Fixies, urban cool.

Why do you ride fixed gear? Is it out of bitterness (i.e. ABSSS), you know bomb the system. Or maybe it is to avoid falling into the trap of the sausage syndrome.

Ah, yes, we all know at least one fat middle age guy who after years of inactivity has an epiphany and decides his way to cycling glory and fame is not by riding, but by building an exact Lance Armstrong replicate bike. (BTW, I have no idea which stem did Lance use in the 6th stage of his 5th tour win.) The guy who for all his effort to get the coolest bike just ends up looking like a little stuffed sausage wrapped in spandex.

Everyone has this guy in their town and your heart can't help but go out to him. You feel the pains of sympathy every-time you see him throw one of his little sausage legs over the $6,000 rig. The rig which is so blatantly a substitute for his lack of manhood, that cruel fate saw fit to endow, or not endow him with, as the case may be.

Your heart goes out every bloody time because you are a sucker for such things. It pains you to see that everyone in the world, but him, realizes he just shouldn't be wearing spandex. As cruel as it is, the far too tight team postal replicate jersey and shorts where designed for people who, on a daily basis, actually ride farther than to the corner store for yet one more cool icy treat.

Yes, indeed the world is cruel. So what do you do?

Well, after a hard afternoon of drinking you realize these facts and in a half drunken stupor you jump to your feet and exclaim, "Screw fate... homie don't play that shit!" Then, since money will solve all modern aliments, you whip out the VISA and enter into a bold new world. You buy that courier bag, build a track/fixed gear road bike and get on out into world.

Well, now you can rejoice in the fact you have just officially been declared urban cool...

How do I know this? Well my fine gear hating friends, all life's important information can be obtained from the mass media and as it happens there have been two fairly recent articles declaring that we rule, and everyone should strive to be just like us.

Article 1: KAUT News - http://www.katu.com/news/3619486.html (also attached below)

Article 2: Wired News : - http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/04/67149 (also attached below)

I say say Viva La Revolution. Bikes are a revelation and fixies are the revolution.

You see these bikes are of the people and for the people. Mine for example is worth nothing. It is, through and through, a ghetto fixie and I love it all the more. I stole the frame out a buddy's trash and my only cost was building a rear wheel. And if you don't believe just how low I stoop well then ask him yourself.

The revolution is zen, its riding to ride. No high tech gadgetry, no reverse rise detailers, no 10 gear clusters or nutty VPP suspension invented by the same aliens that built the pyramids and brought you TiVo. Its the zen of the burn, and the drink of celebration. Beer is the medium of this religion.

So does it matter that fixie riding is becoming trendy? Won't it destroy everything?

As I see it no. Make no mistake, the culture eating yuppies will get it all wrong and dilute what we are. But fear not, because they will inevitably make the mistake of throwing too much money at the process. They will have to out do all the other yuppies by building the most out-there custom fixie. Then once they actually start riding, they will see its hard work, get bored, then sell the bikes. Which of course we will buy back at a great price.

Viva La Revolution

NOTE: This is exactly what happened with "free" riding in Vancouver. Go to any sport junkies and you can buy one of a zillion 8 inch travel bikes for less than a small bag of pot
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Comments

gz's picture

HELL YA!

[...] rk" title="Permanent Link: Fixed"> Fixed | June 17th, 2005 Weasel’s got the handle on the New News aobut Fixie proliferation. Figur [...]

Oh wait,
I ride a ten dollar Centurion Fixie because well, everyone else is doing it.

Wease's picture

So gnome, is that a good or a bad thing?

Its a nice gig to be the very first person, but well everybody starts to do anything because they saw someone else doing it. In the end we are all sheep except a select few who are way out there.

I always have this debate withmyself and I have to say the practical side wins. And as far as cycling goes it can only be a good thing the more people who get interested in it. Maybe it means more infastructure for us down the line....

you can only hope!!!!

[...] ol’ flagstaff. Check out fearless gearless and onespeeder. Cool cats. Gnome and Weasel both threw down about the apparent current “fixie craze”. [...]

I see a lot of people getting all worked up because of what kind of bike someone chooses to ride. I personally can't stand "comfort bikes" (aka hybrids). Seriously I CAN'T STAND THEM. The only thing worse than a comfort bike in my opinion is a road bike with up-turned handlebars. *gags* But I fully support anyone who wants to ride them. Why? Because THEY'RE RIDING A BIKE. Any person out there riding any kind of bike is ok by me. It sure beats having them trapsing about in a large SUV.

We put together group rides all the time here in Seattle and we welcome everything from fixed gears, to BMX bike, to racing bikes, and crazybikes. It's all good as long as it's on two wheels and doesn't have a motor. And you know what? Everyone gets along and is stoked to check out everyone else's bike.

One more person on a bike is one more person who is likely to fight for cyclist's rights, and be more willing to yield to a cyclist when they're in their car.

Im glad I am one of maybe 5 fixie riders here in Munich. Makes me feel more original than I really am.

Sadly the inappropriate wearing of spandex is not the sole preserve of cycling fat cats

Spandex is inappropriate? Geeze, no wonder I get all those strange looks!

I've got a fixed gear, bmx and a 20" fold up bike. I love riding all my bikes for different purposes, who cares about the yuppies trying to kill your scene. If those dudes want to ride a Fixed gear instead of their gas guzzling trucks/cars then let them, everyone needs to help out the environment in some way or form. As much as you think you're not part of a scene you actually are because you're being elitist.

seriously, that elitist mentality, the idea that riding a fixie makes you non-conformist, the rants about yuppies and spandex are the precise reasons i'm hesitant when it comes to riding a fixie. Its the scenesters who ruin it for the rest of us, not the other way around. no matter how good you are, how long you have it or how ghetto your setup is, if you're ragging on other people you're just creating your own exclusive box and you end up simply riding to make a statement. I love bikes, i've seen fixies around town and everytime i do, i stop and admire the simplistic beauty of it. same as when i see a rigged out mtb, a ti/carbon road bike or a bmx. Get over yourselves, move over and let the actual enthusiasts enjoy the ride.

Wease's picture

If we are going to start calling names, I prefer "bike snob" over "elitist"

http://www.fearlessgearless.com/2003/09/bike-snob-why-yes-i-am

Yeah, I get that things change... sure. Yep, no one owns a anything... got it. But before you get too high and mighty I am going to call bull shit on you.

I wrote that article 3 years ago when I could smell that change was in the air and just before the "me too" syndrome.

Years back in the 90's mountain biking exploded, a subculture of single speeding (what the site originally started as) emerged as the anti-mountain bike. Who on earth would try and ride up and down trails with only one gear? Those that are clinically insane, that's who! No one was selling complete bikes, you had to either convert an old mountain bike frame or buy a boutique frame and build it up yourself. And there is something to be said for taking this route. When you ran into someone on the trail who "got it," it was a cool clique to be a part of.

Yes, like it or not cliques are fun.

Now before you get all Politically Correct (PC) on me and gather everyone for an enthusiast group hug, there is something unique in this approach that is lost as something goes mainstream. Kinda like Starbucks.

Once upon a time Starfucks was a cool independent coffee shop, a place for people gathered and partake in the age old tradition of yapping it up over a cup of coffee (laptops did not exist then). Then one day, a large (read evil) cooperation saw the potential, bought the original vision, dismantled it into component pieces, had each piece mass produced abroad, then re-assembled the pieces in numerous areas across the country side.

This effectively brought coffee shops (for better or worse) to the masses, so that coffee enthusiasts could once again wrestle the joys of coffee away from the elitists. But in the scalling up something is always lost. While the majority of the component pieces are there, the synergy cannot be reproduce. Somehow along the way the soul is lost.

Fixed gear riding is now falling into the same category.

One of the main things Starbucks misses is a global and local conscious. Sure they may up up a bravado of such but their choices and actions show otherwise. They still do not make much use of fair trade, orgainic or shade grown coffee beyond a marketing ploy. Coffee is an environmental disaster. Basing a business model on unsustainable practices is unethical. Yes, Starbucks now offers some fairtrade, but I suggest you read

http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/index.cfm

Back to fixed gear riding.

Just as the small coffee shop experience loses its soul, upscaling fixed gear bikes has a similar effect. When you had to build your bike up yourself from a track frame set or a converted frame set you understood every piece of your bike. I personally love building my bikes from the ground up. I build everything including the wheels. I know my bikes inside and out.

When you build a bike from the ground up, it become an extension of the self. Then when you went out riding and see someone on a fixed gear you knew they had to do the same thing. Before you even spoke a word, you knew you shared an experience, an understanding. In cities that work to dehumanize us, this is a precious human experience that all to quickly gets stamped out.

Now as long as you have some cash, you can go out and buy a ready made fixed gear bike, just as you can go out and buy the exact same cup of coffee anywhere in the world now. The problem is this is the age of the "me too." Nobody wants to work their way up to anything. There is something to be said of the process.

http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2007/06/its-all-in-details.html

Funny enough I think I now have a better understand what it must have been like for the Klunkers to see mountain bikes go mainstream. And guess what. Once a long time ago, riding mountain bikes was a non-conformist activity too.

Less of the bike snobbery guys!

lol

LOL...

I almost gave "bastard" to bikesnobnyc, I want you to know. But you were bagging on that pink Mercier the other day, so it seemed like fate.

I see the trendiness and I embrace it! My first fixie experience was in State College. Had nothing to do with the style and everything to do with the feelin of riding my buddy's converted trek. It was fun once I got the handle of it. Bikes are sort of candy for me and I get nutty when I see a beat up old bike, or a brand new $$8000.00 super-light bike. It doesn't matter what pretense you ride under, this is also true of motorcycles and a host of other vehicles and trends. Here is a few trendy things: Fly-fishing, Harleys, Hummers, religion, owning a pet (any pet), masturbating (everyone does it), using a PC or a MAC and I could go on and on. When I moved to the "Burke" here in NM I had my very trendy Surly Steamroller stolen. I was so depressed!!! Then, I built up an old Schwinn traveler and it has served me well. The sidewalls are split and the chain has binded on me and I have had loads of laughs on it, however, I walked into Fat Tire the other day and saw a chinese made Masi fixie. It was orange and blue and looked like my trendy self. I fell in love and now I am the proud owner. The bike costs around $600.00 plus tax. But the smiles it brings to my face as I try to dodge yet another stupid hummer with a "W" sticker on it, is priceless. I still ride my Jamis commuter for comfort and my very trendy Colnago Chic around. Oooh, and I still will ride my crappy Traveler! Who cares! As far as I am concerned, unless you have participated in a race or are a bike messenger, you have nothing to critcize ( I have done neither, nor do I plan to because I am trendy). I just enjoy giving Exxon and the likes the symbolic finger by not consuming too much of their product. Just enjoy what you got and if you truly love it you will stick to it, if not, at least you got interested. Maybe we should make the big wheel and the top hat trendy once more? Speaking of trendy, I embody the term, as yesterday I went for groceries at the local coop on my Masi Fixie and filled my backpack full to the brim with about 25lbs of organic produce, then sat outside reading the Alibi and sipping on some Pom white organic tea. WOAW! Talk about a yuppy trendy wannabe? The ride up to my trendy house in my trendy neighborhood and with my trendy city in my trendy state in this most trendy country. Although not quite as trendy as France or Italy, now that is some yuppy trendy bullshit!!!
Ha!

I ride both and I don't see either as being clique-ish or elitist.

When I see those pimple faced college freshmen in their rolled up jeans and a chain attached to their wallet and messenger bag I laugh. it reminds me of the days I wanted to wear a T-bird jacket from the movie Grease. Join the Bloodhound gang! They just want to belong to something thats all. I ride all sorts of bikes, albiet i FIND MY FIXIE MOST LIMITING. - YET MOST HUMBLING.

Isn't it tricky...something is cool when just a few are into it, then it becomes popular or main stream, then it's lame...just like the starbucks example...they were a super hip little community shop, then they went wall street.

I guess bottom line is if you enjoy something, who gives whether more or who is jumping in on the bandwagon.

I just hope sausage man can actually put the bike to some good use and shed some pounds!

Either way, what ever people are saying, fixed gear is hard core! and yeah messengers in NYC are nuts and they rock!

NYC bike messengers are absolutely insane!

Totally! I was out in NYC a few months back, and I saw a courrier jam between a bunch of taxis, then weave through a bunch in a crosswalk. Gotta get those docs to the law offices!

I tell you what, regardless of who or the type of bikes you guys are all using...you are benefiting from 2 serious things....you are saving tons of moolah on gas, and you are getting in or are in great physical shape! Hey, let the fat dude ride...maybe he will become one serious biker...you never know.

Vespa's are becoming very popular in Manhattan. Quick the inexpensive ride. I'm scared of riding a bike in the city, cabbies are too crazy.