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9 Signs That You’re a Cycling Hipster

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The cycling world is awash with different kinds of people, from all walks of life, sharing one unbridled passion – riding their bikes. There are a few, however, who like to think of themselves as a cut above the rest, self-proclaimed trendsetters that love nothing more than to tell you how they were sporting a certain kind of style before it became ‘cool’.



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We are, of course, talking about the cycling hipster. Here are nine signs that you may just be one of them…

You drink flat whites exclusively

Coffee and cycling go hand in hand, the bean and the bike sharing close to a century of intimate history. With such a detailed history, however, comes a big debate – what type of coffee is the best? Ask a pro and they’ll tell you an espresso, maybe a cappuccino if they’re feeling cheeky. Ask one of us more leisurely riders, and we’ll probably reply with an infinite number of options, from spiced lattes to caramel frappés – whatever floats your boat really.

Ask a hipster however and they’ll only have one answer, ‘I’ll take a flat white please.’ These dainty cups of rich espresso and milky microfoam are one of the new kids on the coffee block, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of the most popular choices of coffee in cycling cafés all around the country. Hipsters should be aware of this growing popularity; soon they’ll have to go and find another new and edgy coffee to obsess over. Maybe an oat milk flat white…



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You wear flannel shirts while riding

We’re cyclists, not pedalling lumberjacks. Riding with a flailing flannel shirt is not going to help you ride any faster, in fact, it’s going to slow you down massively. These heavy, flapping shirts basically act like parachutes when you’re on the bike, hitting you with one huge aerodynamic encumbrance.

There’s a reason the pros have been wearing tight-fitting clothing since the 1900s, let’s try to keep it that way.



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You own a gravel bike

Gravel bikes are one of the biggest trends in the cycling world at the moment, a craze driven largely by the US market with trendy races like the Dirty Kanza and the Filthy 50. These bikes are awesome machines, designed to glide over rough and broken roads, making them especially useful in the US where there’s a vast network of gravelled tracks and fireroads to ride on.

In the UK however, you’re going to struggle to find such ‘perfect’ stretches of gravel. Instead, what lines our roads are potholes – just as likely to induce a puncture as gravel, but far less fun to ride over. For many of us, smooth roads are an absolute luxury and something we don’t get to ride very often; no wonder we find it strange that some people would actively seek out these rough roads to ride their bikes over.

You sport a full beard and handlebar moustache

Okay, we must admit, beards and moustaches are cool – they have been ever since the Vikings started rocking them a thousand years ago. What isn’t cool, however, is a beard or moustache matted with sticky energy gels and laden with crumbs; in fact, we’d go as far to say it’s downright disgusting and several pro cycling teams would agree with us.

That hasn’t stopped the hipsters though, they continue to rock up to our weekend club rides sporting full and majestic beards, clueless to the fact that in a matter of hours it’s going to be covered in a nasty concoction of sweat, drool and sticky gel. Unfortunately, even the pros at Specialized are on their side. One of their recent studies in the Win Tunnel found that beards had no adverse effect on performance, giving the green light to cycling hipsters all around the world to continue growing out their beards.


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You’re too cool for brakes

One of the hallmarks of a cycling hipster is the fixed geared bicycle, a bike with no brakes and just a single gear. While a cycling hipster may own a number of different bikes, their fixie will take pride of place among the fleet.

Not only are fixed gear bikes completely impractical for most kinds of riding, they’re also quite dangerous. With no brakes to help you come to a stop, your reaction time to situations happening on the road is greatly increased – bad news for both yourself and whoever else is involved. If you are going to ride a fixed gear bike, make sure you either equip it with at least one brake (on the front), or keep it solely for riding on the velodrome.


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Your cycling kit is older than you

Everyone likes to remember the good old days, reminiscing back to times when riders like Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault were crushing and dominating races all across Europe. But that doesn’t mean we have to copy their style and wear their retro kit.

Ask anyone wearing a retro Bianchi, Molteni or La Vie Claire kit to the local club ride to name the famous rider that popularised their strip. If they answer along the lines of, ‘well, I found it in a vintage kilo sale,’ then you know they’re a cycling hipster.

You wear cycling caps, off the bike

Cycling caps are fantastic little pieces of kit and do give us a chance to show off our trendy fashion tastes. But they’re not to be worn off the bike, oh no. While we will make exceptions for wearing them during café stops, or during podium celebrations, we simply cannot excuse wearing one outside of the cycling sphere.



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Are you thinking of donning your retro Mapei cap to head out to the local shops? Unless you want to be brandished a cycling hipster, then don’t.

Your go-to café order is avocado on toast

There are such things as popular foods, made trendy by Instagram posts and countless food-related hashtags. Right now, we’re living in the ‘Age of the Avocado’, a time when large green berries from Southern Central Mexico are dominating the menus of cycling cafés across the country.

What happened to the tasty, simple and quintessentially British delicacy of beans on toast, or the humble jacket potato? These perfect, post-ride recovery meals are slowly being phased out, much to the delight of cycling hipsters.



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Your favourite ride is around Richmond Park

Richmond Park is a great place to ride your bike and an ideal location for those looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of central London. It is, by no means however, the best place to ride your bike.

If you start recommending the local group ride head to the park to try out the infamous Dark Hill, then they’re going to laugh you out of town. There are so many more and better places to ride your bike in the UK – just check out some of the places we’ve visited with our Great British Bike Rides series, from South Wales all the way north to the Cairngorms in Scotland.

The above is a list of ‘signs’ to help you recognise a cycling hipster, potentially even diagnose it in yourself. In truth, many of us who like to think of ourselves as traditionalists will associate with at least one of these ‘signs’, proving that you can’t really categorise such a diverse group of people. Cycling is so great because we have such a large melting pot of people – without the hipsters, it just wouldn’t be the same.

Words by Will Newton

Do you have any more suggestions for how to spot a cycling hipster? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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