Monday, January 24, 2011

Bike "culture"

I've been reading BikeSnobNYC's blog, and came across the concept of the fixed-gear bike. I wasn't sure what one was, so I looked it up. I then started noticing them more and more:

  • In the display windows of shops
  • Roger David teaming up with some company which charges you an arm and a leg to send you a bunch of coloured parts that you pick online and then put together yourself
  • Online, peopel going on about somethign called the "Fixed-gear revolution" (is that meant to be a pun?)
  • Merchandise with this slogan:

All this has me asking myself one very crucial question: WHO THE HELL GIVES A DAMN??

I mean, seriously. The kind of bike you ride should depend on three things and three things alone:

  1. What kind of cycling you do
  2. What kind of terrain you're on
  3. How much you can afford to spend

Beyond that, I fail to see the point of taking pride in how many gears your bike has, unless you're 10 years old and you have a mountain bike with, like, 18 speeds because the really cool grown-ups are 18 years old and you feel so grown up riding a bike that has that number somewhere on it.

I'm not saying there's no place for fixed-gear bikes; If you live somewhere to the West of Melbourne I'm sure they'd be fine. The place is as flat as a tack and you just have to hop on and start pedalling. It'd actually be kind of hilarious if you were on a flat plane and insisting on using every single one of your 58 gears to get the maximum use out of your bike.

On that same note, if you live anywhere East of the CBD (or even in the CBD, for that matter), you'd be mad to insist on riding a fixie, especially for ideological purposes, and even more so given that you can get a decent bike WITH gears for less money.

Seriously, Melbourne is made up of some whopping great hills (my own suburb has a high point of close to 170m above sea level) and while you may be able to custom-design your rainbow of a bike, it'll mostly end up sitting there and gathering dust once you realise that you can't go anywhere on it because the 10min cycle to the local shops has more humps that Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, and you'd be just as crazy to attempt surmounting one set as you would the other.

So I ask again: WHO CARES what kind of bike it is? It's a bike. It either serves its purpose or it doesn't. If it doesn't, sell it to someone who can use it and get a better one. But don't get a specific kind just because it's the in thing - that's just dumb.

Like this bike.


  1. You forgot number 4: Style. Yeah, that's not important to everyone, but it's important to some (*cough* me *cough*)

    I don't ride a fixie, but I can see part of the appeal.

    However, I think a lot of the fixie scene is just hipster posturing.

    In any case: Hee, you're reading The Snob. He loves talking about the city I live in (Portland!), and once I had my picture in the blog--from a shot of a bunch of us on a Michael Jackson ride right after he died.

    Another bicycle-themed blog you might like (not snarky) is Lovely Bicycle!:

    You may also like this one:

  2. Ta for the links! =D I'll go check those out.

    Yeah, style can be very important. I guess it's a bit lower on my radar because I'm still figuring out my own :-p So far, it's tending toward Dork Chic. Or just Dork. But that's mostly because I'm trying to be sunsmart and taking it to unfashionable extremes :-p I might get Oolon to take some photos that I can post :-p

  3. I always liked seeing fixies chained up on front porches in Pittsburgh... never ridden, because Pittsburgh is smack dab in a frickin' mountain range. I assume that they were transplants from Portland or Philly who hadn't yet got around to trading it in for a practical bike.

  4. Ooh, curves of constant width!