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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 01-25-08, 01:04 AM   #1
tbrtbx
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track bikes on street, new york.

Hi BFers, I was wondering :

Did the whole 'riding track bikes on the street' thing start in New York City?
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Old 01-25-08, 01:05 AM   #2
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If so, when?

and when did it start getting popular?
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Old 01-25-08, 01:15 AM   #3
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If so, when?

and when did it start getting popular?
Some people will tell you it did. Riding fixed gear bikes on the street has been around
since there were bikes. Riding track bikes on the street. . .I've heard rumors
that it did start in NYC. Can't verify.
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Old 01-25-08, 01:22 AM   #4
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Why would anyone be stupid enough to ride a track bike on the street? I dont beleve you. Nobody would ever do that.
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Old 01-25-08, 01:25 AM   #5
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Messengers in Toronto have been using them for ages, therefore I have deduced that it must have started here. Last April.
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Old 01-25-08, 01:54 AM   #6
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The story I've heard:

Some people always rode fixed on the street.

Many people rode them in Jamaica and other islands in the area for various reasons (track racing, broken freewheel, inavailability of freewheels...)

Jamaicans and other islanders immigrate to NYC and other major cities, bringing the bikes with them.

These people added to the origonal group and generally took riding fixed from an elite roadie crowd to more of a general, just riding around crowd.

After a while, messengers started picking up on their simpliciy, cheapness and overall coolnes.

Messengers talk to each other, fixies start to spread more quickly. (by now we're in the early 80's I think)

Quickilver blah blah blah alleycats, CMWC, Monster Track... today we have attained worldwide domination.

I think NYC was a hub just because it was so big and if only .003% of a population rides fixed, there's still going to be more in NYC than anywhere else.

I have heard arguments that Japan had it's own street fix culture as far back as the 70's due to availability of used Keirin frames, but I don't know much about it. Ask Tommity.

Chances are, everything above is wrong.

But thinking about it now, it would be interesting to see a study correlating the spread of the fixie with the spread of ska.
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Old 01-25-08, 02:02 AM   #7
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But thinking about it now, it would be interesting to see a study correlating the spread of the fixie with the spread of ska.
Oooh, I can just picture some early mod/ska kids riding around london on fixies when their lambrettas didn't work.
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Old 01-25-08, 02:14 AM   #8
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Oooh, I can just picture some early mod/ska kids riding around london on fixies when their lambrettas didn't work.
So most of the time then?
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Old 01-25-08, 02:39 AM   #9
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Who Cares
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Old 01-25-08, 02:51 AM   #10
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I care.

I was thinking about it the other day, and if this whole thing DID start in New York, then I see the resemblance with Hip Hop : It started in New York, and gradually spread to other cities like SF and LA.
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Old 01-25-08, 03:22 AM   #11
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Couriers riding track bikes on the street indeed seems to have started in NY.

Obviously there was always individuals doing it on their own, too.
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Old 01-25-08, 03:31 AM   #12
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Old School Track website (http://www.oldskooltrack.com/) seems to the where lot of these stories about Jamaican and West Indies immmigrants to NYC riding fixed bikes are originating. I also remember reading something somewhere about a group of guys from Queens riding track bikes on the streets very early on but like Andre said above, probably there were always some guys somewhere who were racing on the track but rode their bikes on the street as well.

And roadies training with fixed gear bikes during the winter seems to be pretty old and known thing too.

Couple of months ago I was coming to work at Uni and locking up my track bike outside the building and this older professor, who's about 60 or something, comes out and checks out my bike and is like, "oh, you got a track bike, nice. I used to train on those too when I was into road cycling in 1970s...".
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Old 01-25-08, 03:46 AM   #13
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1896 30th St. at Broadway

photo bt Alice Austen

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if "real messengers" aren't carrying packages, they fill their bags with bricks. Hardcore.
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Old 01-25-08, 05:58 AM   #14
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Hipsters...circa 1896....it's be around for a while
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sacbikers2.jpg (87.9 KB, 185 views)
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Old 01-25-08, 06:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by tbrtbx View Post
Hi BFers, I was wondering :

Did the whole 'riding track bikes on the street' thing start in New York City?
messengers have been using FG bikes in NYC for at least 20 years (at least that's when I first noticed them).
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Old 01-25-08, 06:50 AM   #16
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messengers have been using FG bikes in NYC for at least 20 years (at least that's when I first noticed them).
So, 2007 - 20 = 1987

Like one year after Quicksilver hit the silver screen in 1986? Kevin Bacon was so rad.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:07 AM   #17
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an interview with Fast Eddie Williams supports the "track bikes in NYC started with immigrants from the islands" theory.

http://www.thebrooklynrail.org/archi...essengers.html
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Old 01-25-08, 08:19 AM   #18
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Oooh, I can just picture some early mod/ska kids riding around london on fixies when their lambrettas didn't work.
rude boys all cruising from venue to venue in a pack of party crashing goodness.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:24 AM   #19
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Old 01-25-08, 08:53 AM   #20
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Hey, I had that compilation copied to a tape and listened to it on my Walkman until it the flexed to ****. Aaah!
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Old 01-25-08, 09:05 AM   #21
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seems to the where lot of these stories about Jamaican and West Indies immmigrants to NYC riding fixed bikes are originating.
So if those guys brought it to NYC then it started where they came from, not NYC.
Ive heard about the 70s track bike street riders in Tokyo too so thats worth looking into. Keirin has been huge in Japan since the late 1940s so its highly likely there were riders on the street. If nothing else inspired by the racers training on their race bikes on the street or racers themselves riding around T-town.

Seems it either came out of Jamaican and West Indies or Tokyo or both.
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Old 01-25-08, 06:10 PM   #22
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Hipsters...circa 1896....it's be around for a while
is there a high res pic of this anywhere, thats pretty bad ass
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Old 01-25-08, 08:04 PM   #23
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go to the old photos redux post em if you got em thread
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Old 01-25-08, 08:09 PM   #24
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Hipsters...circa 1896....it's be around for a while
I could see hipsters dressing like that today.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:25 PM   #25
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Hi BFers, I was wondering :

Did the whole 'riding track bikes on the street' thing start in New York City?
For the most part yes, among messengers definitely. As some other folks have stated it was started by west indians. A lot of messengers were, and are west indian, though I've heard it was more from T&T than Jamaica. The white messengers picked up on it in the late 80s somewhat, but much more in the early to mid nineties.
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