Words: Anna Schwinn
Photos: Adam Newman
Originally published in Issue #40
Lately I’ve noticed the bikes and bike accessories available today are rolling along an unfortunate trend towards boring. And it’s bumming me out. What’s considered to be cool and fashionable has gotten narrow and repetitive. The formula has been determined and that’s what we’re being fed, over and over.
I’m bummed out because we’re so evidently complacent about it. Worst of all, the lack of diversity means anything even slightly outside the norm makes us uncomfortable to explore things that haven’t been identified as cool, and to shun anything unusual or different.
How do we buck this boring spiral? Easy. We each need to figure out how to get weird.
Weird is good. Weird is critical. What makes weird bikes wonderful is they push our industry forward and outward. Any ground-breaking innovation is inherently weird at first. A weird bike is cool because it doesn’t follow your rules.
In a high school analogy, the weird bikes are the rebels. They are out back, chain smoking cigarettes or blowing things up in the science lab. They push the limits of every fringe group. And they are shunned or mocked by a mainstream that frankly doesn’t appreciate or understand them. But weird doesn’t care. Weird knows what it is and it doesn’t give a damn what society thinks.
Learning to love weird bikes is not as easy as it sounds. Start with the stuff that’s just weird to you. I’m not saying you have to run out and buy a penny-farthing and fall in love with it. I’m just saying you probably haven’t given certain bikes a lot of thought, so take a minute and look ‘em up.
If you see one, get up close to it and see how it’s different from anything you’ve seen before. Understand why it is significant historically. Understand why people dig them. Try one. Ride one. Because why not? Repeat this for any bike outside your realm of experience.