We all get tired of walking to class, especially if you’re running late, sleep-deprived, hung-over, a lazy jerk, or all of the above. That’s when you hop on your trusty 10-speed, or if you’re a huge tool, razor-scooter. Keep in mind that if you find yourself riding such a scooter you have way bigger problems than just being a little late. Tardiness is excusable, looking like a douche isn’t. Donate that piece of shit to someone who needs it, like a pre-teen or “tween” if you will. Actually, drop it off at Salvation Army, those brats don’t need anything else. What kind of 11-year old wins a texting competition? I can barely type my own name half the time, which may be more attributable to the fact that I’m a lush.
Moving on, that 10-speed of yours is slowly becoming, gasp, uncool. Oh no? Oh yes. Anyone who’s anyone, including any hipster worth their converse will tell you that track bikes are the new must have in transportation fashion. So what if these über-sweet bikes (yes I just said über, don’t judge) don’t have any “brakes”. Since when did brakes become a prequistatie for bike functionality? That’s right, if you want to be cool, you got to be willing to get hit by a car or better yet, mow down some unsuspecting students on route to Chemistry. Chem sucks, you’d be doing them a favor. Is it wrong that I heard about this trend in Wired? I mean…it’s so Computer Science major of me.
“Basically, a track bike is the perfect invention,” said a mechanic at Harris Cyclery. “You can’t make it any better.” Dashing bike couriers have known the joys and delicious danger of track bikes or “fixies” forever. Didn’t think the delivery guy in the tie-dye shirt and paper cap was cool did you? Don’t worry, the brown suits of UPS will never be in style. Anyway, the “fixie” growing in popularity among hip urban cyclists who can’t get enough of the bike’s smooth lines, low price, and mad street cred.
“Now all the college kids want them because they have had courier bags for the last five years and now they want the bike to go with it,” said Wirtanen. People either buy production track bikes from companies like Bianchi and Fuji Bicycles, while others retrofit old steel road bikes into the “fixies”. These little numbers are becoming a regular fixture outside of hip Brooklyn bars. Just to clarify, fixie is short for “fixed gear” meaning that the rear wheel and the pedals are connected though a single gear anchored to the rear wheel. Didn’t get that? Me neither, whatev.
All you need to know is that unlike regular old bikes, you can’t coast, only have one gear, and brakes are strictly optional. Braking is so passe. If you actually want to, you know….stop, you have to use your gams to slow down the bike—kind of like a kiddie Big Wheel or something.
“Learning how to ride a fixie was like drinking decaf your whole life and then suddenly having the real thing,” one biker said. Another fan, a female San Francisco-based photographer who has been cruising on her fixie for about two years, is surprised at how many track bikes she sees parked in San Francisco’s bohemian Mission district. Though she loves the feeling of “total control over everything” she has on her fixie, she worries that many are ridden by inexperienced female riders whose boyfriends convinced them it was cool.
“The trend is a little scary in some ways, but I’m just glad to see more butts on bikes,” she said. You heard the women, get your hot butt on one of these babies. Don’t worry about the expense, it’s totally a write-off. Would you be seen on a scooter? No. So there’s no reason to be seen on bike that just isn’t cutting it in the cool department.