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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-18-06, 10:40 AM   #1
RedDeMartini
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What is the political significance of the fixie?

What is the political significance of the fixie?

I am not what you would call an activist, but I am aware of a kind of received wisdom among the posts. The very nature of received wisdom is that it is widely agreed upon and yet, not acknolwedged as a belief. I am curious about the beliefs we hold and do not know we hold.

Please don't attack this question by saying that there are no political or philosophical leanings on this forum, or in our larger community. The avoidance of political discussion seems to encourage the spread of received wisdom.

Also, please don't let this trigger a lot of finger pointer and shouts of "J'accuse, Le Hipster".

The hipster thing is rough. A hipster is essentially a pure consumer. They move from style to style, commiting to nothing, sacrificing nothing. And then when well runs dry, they move on, like locusts. Ever read William Gibson's "the belonging kind"? Funny exposition of this concept into a story.

So, please don't call each other hipsters, it suggests the accuser is holier than though and that the accused is pure consumption. (a little inflammatory)

This is a community and we tend to have a lot in common.
For instance, most of the folks on this forum seem to be twenty something, white, urban or at least cosmopolitan, left leaning, often underemployed and male.
I wonder how this effects the politics of the forum?

How do think this holds up in the real world and where does it go wrong? Are non forum riders more diverse? How?

I am curious what fixie riders in this forum think the fixie, the bicycle, fixie culture etc. means in a political or philosophical sense.

Is it an act of consumption? Of defiance, of independence?

It is associated with a variety of counterculture symbols and aesthetics. Does this make it counterculture?
If so, how?

What is the broader impact of our actions, of our choices?

check out these voices.

"Nation of rebels"
http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/06/20/130535.php

"Center For A New American Dream"
newdream.org

There is a lot of politics on this site, it just pretends to be apolitical.
I am not trying to make things politcal, I am trying clarify the politics that are already there.

I am being very frank and honest,
and though it can be hard to break out of the ironic habit, please try to do the same.

Thank you to those who have been.

Last edited by RedDeMartini; 10-18-06 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 10-18-06, 10:52 AM   #2
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lolzers u r stupid
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Old 10-18-06, 10:54 AM   #3
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It has become a standard hipster accessory with that comes the politics and philosophy of hipsters.
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Old 10-18-06, 10:56 AM   #4
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Hate to say it, but there is a "Politics and Religion" forum for discussion of all-things political.

If it stays civil, we can keep this here. If it deviates from fg/ss bikes, I am going to move it to the above-mentoned area for continued discussion.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:09 AM   #5
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Since he's relating it to fixed gear riding I don't see why it should be moved. But I do think, anyone who rides a bike, fixed or not is helping reduce pollution, it's a ton cheaper to commute, and it's so much funner than driving.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:13 AM   #6
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Ben,
This is a good question, but there are a few things about it I would like to point out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDeMartini
...most of the folks on this forum seem to be twenty something, white, urban or at least cosmopolitan, left leaning, often underemployed and male.
I think you may be right about the general population of this forum; however, I feel that this forum is a small part of the fixie population. And lets face it, this forum will have some people with such brillian responses at:
Quote:
Originally Posted by IROeunuch
lolzers u r stupid
Yes, that one was great, he made quite the point.

Also, the ever popular
Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret
It has become a standard hipster accessory with that comes the politics and philosophy of hipsters.
has already come into play. I think that this can be said about anything at this point. Ipods are "hipster accessories" and so are beards apparently, but that doesn't make every person with one of these a "hipster". In fact, I feel that a lot of people simply use that term to describe somebody that they don't have a true reason for not liking. You just can't put your finger on it? The must be a hipster.

I think that there are a lot of different people riding fixed for different reasons. I think that people in this forum are going to butt heads and yell hipster a lot though. I would like to talk to you about this in person. Perhaps at the next time we all get together for some sort of food/game/bike riding night.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret
It has become a standard hipster accessory with that comes the politics and philosophy of hipsters.
Uh, sure... We all know how political hipsters are after all.


Anyways, I don't see fixies as political or counterculture (they are just machines), or even bicycle riding in general. Put a political dude on a bike and he will probably make it political, put a non-political dude on a bike and they are just riding. In such a car dominated society, cyclists feel a connection with the other riders out there enduring the sh*t. I'd say that the alt-bike nutters are the most overtly political of the cyclist subgroups.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprintcarblue
Since he's relating it to fixed gear riding I don't see why it should be moved. But I do think, anyone who rides a bike, fixed or not is helping reduce pollution, it's a ton cheaper to commute, and it's so much funner than driving.
did you miss this in my first post:
"If it deviates from fg/ss bikes, I am going to move it to the above-mentoned area for continued discussion."
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Old 10-18-06, 11:15 AM   #9
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it's not about politics, it's about redemption
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Old 10-18-06, 11:17 AM   #10
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cost and simplicity
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Old 10-18-06, 11:22 AM   #11
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shut up and ride.

we do it because it's fun.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:24 AM   #12
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There's no "defiance" in riding a fixed gear or single speed. Sure, you may hate cars (or you might not be able to afford one), but you're buying parts from huge companies you're wanting to rebel against. You lose in that battle no matter what. But then there's the few people that dumpster their whole bike. Wonderful, keep it up.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:28 AM   #13
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I'm employed, hispanic, female, and eat a hamburger while carrying a pistol on my way protest outside abortion clinics on my fixed gear bicycle. Do I get kicked out?
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Old 10-18-06, 11:32 AM   #14
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It is a symbol of the resolve to destroy all life on the face of the Earth. Forever. Times ten. I mean, not to be an asshat, but if it's a fixie bike that takes me places, then it's a fixie bike that takes me places. Making associations based on percieved, but not verified connections is just asking for trouble, and imho, that's what politics is. I would never do that to a fixie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
I'm employed, hispanic, female, and eat a hamburger while carrying a pistol on my way protest outside abortion clinics on my fixed gear bicycle. Do I get kicked out?
Only if you're also a lesbian Jew who wants to become a hermaphrodite.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDeMartini
What is the political significance of the fixie?
Co-optation, but I thought this was self-evident.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:38 AM   #16
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My guess would be left of the average roadie, way to the left of the average mtb'er (think George W.), slightly to the right of the average hard-core "car free" type. Of course, I have no idea what left and right mean, so good luck testing the hypothesis.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:41 AM   #17
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wow, don't know too many mtbers eh?

it's okay, i don't either
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Old 10-18-06, 11:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vespoli
shut up and ride.

we do it because it's fun.
word.

i'm rebelling against sitting in my apt. being bored, and waiting 15 minutes for a subway train to come...
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Old 10-18-06, 11:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyphotons
wow, don't know too many mtbers eh?

it's okay, i don't either
The MTB'ers I know span the spectrum. Fixed-gear riders probably do too. I think you'd find a better correlation between education, economic status, or geography and politics than the type of bike you ride.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:50 AM   #20
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Please research your paper elsewhere, or better yet go ride your bike.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:50 AM   #21
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I am not a fixie rider or owner, nor do I consider myself a roadie or an MTBer. I just ride my bike for exercise/recreation so you can take my post with a grain of salt.

My observation is that people who ride/build fixies are a kin to surfers and their relationship with the ocean and their environment; they do it because they can, because its fun, because it creates a very zen-like state.

But I could be off my rocker.
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Old 10-18-06, 11:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
The MTB'ers I know span the spectrum. Fixed-gear riders probably do too. I think you'd find a better correlation between education, economic status, or geography and politics than the type of bike you ride.
for sure. it gives me hope that there are still things that people who disagree with (or flat out dislike) each other can enjoy together.

unless they're riding a bike with gears. then they can go **** themselves.
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Old 10-18-06, 12:13 PM   #23
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the political significance is that my fixed gear bike gets me to work,
and i'm working on the election,
and we're gonna kick some right wing jerkfaces outta there.

thus,
my blue bicycle,
always workin' for the blue.
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Old 10-18-06, 12:14 PM   #24
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this thread is ridiculous, but I would bet that people who commute are more likely to vote democratic than people who race.
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Old 10-18-06, 12:16 PM   #25
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the very notion that there is some sort of poilitical or social agenda that i'm supposed to be associated with simply because of the number of gears on my bike makes me want to get more of them.
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