People have been whining about fixies and their descent into the mainstream for a long time now, but it now seems as if everyone you see on a fixed-gear bike is an idiot. It’s like the people who actually know how to ride the things have all retreated in shame, and left the entire field to the fools.
Not so long ago you had to know a thing or two to even acquire a fixed-gear bike. I first rode fixed gear waaaaay back in the day as winter training. I didn’t know you could thread a fixed-gear cog on a standard hub because it never occurred to me to try it. Instead I bought a cheap track wheel and built up a clincher wheel on the hub (back then, and yes this was a long time ago, everyone raced on tubulars, or “sew-ups” as we called them). My fixed gear bike had two sets of brakes and I only rode it because my coach made me.
Then came the messenger culture and people started showing how those bikes actually had a place in the world, and could be ridden with exceptional grace and style.
Nowadays though you can buy that fixed gear style (but not grace) right off the floor and ride off into glory without knowing the first goddamned thing about bicycles. And judging from the looks of things around the U of A, lots of people are doing so. I saw some guy on a Schwinn cruiser bike with a fixed gear, brakeless, wearing Converse High-Tops and no toe clips. What the hell? What sadistic madman built that thing?
Last week I was in my car and some kid passed me on the left — on the left mind you — while I was entering the Sixth Avenue tunnel! He was pedaling about 150 rpms and all over the road.
I am not representing that person when he flies into a bus.