03 October 2005

Fixed gear mania

For reasons about which I myself am unclear, I have decided to get a track bike. For those of you not in the know, a track bike is a road bike with only one gear. This gear is "fixed," which means--as near as I can figure--that the drive train is permanently engaged. You cannot coast on a fixed gear as you might on a regular bike because the pedals will turn of their own volition. Also, track bikes are not usually equipped with breaks, breaking being incompatible with coolness. The rider stops the bike by pedalling backwards. These bikes were originally intended (and are still used) for velodrome racing, but they have also become chic among bicycle messengers. Apparently the stripped down aesthetic appeals to their alternative-culture lifestyle. Or maybe it is more convenient. Or perhaps both.

The stripped down aesthetic is certainly what appeals to me. Also the stripped down price, since fixies are available for like half the price of a multi-gear road bike. I have narrowed my choice down to two, so far as I can see at the moment: A Bianchi Pista or a Raleigh Rush Hour. The difference between the two bikes seems almost indicipherable, although the distinction probably lies in that esoteric bicycling concept, "geometry."

The whole thing has become something of an obsession with me of late. My guess is that once I actually get one of these bikes, then the obsession will really begin.

But in the meantime, these totally crazy people on their fixies should keep you entertained.


summer said...

streamers and buzzers and a safety flag please

plus now you have to wear a helmet

and recycle

eas said...

go with the pista, that things mighty good looking...