Dear Fixers and Fixettes - Well I have been out of touch. I just tuned into this thread and perceive that it must have gone on for some time, although I haven't determined the source yet. Yes fixed gear bikes are faddish, but they certainly weren't invented by generation tattoo-n-pierce. They have been around forever. Last month I rode an 1893 English bike with a fixed gear around the square at l'Eroica. There were quite a few fixed gears of all ages on the ride too, riding those gawdawful steep hills and gravel. Lately I see a lot of 50-somethings, some randonneurs and some just curious, setting up a fixed gear for the first time. I love it. There is a zen element after all, and people are finding that out.
When I was racing in the late 70s and early 80s it was almost required to train in winter on a fixed gear. Most were converted road bikes since not everyone had a track bike then, and you didn't want to ride your track wheels (and brakeless) if you did have one. We would just spin the freewheel off, add a Sturmey Archer spacer and a fixed cog, and shorten and reroute the chain around the derailleur. There was a period of 20 of so years when I didn't ride fixed gear, but 5 years ago after deciding to restore my daily driver 1978 Davidson touring bike, I fitted out a 1962 Paramount with inch-pitch TA, mudguards, and a rack, and have been commuting on it ever since. The messengers who come into my shop think it's pretty cool. Since then I've acquired quite a few track bikes and also set up a number of 30s through 70s fixed road bikes in the traditional manner. I get a kick out of riding them. You find the flatter streets when you ride a fixed enough. I have several more vintage road and track frames destined for fixed-dom. Can't wait to try them all out.
I don't have a problem with the messenger crowd and their taste for bikes. Bikes are bikes, and are always a better solution than cars. Think about it this way - would you have any common ground with those people if they were not riding a bike? I can relate to them much better talking about bikes than I can about eye pods or any other icon of youth. They usually ride the junkiest bikes they can get their hands on, but that's OK. One more bike that won't go to the dump. And if we get one vintage convert out of every hundred fad fixers, that's not bad either.
Stop by the store for a tour when you are in town.
Bob Freeman Elliott Bay Bicycles 2116 Western Ave Seattle, WA 98121 206-441-8144 Home of Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles
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