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Sunday, April 22, 2007

No Brakes? No Worries

Image of woman with fixed gear bikeFrom the Burlington Free Press (Vermont), 04.20.07:

What is a bike with no brakes and no gears worth in a place with as many peaks and valleys as Vermont?

To the disciples of the fixed-gear bicycle phenomenon, the answer is an awful lot. No brakes, no gears, no worries for the increasing number of folks hitching up to the fixed gear wagon.

Fixed gear bikes, or "fixies," are the hottest thing in bicycling at the moment, but you'd be hard-pressed to find these rides in a traditional bike shop. The mass market commercial appeal of fixed gears is limited because they don't work like standard bikes. There's some skill involved in learning to pedal a fixed gear, and those who have mastered the art make up a small, though growing band of bicyclists who appreciate the simplicity and respect the individuality of fixed-gear bikes. Fixed-gear bikes seem to have reached cult status.

In addition to the fact that fixed gears look cool, they're also great year-round commuting bikes. (Graham) McDowell rides his bike all winter long and says he has more control in the snow and grit. Harris Bucklin, 20, likes the absolute control he has over his Motobecane fixed gear. "I always relate it to a Jedi experience. You're directly in control of the bike at all times," Bucklin said. "It just makes it so much fun when you're on the road." (Read more.)
I've commuted on a fixed gear, and it can work for many people. (My preference for everyday riding is a bike with gears, which is what I suggest for beginner-level bike commuters or those returning to bicycling after a few years.) This favorable article comes from New England, home to the godfather of fixies, Sheldon "Coasting is bad for you" Brown.

Image: faster panda kill kill.
Visit: One Gear, Will Travel, San Francisco Chronicle, 09.11.06
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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