Looking around here [gestures vaguely at his garage] I realize that I have enough odds and ends laying around that I could build up a hipster bike if merely I had a frame. And occasionally UO-8 frames show up on Craigslist for $30, so . . .
What is a hipster bike? Here in Portland, it is a plain diamond frame (can be anything, bonus points for being a valuable vintage racer that's had its derailleur hanger sawed off) with a single-speed drivetrain (but not a fixed-gear, that being too hard-core for hipsters), bullhorns or track drops (so that we look really cool), a front brake and an inline lever, and a skinny guy in black jeans perched thereon. Maybe smoking a cig, maybe wearing a trilby, but maybe not.
I see these things all the time. To their owners' credit, they are actually being ridden, more than from one beer joint to the next. On my daily commute, I'd say I see 40% road bikes, 40% flat bar bikes (mountain, city, hybrid), and 20% this sort of single-speed hipster ride.
Maybe I've lived here long enough that the local ways are starting to mossify my judgment, but I have come to sort of like how these machines look. They say "I don't fuss about all that complicated bike nerd stuff, or fret about leaving a bunch of money parked on the sidewalk, I'm cool enough and strong enough to get around on my stripped-down beater-chic speed machine".
Now, I pass these guys enough to know that the actual benefits of a single-speed do not include actually being speedy . . . but I wonder, perhaps there are enough benefits that I should keep an eye out for a real cheap excuse me inexpensive frame and build me a hipster ride? UO-8's have horizontal dropouts and no dérailleur hanger . . .
Will they make me strong of leg and lung? Assume I skip all the cigarettes and some of the beer.
Will they free me from the five-minute two-lock ritual and the nervous tic as I wonder if my road bike will still be there when I return?
Will they make me cool, youthful, tatooed and bearded? Kind of mixed emotions about that.
Seriously, have you C&V folks, whose attitudes toward biking seem to mesh pretty well with mine, as a whole, built yourselves such a machine? Do you like it? Why?