Re: [CR]Your fixed gear tuppence

Example: Component Manufacturers:Chater-Lea

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 20:37:27 -0500
From: G L Romeu <>
To: Tom Dalton <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Your fixed gear tuppence
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
cc: Classic Rendezvous <>

Tom Dalton wrote:
> Gabriel wrote: Bikes are just stuff, riders riding them give them
> soul.
> I say: Wow, there's a statement that has no actual meaning but yet
> irritates me considerably. I see plenty of soul in the hand of the
> maker. It may be "just stuff" but it comes from us. Humans thought
> it up, made it evolve, and produced each and every bike, and the
> tools to make it... and the tools to make those tools. The rider and
> the riding can add or take away from this. A lovely bike abused and
> badly set up is just sad. A lovely bike well used and looking
> "right" is a wonderful thing. You can look at a bike and know in a
> second what sort of use it has been getting, and it can go either
> way.

As a maker, I really enjoy your sentiments. as a rational maker of functional objects, the object does not reach even close to it's potential until it is utilized, worn and modified.

It is a collaborative between the maker and the user.

without either it is just stuff.
> Gabriel wrote: If riding (fixed) bikes is a fashion statement, cool.
> Fashion undermines homogeneity.
> I say: By the time it reaches the mainstream, fashion is just
> old-fashioned conformity, to say nothing of it being the domain to of
> the elite prior to that. Not big deal, until the conformity is
> something really stupid, like inexperienced riders zipping around
> without brakes.

There is the diversity that fashion brings from the originators, the appropriators, the latecomers and the reactionarys. Locale breathes various takes/versions which makes it quite interesting. Conformity and identity within cultural groups is also a fascinating thing to observe.

I do not see much homogeneity even within the strictest enforced conformity in things like religion and the military.
> Obviously fixed gear bikes are here to stay, because they have been
> around since the beginning and never went away. In part they have
> experienced a resurgenced among devoted cyslists, and that a
> different matter from that of the fixed wheel as hipster trend.
> Walking around in Philadelphia lately I was stunned by the number of
> conversions. I have no problem with this, other finding it beyond
> annoying that some of these bikes had no brakes.

and the brake thing- I am sure there are some that think me crazy for riding the roads when i could do it on rollers in the basement. It is all a matter of perspective. I just hope nothing happens to any bicyclist no matter their choices for self preservation. lots of things to get "beyond annoying" about, I think i will choose otherwise. if it is a trend, and all your "hipsters" go out and buy SUVs. I feel confident that they will have emphathy for me as a rider and may be a bit more accommodating then the less experienced.
> Gabriel wrote: Couldn't think of a better resource for pulling
> fashion. in this case it is undermining of a rampant
> commodification/consumerism in fashion.
> I say: I think this is pure nonsense. I think this gives way too
> much credit where it is obviously not due. Several people have
> commented how these are bikes that are cobbled together from
> available parts, are reuse and recycling at their best. This is not
> quite on the mark. For one, many of these bikes sport all kinds of
> new parts, many of them conspicuous and flash, rather expensive, and
> of limited utility. A lot of original wheels, chains, handlebars etc
> that are quite suita

I am in NYC and Phila quite often, photograph everyone i see. I have not found this to be the case. However, my track bikes are quite sporting i am afraid...
> Gabriel wrote:
> Another reason, eluded to by Bob in the statement below, is that
> riding fixed is just plain FUN! I would be really interested in how
> many people on this list disparaging it has ever done it.
> I say: Done it, enjoyed it, found it helpful for VERY specific
> reasons.

My purpose is to ride and enjoy it. Nothing else. not training, not exercise, just hammering out the miles to unwind from the day.

That said, it was nowhere near as efficient as riding a
> multigeared freewheeler. I find modern STI drivetrains a hell of a
> lot more transcendental than a fixed gear. Keeping my body closer to
> an ideal rythym the bike comes a lot closer to going away. Obviously
> those who don't yet have the skills to use this kind of equipment
> might find it oppressive, and a one-speed liberating. The part about
> being unble to freewheel is just novel to many people, and that
> novelty goes away.

nothing in bicycling should feel oppressive. whatever it takes, eliminate it. I can't imagine why anyone would think that STI drivetrains are oppressive though. I find them mine magical. transcendental though? my version of transcendental hits somewhere in between me, the environment and the bike. It sure ain't bike specific among the many i have of any configuration.

+ I am certainly not looking for efficiency all of the time. In fact, most of the time it is irrelevant.

> Gabriel wrote: this conversion thing imbues quite a bit of the
> 'personal' to the object, I find this specificity and customization
> FAR more interesting than the homogeneous quest for a questionable
> authenticity that permeates this list
> I say: For every 10,000 taggers, one urban artist ends up in a
> gallery.

interesting metaphor. many of the 10k made sone quite interesting work.

The vast majority of conversions are just disasters. I
> guess I'm just too encumbered by the context of over 100 years of
> bicycle evolution to see the value in some cheezy paintjob on an MTB
> with 700c deep section wheels. They all look "different" in the same
> sad, ungainly way. Of course, I'm not talking here about fixed gear
> bikes used by actual cyclists, I'm talking about the urban assult
> rigs that populate the city sidewalks. Most folk art is thrown away
> for a good reason.

I will just disagree from my experience but will leave it to your expertise.

the rest of the comments i will just leave in cyberspace for anyone else's interest, and just generally disagree.

really wish this was a discussion on a ride Tom, it could be quite interesting. Hope we get the chance someday....

gabriel romeu after a beautiful sunset in midride, pissing off somebody that i was riding in the dark in chesterfield nj usa -- G L Romeu