Saturday, September 6, 2008

#1 Fixed Gear Bikes

In some circles Portland is called "Fixy Town, USA."  No wonder, everyone from bike messengers to little babies in strollers have been seen rolling around in their fixed gear bikes.  And its no surprise, these bikes are by far the most efficient form of transportation known to science.   How many times have you been riding your mountain bike or road bike and thought "these brakes and extra gears are really weighing me down."  Well all you have to do is take every non-essential piece of hardware off your bike and your on your way to rolling around town at least twice as fast and three times as underground.  Nothing is more badass than riding through Portland's hills with only one gear.  The tougher the ratio, the better.  Riding through traffic is so boring when you have two working breaks.  On a fixed gear bike you don't have breaks.  You depend on your leg power to slow you down when you need to.  But nothing is more mainstream than slowing down, so the real underground way to ride a fixy is to just speed up when you get to a stop sign. 

One you've converted your road bike into a fixed gear, there are three things you have to do to separate yourself from the rest of the field: 1) get custom handlebars 2) grow a mustache 3) have a bad attitude towards other bikes.  Custom handlebars can be anything so that your bike stops looking like a road bike and starts looking like some sort of hybrid.  I recommend the handlebars from an old Razor scooter.  They're light, dangerous, and all sorts of underground.  Plus you get extra points for the throwback reference to 1998.  Second, a mustache might not not seem like a bike accessory, but it is.  It increases aerodynamics, and lets people know that you're not F-ing around.  If you're a girl and can't grow one, don't worry.  Just wear some sort of creative helmet.  I suggest an equestrian helmet or one of those old brown leather football helmets from the early 1900's.  Third, make sure that you let people know that you don't like their off-the-shelf bike whenever you have the chance.  You've put in a lot of effort in order to get your cycle up to par, and you want to carry yourself in a manner that says "Normal bikes are stupid.  Everyone should have a fixy, but not really because then everyone would have a fixy."    

5 comments:

Jason said...

How true is the mustache bit? I love being side swiped when I'm crossing the street by a fixed gear biker, because nothing quels my rage like a sweet 'stache. Oh wait, no it doesn't. Keep writing, this stuff is great!

Anonymous said...

fixy bikes are naked bikes!!!

Blair said...

not to mention all the paper and tagboard shit in the spokes . . such a rediculous portland thing

Elsa Nekola said...

Fixed gear bikes are really popular in Madison, Wisconsin as well. Although everyone in Madison wishes they lived in Portland because it's like Mecca for hipsters. And nobody cares about the upper Midwest. Although since it's so cold here, we get to wear puffy vests and lumberjack coats, which is pretty "underground".

kyle said...

and if you brake into a slide to take a corner then you are certainly badass!