, and slaloming through groups of pedestrians. A lot of older BMX dudes. And one righteous dude on a BMX who was doing power skids and bunny hops while slaloming through walkers on Post. Liza was cheering him on -- especially when he wheelied or did other cool stuff.

But then we saw them. They have arrived: the fixie hipsters. Two of them -- complete with spoke cards, top tube pads, deep v's, the clipped and flipped drops on one bike, and... wait for it... the ultra-short "cause I gotta fit through tight traffic" chopped riser bars on the other bike. I've pretty much become a disciple of Mr Bike Snob of NYC with regard to most of the fixed bikes I see in the online galleries. You never see them around here -- until now.

So here I am calling the kettle black. I love riding fixed and I even have a deep V rim on one of my bikes, but my fixed gear bikes are really dorky. I have brakes and everything. So there. I'm cool cause I'm lame. I'm probably jealous because I'm the nerd that doesn't match anything on my bike or what I wear to my bike or even with the other clothes I'm wearing at the time. And I wear SPD sandals. With wool socks. All nerdy by any standard.

The truth of it is I welcome the hipsters. We have a pretty narrow and sickly bike culture here in Spokane and the hipsters are a critical component to any healthy bike culture. Spokane is usually about 5-10 years behind all other cities when it comes to fashion and fads, so this timing is about right for the fixed hipsters to move in.

That said, it was still a shock to see these well-kept hipsters grooving down Post on their boutiquey fixed bikes. I'm happy that I will have to get used to seeing more. Welcome hipsters. Welcome to Spokane.

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