A friend recently routed me to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com. Go ahead and fire off those angry e-mails about stereotyping. Some stereotypes are true. And some stereotypes are funny because they are true. Naturally when I discovered that #61 on the stuff white people like list was about cycling, I was intrigued. The stereotypes mentioned in #61 are hilarious because they are true about me. So here’s #61 in all it’s hilarity with a few observations of my own thrown in.
A good place to find white people on a Saturday is at a Bike Shop. Bike shops are almost entirely staffed and patronized by white people! There also seems to be a tattoo minimum requirement in order to work at my favorite bike shop.
But not all white people love bicycles in the same way, there is much diversity. First up, we have the younger urban white folks who absolutely love their fixed gear bicycles. These are seen all over college towns, Silverlake in LA, Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Queen West in Toronto, and Victoria, British Columbia. Fixed gear bicycles meet a lot of requirements for white person acceptance. They can be made from older (i.e. vintage) bicycles, thus allowing the rider to have a unique bike that is unlikely to be ridden by anyone else in town. They are also easily customizable with expensive things Aerospoke rims, Phil Wood Hubs, and Nitto Parts. The combination of rare bicycles and expensive parts makes it easy for white people to judge other white people on the quality and originality of their bicycles. This is important in determining if someone is or isn’t cooler than you. I don’t need to ride a fixie to establish this. Everyone is cooler than I am. Except unicyclists.
White people also like Mountain Bikes because it lets them be in nature. It’s really not more complicated than that. I also find that Frank hands out regular lessons in humility. Man, imagine how big my head would be without Frank chucking me to the ground every now and then.
And finally, they love expensive Road Bikes and the accompanying spandex uniforms. This enables them to ride long distances and wear really tight clothes without any social stigmas. I love me some Spandex. Especially if I can top it with a jersey so bright that even the shortest of glances in my direction causes retinal bleeding.
These types of riders will spend upwards of $5,000 on a bicycle and up to $400 on accessories, but will not ride to work. Perhaps because they cannot wear the spandex. You’d be surprised how comfortable Spandex are under work clothes. It’s actually the helmet hair and the necessary change of shoes that keep me from riding to work.
It is important that you never question why someone needs a $5000 bicycle since the answer is always “performance.” The Rocket cost far, far less than five grand. She may not be fancy, but I’d give her performance an A+.
For the most part, these rules have been unisex. But there is a special category of bicycles that appeal far more to white women, the European city bike (pictured). White women have a lot of fantasies about idealized lives, and one of them is living in Europe and riding around an old city on one of these bikes. They dream about waking up and riding to a little cafe, then visiting bakeries and cheese shops and finally riding home to prepare a fancy meal for their friends who will all eat under a canopy with white Christmas lights. This information can be used to help gain the trust/admiration of a white woman, especially if you can pull off a lie about how your mother told you about how she used to do all of these things when she was younger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I had a basket on the front of my bike with a giant loaf of bakery fresh bread in it. Around mile 65 I will eat anything that’s not nailed down. A loaf of hot bread would definitely do the trick and might even tide me over for another 1.7 miles. Then I’d be back to scavenging through my seatpack for year old Clif bars.
And of course, it goes without saying that white people who ride bikes like to talk about how they are saving the earth. If you know a person who rides to work, you should take them aside and say “Hey, thanks. Sincerely, The Earth.” Then give a thumbs up. That white person will ride home on a cloud. Ok, this is especially funny to me. Sure, I recycle. I prefer a blanket to turning on the heater. I wash my clothes in cold water, but I don’t consider myself to be an environmental activist. People assume I am an environmentalist ALL THE TIME. I drive a hybrid. I enjoy walking to work. I like riding my bike. It just so happens that the things I like are environmentally friendly. So, sure give me a thumbs up. As for riding a cloud home, it sounds awesome, but I prefer to walk, thanks.