If you were a bicycle, what kind of bicycle would you be?
— Katie, Hillcrest
You’re probably thinking I’ll say, “Vintage fixed-gear conversion” or maybe “Reproduction pennyfarthing,” but you would be wronger than a Peugeot jersey and a Colnago hat in the same kit.
No, there is only one bicycle so one-of-a-kind and quirky that it could ever stand in for me in some bizarre, anthropomorphic, velodramatic fantasy land. Only one bike company had the courage to stand before the glacial force of technological innovation and scream, “No! Carbon fiber and other advanced materials are not the way to go! We’ll make a metal bike, thank you very much, and attach all kinds of kooky details to it because reasons!”
I’m talking, of course, about the Bridgestone RB-1. Much like a hipster listening to vinyl records while he uses his typewriter to pen a serious blog entry about his 19th-century handlebar mustache that he trims with a safety razor when he isn’t busy farming his own herb garden in one of those indoor aquaculture systems where you plant seeds on top of a goldfish bowl and the plants eat the goldfish poop to survive (how cool are those?), Bridgestone ignored every piece of burgeoning, early-’90s bicycle technology and made a bike venerating old, outmoded stuff because they believed in something more ephemeral than gobbling up the newest and shiniest.
They had hipster values!
Bridgestone was, of course, woefully wrong, and went swiftly out of business for refusing to utilize superior materials and techniques to create a product that could compete in a rapidly evolving market. Business 101, amirite?
Either way, as cautionary tale, or as symbol of hipster values, I’m a B-stone to the core. It’s just too bad I can’t actually afford one of their bikes, since bike geeks with “values” have driven the cost of a vintage RB-1 higher than Francesco Moser’s doped-up red-blood-cell count during his 1984 hour record….hey-ooooooh!