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Old 01-15-08, 10:44 PM   #1
Suttree
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The Iran of Cycling: fixed gear (fixed-gear?)

I had to ask. Don't want to start a war here but seriously I
want Foo's opinions. I'm just curious. Foo is a cross section of
all kinds of cyclists. Thus your opinions will be valuable and interesting
Call it sociology. Pure curiousity.

Bike snob called the crop current fixed-gear riders the "Iran of Cycling"

http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html

I thought it was really, really funny. So what do you all think of this
cohort of cyclists and their predilections? I didn't put this in X forum because
I want Foo's opinion. I hold aside, completely and totally, my own partisan
stance (which by the way is moving towards the retro-grouch version of fg--
think waxed cotton seat bags and lugged steel).

Is this culture of fixed gear a rip-off? A *******ization? Free-spirited kids?
Unruly attitudinal jerks? Will it destroy knees? Do you simply not care?
Are you sick of u-lock wielding simians polluting your bike lanes? Is
it all that? Is it zen? A return to DIY roots?

Not talking about true track or path racing, off-season roadie training,
old tyme ASC hubs, Major Taylor or your granpa who rode a fixed-gear bike
cuz it was all he had.

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Old 01-15-08, 10:55 PM   #2
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I have a fixed gear bike but it ain`t the end-all-be-all. I also have a high$ CF road bike. It ain't the end all be all either. I don`t have any tatoos. I am not cool and I am old enough to realize I never was. I like jeans and T-shirts. If I could own only one bike it would be my 13 year old mountain bike. I can go any where on it. I`m not a bike snob, there is always someone faster, wealthier , trendier. I just like to ride my bike.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:58 PM   #3
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I have a fixed gear bike but it ain`t the end-all-be-all. I also have a high$ CF road bike. It ain't the end all be all either. I don`t have any tatoos. I am not cool and I am old enough to realize I never was. I like jeans and T-shirts. If I could own only one bike it would be my 13 year old mountain bike. I can go any where on it. I`m not a bike snob, there is always someone faster, wealthier , trendier. I just like to ride my bike.
This is all good. I agree with you in almost all regards--except I seldom go
off road so if I were limited to one bike it would be a road bike with
gears and a porteur rack. I'm kinda talking about the cultural manifestation
of all the fixed-gear stuff--not individuals who may be totally reasonable people--as
you seem to be.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:08 PM   #4
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I wouldn't say the Iran of cycling, more like the Brooklyn of Cycling.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:09 PM   #5
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I wouldn't say the Iran of cycling, more like the Brooklyn of Cycling.
good metaphor. captures the demographic well. messengers being displaced
by others (*cough*hipsters*cough*) with some trackies, cyclists, commuters,
roadies and retro-grouches thrown in
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Old 01-15-08, 11:22 PM   #6
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I really can't find it in me to get upset over even the most stereotypical brakeless, nouveau-punk, pseudo-anarchist hipster fixed-gear rider. I'll grant that I don't exactly live in a "mecca" of such people, but even so, it doesn't bother me.

These people are (generally) building, or at least customizing their own bikes, and I think that's pretty cool, even if the resulting bikes may or may not be something that is pleasing to my eye, or something that would seem to make sense. They're having fun with whatever they put together for whatever their purpose. Track racing, long-distance riding, traversing city streets, riding them like giant BMX bikes, or simply hanging them on the wall as art, it's all in good fun.

Fixed gear bikes may be reaching trendy status, but again, so what? I still think fixed gear bikes are fun to ride, whether or not Mr. Popped Collar Frat Boy has one.

Sure, some fixed-gear riders may be dickbags (and they may be vocal to the point where they seem like the majority), but there are dickbag road bikers, dickbag mountain bikers, and I'm sure there's even a dickbag bike tourer or two out there.

So go forth! Wear thy skinny jeans, vegan slip-on shoes, ironic t-shirt and no helmet on your riser-equipped brakeless conversion! Do what you like and have fun! Just don't be a dickbag. No one likes a dickbag.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:26 PM   #7
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I just think they are fun to ride.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:31 PM   #8
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I just think they are fun to ride.
And really, what else matters?

I'm so glad I finally got around to building one up. It's really a ton of fun. I really like the aesthetic, too. I'm really a fan of simplicity, and such a bike is about the epitome of simplicity, at least for a conventional bicycle. Pretty, too.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:33 PM   #9
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I just think they are fun to ride.
That is for shizzle. Crossing town without putting a foot down is fun.

Sometimes the attitude of other fg riders makes me ashamed to ride fixed.
Somewhat more lately--less than in the past. Having spent some time fixing up bikes
for people who really can't afford any kind of decent bike the exclusionary
attitude and one-upmanship of fg culture rubs me the wrong way. That is nothing
new to cycling per say, but it runs against the DIY origins of this current crop
of fixed gear riders.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:35 PM   #10
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And really, what else matters?

I'm so glad I finally got around to building one up. It's really a ton of fun. I really like the aesthetic, too. I'm really a fan of simplicity, and such a bike is about the epitome of simplicity, at least for a conventional bicycle. Pretty, too.
Yup, I love the sleek, simplistic lines of a fixed gear bike. I love the way my body moves the bike either slow or fast depending on how my legs move. I love the lightness of it all.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:35 PM   #11
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And really, what else matters?

I'm so glad I finally got around to building one up. It's really a ton of fun. I really like the aesthetic, too. I'm really a fan of simplicity, and such a bike is about the epitome of simplicity, at least for a conventional bicycle. Pretty, too.
I'm on the same page with you for most of this. I am just disappointed in the culture at times.
I think we have similar taste in bikes.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:36 PM   #12
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Sometimes the attitude of other fg riders makes me ashamed to ride fixed.
I can certainly see that. The SSFG forum is rather unpleasant at times... okay, most of the time. I try not to make that connection, though. Arseholes are arseholes no matter what they ride or drive.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:38 PM   #13
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That is for shizzle. Crossing town without putting a foot down is fun.

Sometimes the attitude of other fg riders makes me ashamed to ride fixed.
Somewhat more now than lately. Having spent some time fixing up bikes
for people who really can't afford any kind of decent bike the exclusionary
attitude and one-upmanship of fg culture rubs me the wrong way. That is nothing
new to cycling per say, but it runs against the DIY origins of this current crop
of fixed gear riders.
Yes, there is definitely an elitism that I see in some riders that I wish I didn't see. But hey, there are people that will act that way no matter what they are doing. As long as you stay grounded and keep everything real, then let them live in their own worlds. I'll just smile and go along my merry way.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:39 PM   #14
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Yup, I love the sleek, simplistic lines of a fixed gear bike. I love the way my body moves the bike either slow or fast depending on how my legs move. I love the lightness of it all.
Yep. Being directly in control of your speed is a really neat feeling. Riding a fixed gear bike is exactly like riding any other bike, but at the same time, completely different. I don't know, I guess that's the "zen" so often spoke of and made fun of.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:40 PM   #15
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I don't get it.
When i rode my Mountain bike i virtually never used the shifter cause the dérailleur was shot which sort of made it a fixed in sense. I don't get it. I didn't realize there was a sub-culture. or that i had to wear special clothings, special tattoos or act a special way.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:40 PM   #16
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I don't get it.
When i rode my Mountain bike i virtually never used the shifter cause the dérailleur was shot which sort of made it a fixed in sense. I don't get it. I didn't realize there was a sub-culture. or that i had to wear special clothings, special tattoos or act a special way.
this not getting it is called zen.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:40 PM   #17
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Yep. Being directly in control of your speed is a really neat feeling. Riding a fixed gear bike is exactly like riding any other bike, but at the same time, completely different. I don't know, I guess that's the "zen" so often spoke of and made fun of.
Fixed as in the pedal always spins even when you're not pedaling?
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Old 01-15-08, 11:42 PM   #18
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Fixed as in the pedal always spins even when you're not pedaling?
yes, as long as the rear wheel is turning, and in the same direction.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:43 PM   #19
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There is pressure and resistance. There is push and pull. There is perpetual motion. All at the same time.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:43 PM   #20
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I'm on the same page with you for most of this. I am just disappointed in the culture at times.
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Yes, there is definitely an elitism that I see in some riders that I wish I didn't see.
Understood. It would be nice if there were a more pleasant community (like a Foo for fixed gear), for sure.

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I think we have similar taste in bikes.
Seems like.

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let them live in their own worlds. I'll just smile and go along my merry way.
That's about my attitude as well. Them having an attitude about whatever it is they have an attitude needn't affect my own.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:45 PM   #21
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Fixed as in the pedal always spins even when you're not pedaling?
Right. There's no freewheel. The cog in the rear is attached directly to the hub, and cannot move independently from it.

One can, at least in theory, travel backwards by pedaling backwards.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:46 PM   #22
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That's about my attitude as well. Them having an attitude about whatever it is they have an attitude needn't affect my own.
The way I see it is that life is too short and too precious to burden myself with the annoyances of others. I have my own happiness to think of!
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Old 01-15-08, 11:47 PM   #23
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you mean all the fixie ridin' hipster poseurs out there?

come to Portland. ride your bike. any bike. who cares?
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Old 01-15-08, 11:47 PM   #24
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One can, at least in theory, travel backwards by pedaling backwards.
That is a LOT more difficult than it sounds! I can barely move backwards a few feet without losing my balance. Damn learning curves....
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Old 01-15-08, 11:47 PM   #25
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I've been thinking of selling mine, but then I keep remembering how fun my fixie is to the point that I decided to start building a 2nd fixie.
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