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Sporadic» Blog Archive » Too cool for brakes

Too cool for brakes

I know it’s been ages. I forgot my password and then I forgot that I forgot my password and then I forgot to forget that there was something to remember. Basically I slacked out for about 3 months.

However, I got an email from our old friend Sarah and she asked what had become of the bucket list and I realized that I had better get to it.

Fortunately, there’s something that I’ve been wondering about and so it lends itself to a instant topic.

In most major metropolitan areas* there are these folks who have what’s called a fixed gear bicycle or “fixie”. These are bikes that have, as you might imagine, only one gear that they are in all the time. Not unlike that huffy you had when you were 7. The difference, dear reader, between these bikes and your huffy is of course that the people that ride these are not 7… oh and most times these bikes don’t have brakes.

The other day I was explaining to Jen what a fixie was and I tried to explain why there weren’t brakes on the bikes and I couldn’t. According to some of the more popular fixie websites, it has something to do with being really connected to the road, bro.

Fixie culture seems to indicate that if you want to be …um… “super connected to the road” you must also be the kind of hipster that claims “I don’t even care what you think man, I’m just gonna be myself”**

As far as I can tell, fixies are like skateboards with more moving parts. You are required to outfit your fixie in all sorts of expensive ways like turning over and then sawing off the handle bars *** or sticking one of those idiotic center bar pads on it or making your wheels not match, or painting it some kind of spacey lime green or sticking one of those goofy mag wheels on it**** 

According to The fixed gear gallery: “In general, these bikes tend be more light weight and simple, requiring less maintenance than other bicycles. The lighter weight and continuous feedback through the transmission can translate to increased performance in some conditions, such as a better sense of control on slippery surface.” What they don’t tell you is that since you’re clearly too cool for brakes, it’ll also make you a menace if some objects gets in your way quickly.*****

I’m sure that were any of the fixie enthusiasts to actually come to my website (they won’t), they might call me a “hater”******. I’m okay with that. Anyone that tells me they love the simplicity of something and then spends hours and hours fixing something up needs to hear about their double standard. It’s like my friend in high school who told us her didn’t care about what people thought and then spent like 6 months perfectly adjusting the # of safety pins in his very carefully etched leather jacket with “The Exploited” painted on it. I even remember the day he told us it was finally just right.

I guess I should be glad they’re not driving cars….



*and especially here in SF

**And then working very, very, very hard to look like he doesn’t care, while still wearing all the right deisel fashons and bike messanger gear.

***Known as the “flop and chop”

**** but only on one of the wheels  (see rule 3)

*****Like a dog or a child or a swiftly moving 2 x 4 being swung at you from a conscientious resident of the sidewalk you insist on riding on (hey buddy, isn’t that a bike lane over there? Yes, right over there? Oh, you didn’t realize that you could use the bike lane for your ….uh…bike?)

******that’s youth speak for someone who doesn’t like the thing that you like used in a sentence like this “why do you haters got to hate on my super cool neon bike with no brakes”

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