Friday, May 18, 2012

The Hipster Highway

Bryan was pretty bummed out after the latest edition of Wednesday Night Worlds. Apparently, he was among a group of 20 cyclists that were momentarily detained at some Washington county crossroads for rolling through a stop sign. Bryan was irritated and defiant. He wondered whether they were being unfairly singled out. See for yourself:

I know of plenty of roads where cyclists don't have a bulls-eye on their backs — both for unnecessary law enforcement and idiots in pickup trucks.

Bry-bry-bry-bry BRYAN!!!

Relax buddy. You need to bring it down a notch or two.

Come take a ride with me down idyllic lane. No bulls-eyes, or idiot pickups. Just free lovin' cyclists and motorists co-existing on the same stretch of tarmac.

And best of all, its right here in Sweet Home Algomaha.

It's called "Benson Route #1 and it connects Downtown Omaha to Historic Benson.

I like everything about this bike trail but its name, "Benson Route". That's a terrible name. A better name could have been the Hipster Highway. Why? Because everyone who rides the Hipster -- Benson Route #1 is all about freedom, man.

Hang on. This one's for my dear Mom, who may not know what a hipster is. Hi Mom, the Urban Dictionary describes a hipster as:

A person in between the ages of young teenager to early thirties who wears vintage/thrift store clothing and tends to embrace the underground, indie culture (art, books, music) instead of the mainstream.

Or, in unequivocal terms, hipsters are the modern day hippie.

Anyway, somebody recently suggested that the reason Omaha's Mayor Jim Suttle created Benson Route #1 was strategic. It's not necessarily because he likes bicycles or alternate forms of transportation. No, it's more about the relocation of undesirables. Like, Mayor Suttle is some sort of modern day Pied Piper who's been tasked to shunt the hippies out of the Old Market and into Benson, where an eclectic mix of grungy pubs, coffee shops and tattoo parlors await.

Recently, I went down to check out the Old Market's hipster scene. And what I found there was true: no longer were there clove-smoking, bearded men in skinny jeans riding single speeds on the Howard Street's cobbles. Sadly, there were even visible indications that cyclists were no longer welcome there. Here's one such example:

No, I didn't see any cyclists on the sidewalk today. But nobody seemed to mind this feller on the skateboard. Tsk. Tsk.

So anyway, I set about looking for the hip clan by tracing the Benson Route to its terminus. I picked up the trail on 16th and Burt Street in NoDo.

A mile or so later I came upon my first distance marker to Benson

3.6 miles to Benson. By the city planner's calculation, I'd arrive there in 25 minutes. Wait, what? 25 minutes? That comes out to 8.6 mph average. When I was a runner, I could cover 5K in 17 minutes. Maybe the city planners were also also trying to drain the Old Market of runners/joggers too.

The thought of our aldermen being runner-inclusive made me happy.

See Bryan? Look what the Hipster Highway does to a guy's disposition. Smiles everywhere.

My smiled carried me through Bemis Park and past Olympia Cycles

I then rocketed down Hamilton St and past the Homey Inn...

... through the historic Country Club neighborhood

... until I arrived at the termination point: Benson

Wait a moment. Begins? This is not where the Benson Route ends, but where it begins? I was confused. Was this some sort of Mayor Suttle paradox -- like when you travel the speed of light you can see the back of your head or something?

It's a trap!

By then, it was too late, for my eyes had already come to rest on the Beercade.

The Beercade is the latest to land on the Benson strip. It's half pub, half arcade and 100% hipster nerdville. It was like arriving in heaven.

Best of all, Joust World Record holder Lonnie McDonald will be here this Saturday to flip their machine.

That's it. If you need me, you can find me at the Beercade playing the Jurassic Park pinball machine. At least until 2:00PM Saturday. Cause that's when Joust will be on like Donkey Kong. Or something like that.

Care to join me Bryan?


  1. The sad thing Brady was we didn't really even roll the stop sign. We stopped, and one person (who was at the front) did not stop completely, thus drawing the scolding from Johnny law. It sucked to get scolded for actually doing it right for once, but I guess we earned it considering all of the other times we've absolutely blown through that intersection at mach 10.

  2. I'm going to be racing on Saturday. You should join me. Now THAT'S fun.