Sunny SF Fixed


by Byron on Dec 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Outside of cycling circles, I get asked often about fixed gear bikes. This photo summarizes my response.

That’s an urban, youth equivalent of riding a Harley on the open road or dropping into a bowl with a skateboard and fixed is popular worldwide. Wherever I travel, I see cyclists like this and have wondered why in the States, fixed is associated with hipsters.

No brakes, no helmet, and one fixed gear may not be for you, but the freedom it represents is universal.

Uploaded by Hugger Industries | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

Share this story:

Recommended Reading

The reason it’s associated with hipsters, is because riding in a city with no brakes and no helmet is about as self-absorbed as is possible after the development of the super-ego.

The problem is, too many people are riding this kind of bike who have no experience whatsoever - cruising through red lights while pads are crossing, or weaving in and out of people on narrow bridge walkways (hello Brooklyn Bridge) and dragging the reputation of cycling into the gutter.

I’ve been cycling in urban areas (including London and New York City) for more than 20 years, and a good 35 years overall, and I think more than ever that selfish idiots on these bikes are very close to putting the rest of us off it.


This post isn’t pro-fixed gears with no helmets or brakes or anti, it’s an observation and undeniable that I see fixed gears like this wherever I travel. I don’t ride in US cities without a helmet or my fixed-gear bike without brakes.

The bad behavior of cyclists isn’t consistent with one group either—that’s why there’s so much of bike backlash. Ever ride in Portland? Despite it’s image as the mecca of bike cities in the US, they’ve got a real problem with aggressive cyclists. The photo and point was showing the freedom that cyclists feels.