Saturday, January 26, 2013


The bike of the future? Is era of the Fat over already? Well have another beer, beer snob and Fat Bike lover and don't worry, it will be okay. Now blow into this breathalyzer you drunken loser.

There's a new bike in town and I wouldn't have know a thing about it until I ran over an especially snarky story posted on Fast Company Connection, written by digi-journo Mark Wilson about Joey Ruiter's latest two-wheel work of art. You can read the entire article here.

Mark Wilson is a writer who started, a simple way to give back every day. His work has also appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, ... 
Just so you don't think that the story and the writer aren't real, and that I've been "Catfished" by Wilson, drooling on my iPhone or laptop while I slip into my nightly coma reading his culture kidney-punching prose, above you'll find his photo and a sample of his digi-journo accomplishments. I love the part about "giving back." I think that's a lot of what I do so I'm beating him to the punch: Crazy Bastards -Giving Back Everyday™. 

Of course for all I know, this could be the "real" Mark Wilson, and the tin hat on his head could be the entire Fast Company Connection facility. But maybe not ...

Here's the complete headline and photo that kicked off the article about the unusual "Growler" bike. 
The Growler Bike: Pedal Power For Beer Snobs

I'm okay with the headline, in fact slap some fat tires on this baby and you'll probably see them lined up by the hundreds in front of Founders every night of the week, standing by to cart the beer snobs and their Growlers back home. The other part, about the DUI inspiration, I found a little troubling. I wasn't quite connecting Micro-Brews and DUI's. The latter makes me think more "Miller Lite" and Sport Bars. But that's just me. Which is something the maybe Wilson should have said to himself sometime while writing this story. 

In the interview with Joey Ruiter, creator of some wonderful works of art on two wheels (maybe you've seen one of his bikes displayed at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during art prize) Ruiter tipped his artist's beret to the ingenuity of the people on the Westside that cobble together some pretty crazy bikes.

Here's an excerpt from the actual article. Read on, readers ...

“The West-ee’s is a term for people in our community that lost their license for DUI and now use bicycles for everything,” Ruiter explains. “Local bike shops help outfit commuters with a rack and such. The carts, baskets, trailers, packs, whatever, that they make are all really great.”

Here's what Ruiter was talking about. Hey, I could use that. Does it come in carbon?
Taking Ruiter's quote about his "inspiration" Wilson grabs the artist's paint brush out of his hand and turns it into a roller, in which he rolls over everyone in the Westside ...
Here's what Wilson had to say about Grand Rapids and the Westside:

I’d never heard the term “West-ee” before this interview, nor had I ever heard any word for people who now ride bikes following a DUI. But I imagine them as a highly ingenious sect of Ruiter’s hometown of Grand Rapids, a people who have all the charm of a cartoon hobo (the kind with the handkerchief tied to a sick) and all the ingenuity of an Apollo 13 astronaut.

Mark Wilson and his Editor, Cliff Kuong, didn't give us an illustration of what they think Westiders, or West-eeze looked like. But when you start calling people cartoon characters, I think you need to bust out the cartoon. 

A Konkles or a Kousin's kustomer? I saw him walking down Leonard just like this - and it was January!

But it doesn't stop there. Wilson keeps on going and his next interpretation of Ruiter's thoughts takes it to a whole new level, I think. But you decide.

The size, shape, and weight of the Growler creates a multitude of issues,” Ruiter tells Co.Design. “It should be as protected as possible, it should feel like the heart of the bike, the motor, the power, and really focus the attention on it. I overthink everything.”
But in reality, the Growler City Bike isn’t just about safely stowing your moonshine. It’s about moving on with your life after a bad decision--and finding a way to move on without the promise of making any better decisions in the future. In other words, it’s human nature on wheels.

So Wilson has really flipped the switch here. You're not riding a bike because you want to, it's because you made a bad decision, you're stupid and you'll never make a good decision in you're life because you're not capable, or because you're not from Kalamazoo, where Wilson is from. And Micro-Brews are now "moonshine." I'll alert Founders, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Hop Cat, Brewery Vivant and the new Perrine Brewery today.

So here's what Wilson sees when he looks at the Growler Bike:

From the language, I'm thinking this is Pulaski Days - How Westee can you get?

 I sense a sense of superiority by Wilson and company. Maybe it's because they are from Kalamazoo. Maybe it's because there are no windows in his mom's basement. But  I can "totally" see why you'd feel so above it all living in Kazoo. Kalamazoo is the the real center of the cultural universe, isn't it?  I mean look at what they've contributed to society.

I'm sitting by my drool covered iPhone waiting for a call to do a story on my new bike design. What do you think I should call it? 

My thought is the "Whiner-Winer." What do you think?


  1. well said...tell the Growler bike to go to hell

  2. I like the Growler Bike. Are you the one wearing that tin hat?

  3. In the usa you can get a dui on a bike, so whats the point of the bike again? seems like a backpack would be better anyway