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Ines Brun rides a track bike
July 7, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Ines Brunn and her bike. {mlyt}
posted by dobbs (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
First....I mean, AWESOME!
posted by Dantien at 3:00 PM on July 7, 2008


Yeah. Well. She's no Iris Myandowski, the hand walking queer.
posted by rokabiri at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2008


This is outstanding (-- and I was proud that I shaved 5 minutes off my usual route)
posted by rw at 3:05 PM on July 7, 2008


The 'and' link is two minutes of someone riding a wheelie. In the first couple of seconds I was like, "Cool." but then it kept going and after a minute and a half I was thinking "Ok, it's still a wheelie." but then at the two minute mark I came back around and was all "Damn, that was one long wheelie."

So yeah. One long wheelie.

The other stuff was pretty cool though.
posted by quin at 3:15 PM on July 7, 2008


Biking girls are awesome.

How about skateboarding girls?
posted by aftermarketradio at 3:15 PM on July 7, 2008


Unicycle girl wants a faceoff.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:18 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why do stupid human tricks like this make me want to cry tears of joy about the beauty of human achievement? When the Olympics start, I'll be crying again.
posted by ferdydurke at 3:32 PM on July 7, 2008


I used to live in San Diego. I went on critical mass. I don't remember there being (a) this many people (b) there being all that much awesome, unless awesomeness is measured by the number of people ignoring the fact that you're on a bicycle and they should avoid trying to kill you with their cars.
posted by beerbajay at 3:34 PM on July 7, 2008


Wow. I'm in love.

Killer post dobbs.
posted by djeo at 3:35 PM on July 7, 2008


What's the appeal of fixed-gear bikes? I'm asking honestly. I don't understand why people want to make the bicycle harder to ride, and seemingly more dangerous. Is it just a macho (and femacho) thing?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:37 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Small quibble with the post title - it's an artistic cycling bike, not a track bike, and it's been around for along time before hipsters on fixies.
posted by nonemoreblack at 3:37 PM on July 7, 2008


Oh, but artistic cycling is really good.
posted by beerbajay at 3:38 PM on July 7, 2008


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese writes "What's the appeal of fixed-gear bikes? I'm asking honestly. I don't understand why people want to make the bicycle harder to ride, and seemingly more dangerous. Is it just a macho (and femacho) thing?"

They can be good for training. It forces you to pay attention to cadence, which isn't something you normally need to think about when you're on a bike with a coaster gear (although you can also buy a computer that is capable of tracking this). Some people actually do races at a velodrome, so being accustomed to track bikes can help with that.

There's also the simplicity argument, although this applies to single-speed coasters as well as fixies. When I asked the local bike shop guys what the appeal of fixed gear bikes was, they said it mostly boiled down to stubbornness.
posted by mullingitover at 3:52 PM on July 7, 2008


Here's a 5 minute video without cuts between the tricks. A great sense of balance.

Fixed gears?
From Sheldon Brown's website:

It Doesn't Coast
"Why would anyone chose to ride a bike that doesn't coast and that can't change gears? Well, why do you ride a bike instead of drive a car? Do you like the wind rippling over your legs as you spin the planet beneath you? Do you like the feeling of going faster and farther than you ever could alone by adding a bit of machinery to your life? Take all that bikeness, strip it down to it's essence and put it on the road. What you have is what I'm riding."
posted by jjj606 at 3:56 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fixed gear is necessary to get control of the bike - otherwise it's damnably difficult to control when doing the one-wheel stunts. Think unicycle, then imagine a unicycle that would free spin in one direction, like the back wheel of a regular bike. You'd do a lot of face plants.
posted by Xoebe at 3:56 PM on July 7, 2008


I seem to remember this stuff being done on BMX bikes two decades ago.
posted by unmake at 3:59 PM on July 7, 2008


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese, it's really, really fun. Remember how it felt when you first learned to ride a bike? It's like that, all the time!
posted by dolface at 3:59 PM on July 7, 2008


> What's the appeal of fixed-gear bikes?

They're cheaper when you're building a bike from parts, because there are fewer parts. Or you can spend the same amount of money and get higher-quality parts.
They're easier to maintain: See "fewer parts"
The ride is different. Some find the difference enjoyable.
The ride can be more challenging. When you're choosing to ride a bike rather than drive, you've already declared that you're willing to put up with certain easily avoidable challenges and inconveniences, so, ah, now there are more.
Climbing is easier. This one's hard to explain, so take my word for it.
It's a more efficient exercise, since there's no coasting. And, in fact, downhills can be workouts.
And, yeah, studliness. When this one guy did 140 miles in two days and called me hardcore for finishing 24 miles without coasting, I made sure to say it wasn't nothin'.
posted by ardgedee at 4:02 PM on July 7, 2008


> I seem to remember this stuff being done on BMX bikes two decades ago.

And it was being done on arena cycles 8 decades before BMX bikes were invented.
posted by ardgedee at 4:05 PM on July 7, 2008


Good post.
posted by fixedgear at 4:06 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ooooh...that is so Rad.
posted by nosila at 4:07 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Great stuff. They're big on bicycle acrobatics here in China too.
posted by Abiezer at 4:15 PM on July 7, 2008


She also has her own site but I had difficulty loading it.

This is also neat.
posted by dobbs at 4:30 PM on July 7, 2008


Why would anyone chose to ride a bike that doesn't coast and that can't change gears? Well, why do you ride a bike instead of drive a car?

So that I can avoid spending several hundred dollars a month on gas. So that I can do my small part to postpone the inevitable. So that when the inevitable does come I'll be more capable of getting around than I otherwise would be.

Do you like the wind rippling over your legs as you spin the planet beneath you? Do you like the feeling of going faster and farther than you ever could alone by adding a bit of machinery to your life? Take all that bikeness, strip it down to it's essence and put it on the road.


See, that's all well and good, but it sounds like a load of bullshit. I just want to get to fucking work. Or the store. Or the bar. Whatever. Efficiently. Gears allow me to do that better than their lack would.

If people who ride fixies just to get around town (as opposed to using them on the track, as training aids for racing, or for trick riding like that in these amazing videos) would only admit that it's a fashion thing, rather than trying to justify themselves with a bunch of pseudo-mystical claptrap, I suspect they'd get a lot less shit.

Great videos, btw, dobbs. Thanks for the post.
posted by dersins at 4:34 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do I find her annoying?
posted by unSane at 4:37 PM on July 7, 2008


The fixed gear is necessary to get control of the bike - otherwise it's damnably difficult to control when doing the one-wheel stunts.

Were the BMX bikes fixies? Cause I've loved those ever since I saw Rad as a kid. I only progressed to the foot peg level though.
posted by smackfu at 4:37 PM on July 7, 2008


Were the BMX bikes fixies?

No, not usually. But the tricks aren't exactly the same. The fixed gear enables the rider to ride backwards and forwards via their own power whereas BMXers are forced to go backwards via physics only (for instance, go forwards, bunnyhop 180 and coast backwards on the transferred energy--or ride up a hill, stop, and then coast down backwards). I'm not saying one is any better than the other, just that they're different. BMX bikes also have smaller wheels which make them easier to climb over and such--and thicker wheels, which can be stood on with the bike coming out beneath you at different angles.

I used to ride trick bikes when I was a kid and loved doing it and when I started riding single speed bikes this year I watched some vids of trick riders and mostly wasn't impressed because I was comparing it to my old BMX days. However, there's not much to compare when you've ridden both.

When I was a kid I could bunny hop about 3.5 feet up; there's no way in hell I could do that on my SS or a fixed gear bike. When I was 15 or so I actually built a "high jump" like setup in shop class--metal bars on stands with adjustable height thingies to put a limbo bar across--which me and my friends would jump over. I pretty much lived on a bike from age 12 to 17.

As I became older and larger, BMX bikes became a little ridiculous to ride. I made the jump to "adult" bikes with gears and such and over the years pretty much stopped riding altogether even though I still owned pretty good bikes.

The reason I stopped was because, as dersins says in his post, the only reason I was riding because "I just want to get to fucking work. Or the store. Or whatever." But riding those bikes wasn't fun even though they were usually convenient.

When I switched to a single speed bike (which is like a fixed gear bike in the sense that it only has one gear, but not like a fixed gear bike in the sense that I can stop pedalling and the wheels still spin), I was amazed at how, almost immediately, the euphoria (I really don't know another word for it) that I felt when I rode bikes as a kid returned. I've been on my bike every day since I bought it, rain or shine, and with the exception of lugging around the lock, loved every minute of it.

Gears allow me to do that better than their lack would.

I've found this to be not at all the case, actually. I think most people who believe this are coming from the experience of riding only a geared bike and are thinking of it as "I'd have to stay in this gear (whatever gear they're in when they think it) the whole time? Fuck that!" But it's not that. You're choosing a gear that's right for you and the geography of your city. You're choosing your favorite gear (which probably does not exist on your geared bike) and sticking with it. It's like when you ride a bike that's fit to your body--it just feels great--compared to hopping on a bike built for someone 1.5 feet taller than you--which feels like hell.

I don't ride a fixed gear bike as my knees are pretty much shot from basketball and ultimate but I wish that I could because the few times I've done it in back alleys and closed courts, I've loved it. But down a hill? I'd break my fucking neck. So, I'll stick with SS for now but, unlike dersins, I don't think the connection people mention they have with their fixies is at all bullshit. Usually these people just love riding bikes and, compared to the other types of bikes one can ride, fixies are the most fun.

One gear riding (whether fixed of single) is not the same as riding only one gear on a multi-gear bike. I know that hearing that doesn't really make sense but you have to try it to understand it.
posted by dobbs at 5:07 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I could do that if I didn't have soft testicles.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:11 PM on July 7, 2008


I once learned to ride the unicycle, though not very well. Fixed-gear bikes were then a specialty almost exclusively used by circus clowns and similar performers as "unicycles with front wheels." They make it possible to do indefinite wheelies forward and backward, because you're basically riding a unicycle with a front wheel.
posted by localroger at 5:36 PM on July 7, 2008


Her stunts aren't much more impressive than those Paul Newman learned for a bit in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, where he buys a new-fangled safety bike, and does tricks on it to impress Katharine Ross, while B.J. Thomas sang "Raindrops Are Falling On My Head."
posted by paulsc at 6:32 PM on July 7, 2008


According to this interview, she is a 31-year-old German gymnast-turned-"artistic bicyclist" who lives in China:
I used to do gymnastics. At the age of 13 I stopped gymnastics and was looking for some new sport. A friend said I should come with her to a unicycling place. I was very reluctant, because from what she was telling about it sounded really boring. I did go and as expected they were only riding unicycles in circles (which is very boring). Then a lady came and started doing tricks on a bike. I immediately said “That is my new sport”. I started right away and love it till today. [...]

I used to live in Hamburg. That was when I was working for the particle accelerator doing physics research. Now I live in Beijing, China. That is one of the best places to be right now. The Olympics are coming up and everybody is excited. I am a candidate for carrying the Olympics torch. If you want to support me, please vote for me at this website. [...]

I work for an American company called JDSU as the Business Development manager for Asia-Pacific. We are a leading company providing test equipment for the telecommunication industry. I am based out of Beijing so that I am closer to our customers. For business, I have to travel to all countries in Asia and also to Australia and New Zealand. My business travel has become slightly less, in 2005 and 2006 I was on the road about three quarters of my time. Therefore it is hard to keep up with a sport where I need equipment, like a bike.
posted by pracowity at 7:05 PM on July 7, 2008


German physicist with gymnast physique? I think I'm in lovelust.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:42 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is as cool as trick riders at the circus, but even cooler without all the horse abuse.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:43 PM on July 7, 2008


These days it's called flatland BMX. And it is awesome.
posted by sophist at 7:52 PM on July 7, 2008


That's exactly what I thought of, BrotherCaine. I thought she must have had training in that kind of equestrianism, but it seems she was busy being a ninja scientist instead. How awesome is that.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:59 PM on July 7, 2008


You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world.
I'll give you anything, everything if you want things.
posted by prinado at 8:24 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice links sophists. Are those guys riding brakeless or with coaster brakes?
posted by dobbs at 8:39 PM on July 7, 2008


Are those guys riding brakeless or with coaster brakes?

Front brakes. The mod is called the "Potts Modification" -- thread the brake cable through the steerer tube, then out to the bar. Note that this works because the handlebars are fixed in relation to the front wheel, you can spin the head tube (and, by extension, the whole bike) around the steerer as much as you want if the brake cable isn't tied to it. The caliper already mounts to the fork, so you just need a couple of extra holes. The tight bends in the brake cables aren't good for braking, but these bikes don't move fast.

It looks like there was a reaction arm for a coaster brake on the back wheel of at least one of those bikes, but the guy spent so little time on the pedals or the back wheel that I couldn't confirm it. I can confirm that he's not riding a fixed-gear, the pedals don't move unless driven.

posted by eriko at 9:18 PM on July 7, 2008


Yeah, dobbs, most dudes these days ride brakeless on the rear, and just a single front brake, since most spinning tricks on the rear don't really require a brake and you can use your foot for pretty much everything.

There are a lot of guys going brakeless entirely, but I found after 15 years doing normal flatland freestyle that brakeless tricks required too much perfection for my tastes. You can save a trick about half the time with a well-timed pump of the brake lever. Personally I always ran both brakes on the off chance I might need them someday.
posted by mathowie at 9:35 PM on July 7, 2008


I've always enjoyed watching freestyle flatland cycling, but most of what I've seen (the so-called "extreme" sports stuff you'll see in the X-Games) has a somewhat different aesthetic (more sudden complex changes, fewer long gymnastic holds and stands) than this. It's great to see someone taking a different approach to the art. I see a lot of influence from gymnastics here, but interestingly, her style seems closer to men's gymnastics than to women's.

Great post.

And great link, little sprout. Unicycle Girl's style is even more interesting to me, primarily because she takes on so many different styles in that one performance. She starts out very dancy, then moves to more trick-based "extreme" sports stuff, does a little figure-skating style spinning, and returns to the dance style again. Fantastic!
posted by ErWenn at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2008


"aw man that cross foot kkruiser barflipped to halfpacker at 3:17 is soo immensely hard i've been trying it for about two weeks now and am only just within reach of it i swear!!"
Nice links sophist
posted by HappyHippo at 9:41 PM on July 7, 2008


Thanks for the links, Sophist. Great examples of the "extreme" style I was talking about. The flatland events have always been my favorites in "extreme" sport competitions. It's a shame that they get such less coverage than the races (meh) and the bigger flying-through-the-air events.
posted by ErWenn at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2008


Yeah in my day we rode front and back hand brakes or front with a coaster. This was early-mid 80s. Some of the frames I had in those days were GT Performer in 84 or 85, PK Ripper in 84 I think and a Redline before that that I forget the model of.

Flatland was just called Freestyle or street riding back then and there were very few people who were excellent at it--no one was doing anything near what the kids are these days. I think pegs came out in 86 or 87 just as I was putting those bikes away.

Good times.
posted by dobbs at 10:01 PM on July 7, 2008


Beautiful.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:43 PM on July 7, 2008


I almost shed a tear when I finally got rid of my freestyle bike last month.
posted by mathowie at 12:01 AM on July 8, 2008


A word of warning to DU: She doesn't have a Wikipedia page.
posted by Eideteker at 5:23 AM on July 8, 2008


Nice tricks Matt!

I once sat on my handlebars and rode my bike backwards. That was the sum total of my tricks career.
posted by asok at 6:00 AM on July 9, 2008


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