This week Pam and I were out on an early evening ride and met Justin, a fixed gear commuter, and talked at length about his bike, his 40 mile commute, single speeds, and the culture. I also talked with colleagues in the bike industry about single speeds and they observed that it’s like mtn biking in the 80s with lots of camaraderie, socializing, and not being so competitive (also noting mtn biking was originally about getting stoned, drinking beer, and riding trails) . Call it old school, minimalism or simplicity, Justin said it best when I asked why he rode with one gear and he replied, “It clears my head to not shift. I just ride.”
Earlier this year, at Swan Island, they had a Fixed Gear category with about 30 racers and I noticed all the back slapping and “wow, nice work, spinning up that gear.” All of them were just happy to have completed the race and rode together.
Responding to the “fixie” sub culture, Redline, Novara, Surly are all offering bikes. Also check Steinworks that manufactures “sculpture in motion,” the fixedgear blog, fixedgeargallery and in the Fall, bike hugger is going to build up a single-speed rain bike from the parts bin and blog all about it.