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 Hesse's take in "Cruiser bikes suck: They attract Philistines and ruin cycling for the rest of us"; here's Chester's:
While some people bemoan the cruiser bike trend and the nostalgia that comes with it, these overly comfortable velocipedes have completely transformed the way people look at riding a bicycle. They are the best thing to hit Denver since microbreweries.
The obvious health advantages are more than enough reason to get on one, but cruisers have also awakened so many sleeping potential bike riders that some of the biggest cities in the nation have determined it necessary to allocated public funding for the creation of efficient and affordable public bicycle trading systems like B-Cycle.
Sure, rolling around hilly Denver on a fifty-pound chunk of metal doesn't make much sense as a daily commuting option, but but the health trade off is worth much more than the value of the bike. After all, two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and a bike ride can burn almost six hundred calories per hour, even if its just a spin around the park. That means cruisers serve a viable purpose in world of bicycles.
And cruiser bikes have influenced something much bigger than just a few hipsters on Capital Hill: enter the Denver Cruiser rides. The DCR attracts thousands of burgeoning bicycle enthusiasts every Wednesday night during the summer. This event draws on the popularity of cruiser bikes, promoting the clunky vintage cruisers with themed nights ranging from "Back in Black" to "America! Fuck Yea!"
This draws on the simple fact that people enjoy being together, being outside, and having fun. Cruiser bikes, whether we diehard cyclists love it or not, have put more cheeks on seats than any hipster influence ever will.
Cruiser bikes also reduce pollution. In Portland, Oregon, a study showed that the trail network, which promotes bicycling, saved the city $115 million in healthcare costs. Buy a bike and save on healthcare. Your bike will pay for itself in less than a year.
The argument of impracticality is absolutely absurd. As a cyclist myself, I hear from all my friends on $2,000 road bikes, $700 fixed-gear bikes, and $100 Craigslist pick-ups, that cruisers are simply pointless. They aren't. The fact that more people are riding them is winning the argument itself, but more so, it's one less car. Riding whatever bike you own to a bar also means you are going to get home without a DUI.
And here's one last fact to sleep on before you go put some air in the tires of that old clunker rusting outside of your garage: Riding a bike for thirty minutes per day will make your butt look better, make you look cool, and get you laid.
There is no reason to not own a bike, and if you happen to choose the cruiser bike as your means of getting around, then more power to you.
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