Not Fixed

I use my gears daily, and I like my gears. The reason I say this is the prevalence of "fixies," or fixed gear cyclists, especially as the weather warms up a bit. So I suppose this is my two-bit rant about fixed gear bikes. If you're not sure what a fixed gear bike is click here.

The other day I was riding home with my yuba fully loaded (see previous post) and happened to be behind a young women on a fixed gear bike around Buffalo State College; I knew that it was a fixed gear because her legs never stopped pedaling. I was coasting freely at points (actually having to brake a little so I wouldn't run into her), but her legs just kept moving. At one point (a traffic light) I almost asked her, don't you just want to coast every once and a while?

Sure, the bikes look really do the riders, because it's fashionable...but that's my point, it's a fad, and not very practical. They may have been practical a hundred years ago before multiple gearing was available for bikes, but it's not now. Ah, who am I's an age thing. You don't see anyone on a fixed gear bike over the age of, say, 25 or so (at least I haven't). And when I were that age I might have fallen for it too. But thankfully they weren't popular when I was that age or I may not to be here to type these words (because I also consider the bikes exceedingly dangerous)...I just hope these "fixies" make it alive or in one piece until this silly fad is over.

The photo of the gears below are of my mule (pictured in the header). I purchased this bike a few years ago at a flea market for 40 bucks and overhauled it. Much is new, including the derailleur you see pictured. This bike is my "every day bike;" it's the one I use the most. These gears have made it through 3 Buffalo winters, and have hauled everything from $200 worth of groceries and 2 weeks worth of laundry (pulling a trailer with baskets and racks fully loaded), to wrought iron lawn chairs and a five foot book shelf I "recycled" (garbage picked). These gears have taken me, on numerous occasions, up the long incline of the Peace Bridge, and have plowed me through snow so deep a person could barely walk through.

Could someone ride year round and haul all this stuff on a fixed gear bike? Possibly, but not likely. Tonight, as I was rounding a corner close to my house and a head wind hit me like a wall, I down shifted and was thankful to have that option. As I pumped into the wind and gained enough speed to coast down the very gradual incline that my street has to offer, my middle aged knees were also thankful.

I have to admit that this post is somewhat biased because I have never ridden a fixed gear bike, and probably never will. I like my gears, and I like being able to coast.


Anonymous said…
I have no desire to pedal through corners.
Anonymous said…
I love my gears even in a town with no hills. I've got serious wind coming off the Mississippi, and I like to shift to keep moving. But that's just me.