Skip

Performance, it's the name of the game
August 13, 2009 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Performance, it's the name of the game. (SLYT) For cyclists who are sick of being associated with hipsters on fixies, this track is for you (and me).
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking (85 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"For all you hipsters, go get yourself some breaks and some shifters."

This is great! I'm neither a serious cyclist nor do I have a fixie, but I've been flipped off and yelled at enough times on my road bike to be more than annoyed with this fixed gear trend. Funny video.
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:03 AM on August 13, 2009


Looks to be filmed in Portland, yo
posted by asfuller at 11:08 AM on August 13, 2009


For all you hipsters, go get yourself some breaks

Gimme a brake.
posted by dersins at 11:12 AM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


That guy needs to be slapped.
posted by item at 11:16 AM on August 13, 2009


Well, once they get themselves some breaks having brakes will be a moot point.
posted by Decimask at 11:16 AM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's that term, vicarious embarrassment?
posted by naju at 11:17 AM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't want to like this, but god help me I do.

wish he had better flow, though. little too Average Homeboy for me
posted by pts at 11:22 AM on August 13, 2009


Almost posted this three days or so ago when it started making the rounds. I think it's funny, the ass crack and eight inch wide handlebars being spot on. BikeSnobNYC thinks it might be viral markreting for, y'know, Performance, the big bike company. Good stuff. As I've said here many, many, many times I'll be glad when this fixie trend/fad/whatever is dead. Go ride a 40lb Dutch bike, Penny Farthing, Moulton, whatever, just leave us alone.
posted by fixedgear at 11:25 AM on August 13, 2009


"For all you hipsters, go get yourself some breaks and some shifters."

*brakes


((hangs head in shame))
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:28 AM on August 13, 2009


also ridicules bikers that spend way too much on components they'll never need.
posted by lacus at 11:39 AM on August 13, 2009


Do male cyclists actually shave their legs to get more speed?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:41 AM on August 13, 2009


I liked the part where the girls stuck their butts out.

Heh. Anyway, saw a lot of fixies driving around Chicago on Monday. I seriously don't get it but maybe if I had a lot of urban riding it would be different.
posted by dhartung at 11:44 AM on August 13, 2009


Please don't let me be associated with either group. As a cyclist I'd rather be associated with grandparents and children and everyday people in their work clothes getting where they need to go. That would be an indication that the city has shaped their transportation infrastructure to allow an inexpensive, healthy and fun way of getting around to be safe for everyone. Instead cycling on the streets is now thought something dangerous that's restricted to the committed spandex pros or the downtowners fashioning an attitude, flipping suburban car culture the bird.
posted by TimTypeZed at 11:44 AM on August 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


Huh, I'm just happy that all my friends are riding bikes instead of cars.
posted by RGD at 11:45 AM on August 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


PerFAILmance is really only good for tubes (the store brand, Forte, tubes suck but they are really cheap) and getting cheapo accessories when they bomb your email box with "LUNCHTIME SAVE SALE EVERYTHING IS %50 OFF FOR 3 HOURS TODAY PLUS TUESDAY IS LADIES NIGHT".
posted by wcfields at 11:46 AM on August 13, 2009


Do male cyclists actually shave their legs to get more speed?

No. Not for speed. At least, not that I know of.

All of the really hard core racing-minded cyclists* I knew that shaved their legs did it because they tended to fall down fairly frequently, and bandages/bandaids stick to hair and it makes road rash easier to clean out and care for after the fact.

*Racing-minded. Not casual commuters, weekend pleasure riders or whatever. People who actually raced and competed in triathlons or long distance road races. The same kind of people who get excited about a new seat that weighs a few ounces or grams less than another seat.

After that many miles on the road it's pretty inevitable that they'd crash and burn occasionally. Or often.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them were doing it for aesthetics to show off their (admittedly fantastically) well defined legs.

posted by loquacious at 11:52 AM on August 13, 2009


Finally! Someone who takes women in cycling seriously!
posted by Heretic at 11:53 AM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


What TimTypeZed said. And what Amsterdam and Copenhagen, inter alia, did.
posted by everichon at 12:07 PM on August 13, 2009


I think some aspects of fixie culture are stupid [tiny handlebars, no brakes], but I do like riding a fixie just because it's a different sensation than riding with a freewheel.

Live and let live.
posted by cloeburner at 12:09 PM on August 13, 2009


oh the amount of times I've yelled at some hipster to get some gears as he's sea-sawing back and forth off the stop light, fast as mollasses, taking up the lane, up a 5 degree incline....
posted by imaswinger at 12:12 PM on August 13, 2009


Also, the miniature handlebars and no brakes thing is annoying as fuck, as is the whole "I look like a bike messenger but I'm not" shtick needs to die.

I used to live with a hard core messenger. She helps organize alley cat races and often goes to international messenger meetups. She doesn't ride a fixie. She rides some kind of hybrid touring frame with drop bars and gears and would never spray paint anything on her bike, much less the fucking chain, which she maintained with incredible care and devotion, hand cleaning it and waxing it every other night or so with blessed beeswax harvested by blind Tibetan Monks who have Phil's Grease running in their veins rather than blood.

She also wears a helmet and functional, basic cycling attire.

In fact the vast majority of the guys and gals I'd see hanging around 1st/Post/Market don't ride fixies. Sure, they sometimes ride with chopped handlebars, but not so short you can't steer effectively. If your handle bars are narrower than your hips or the outside of your pedals, it's kind of missing the point. Sure, they have big huge messenger bags, but they're not made by Timbuktu and bought in a store, they're custom made and fitted and usually made out of a mix of laminated cardboard and discarded vinyl-clad banner material with lots of ugly industrial-strength stitching and webbing. If you can't fit an entire Banker's Box of paper in it, or two of them, or a suitcase of beer or two, it's not a messenger bag.

Real messengers hold these fixie riding fashion victims in seriously deep contempt.

But don't take my word for it. If you're a wannabe messenger hipster riding a fixie and want to find out just how much you suck just try showing up at an alleycat race on your fixie and in your tight jeans.

They're going to clean your clock so good you'll see the shine from space. Possibly while having a beer and a smoke while riding.

That said - weekend warriors wearing spandex on two thousand dollar bikes who can't even ride a century without bitching about it or acting like it's some major accomplishment kind of suck too.

And all that being said - I'm just bitching about the fronting and attitude. I really don't give a fuck if someone wants to ride a granny-trike in a clown suit. Just ride, ok? Shut up and ride!
posted by loquacious at 12:15 PM on August 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


For the bike obsessed: Those are Shimano 105 and old Dura Ace components, which makes the video even more funny.
posted by cccorlew at 12:21 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like to sing while I ride, fascist.
posted by everichon at 12:32 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah. An alloy triple-crank, and not a composite compact-double? Fail.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:40 PM on August 13, 2009


Whoa, bicyclistas weirdly demand that you ride your bicycle exactly how they think you should. Apparently only certain people are allowed tight jeans and push 48T. Only some people are allowed a Cologno and fancy shifters ... and for the rest of you its Schwinn.*

AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

Such a tranquil format of transportation certainly creates interesting pedagogy.

* of course only Schwinns produced in the original Chicago factory with serials between BF***** and LN*****.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:42 PM on August 13, 2009


and for the rest of you its Schwinn a unicycle. AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

You want lots of wheels, drive a car. Pick up some balance you bastards.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:49 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, the miniature handlebars and no brakes thing is annoying as fuck, as is the whole "I look like a bike messenger but I'm not" shtick needs to die.

I don't understand why stuff like this annoys people. If another cyclist is doing you no harm, why should the way they dress, or the way their bike looks, be of any concern at all?
posted by Dali Atomicus at 12:52 PM on August 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


You want lots of wheels, drive a car. Pick up some balance you bastards.

[NOT OCTOCYCLIST]
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2009


I had no idea there was a hipster-emulating-bike-messenger trend. I haven't noticed it.

There is sometimes a group of city bike messengers hanging out on a corner taking a break near my work place. They always have crazy cool style, urban and punkish, with Allen Iverson arm sleeves but with wacky designs on them. Once at a party, I was asked if I was a bike messenger because I had a performance long-sleeve under a regular short-sleeve t-shirt. I took it as a compliment. Another time in the city, I saw a guy on a bike riding across the intersection in regular street clothes and wearing a yellow fireman's helmet. That was awesome. He may have been a hipster though. Nevertheless, city bike messengers got it goin on, stylewise.
posted by That takes balls. at 1:08 PM on August 13, 2009


When I drove to work every day, I used to watch cyclists riding dangerously and think, "Man, those guys are assholes."

Now that I ride my bike to work every day (a fixed gear conversion I built up myself, by the way), I see cyclists talking about other cyclists and I think, "Man, those guys are assholes."
posted by god hates math at 1:11 PM on August 13, 2009


If another cyclist is doing you no harm, why should the way they dress, or the way their bike looks, be of any concern at all?

This applies to a whole lot of stuff, like pretty much fashion / style / taste in general but this ain't utopia.
posted by smackfu at 1:13 PM on August 13, 2009


I don't understand why stuff like this annoys people. If another cyclist is doing you no harm, why should the way they dress, or the way their bike looks, be of any concern at all?

There is that, but it does affect me when it affects the attitudes of other road users towards cyclists. be that as simple as dressing sufficiently "other" to aggravate the them-vs-us attitude, or behavior, (such as when some dick on a bike aggravates some dick in a car through bad behavior, (the dick in the car projects that behavior onto me when we have to interact on the road later, which is annoying and frequently dangerous.)

Stripping the bike down to the point where it makes you noticeably less road worthy
posted by -harlequin- at 1:14 PM on August 13, 2009


Oops, I went to cancel that post, and accidentally hit the post button instead. Let it be known that I didn't think my post here was post-worthy, and I'm not standing behind it. It wasn't even supposed to be here today. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:16 PM on August 13, 2009


If it was about performance, he'd be riding a recumbent.
posted by Tacodog at 1:19 PM on August 13, 2009


He littered a few times during that video.
posted by jefbla at 1:26 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


that was funny. you know, in spite of him being just as an obnoxious twat as the hipsters and hipsterettes he's decrying.
posted by krautland at 1:52 PM on August 13, 2009


that was funny. you know, in spite of him being just as an obnoxious twat as the hipsters and hipsterettes he's decrying.

I took that to be the point of the video in the first place.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 1:52 PM on August 13, 2009


> Do male cyclists actually shave their legs to get more speed?

That and, AFAIK, leg/body hair grabs pavement when wiping out at speed. This results in losing strips of skin rather than "just" scrapes.
posted by Decimask at 1:56 PM on August 13, 2009


Err, "That and" referring to what loquacious said.
posted by Decimask at 1:57 PM on August 13, 2009


Oh yeah, that's totally SE Portland. I laughed the best at the teeny weeny handlebars, man, I hate those.
posted by redsparkler at 2:02 PM on August 13, 2009


Whoa, bicyclistas weirdly demand that you ride your bicycle exactly how they think you should.

Thank goodness that car culture has never produced this sort of fanatic or we would be in real trouble.
posted by mightygodking at 2:04 PM on August 13, 2009


Thank goodness that car culture has never produced this sort of fanatic or we would be in real trouble.

Would I have to own a car to know about that?
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:12 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


My bike has fenders and a rack. I don't get why people wear stuff on their back while cycling - so uncomfortable, so sweaty.
posted by GuyZero at 2:13 PM on August 13, 2009


I bought a new bike today. I'm going to ride it around the village where I live, up to the shops and back, and out into the countryside where the roads are quiet, and maybe take some pictures.

I'm sort of glad I live somewhere where all the fashion and nonsense that goes with cycling culture is just something I can read about on Metafilter.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:18 PM on August 13, 2009


Real messengers hold these fixie riding fashion victims in seriously deep contempt.

They are not cool. These guys are cool! No wait, those guys. No. It's those women. No wait....
posted by srboisvert at 2:20 PM on August 13, 2009


naju: "What's that term, vicarious embarrassment?"

Igry, brought to attention via languagehat of course.
 
posted by vapidave at 2:23 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If that guy tried to talk to me I'd walk away very quickly. But I wouldn't ride away for fear of mockery.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:28 PM on August 13, 2009


I don't understand why stuff like this annoys people.

If a guy follows fashion trends honestly -- "Hey, I know it's stupid but the ladies love it and I love the ladies!" -- I don't mind a bit. Guys have always gone to extraordinary lengths to make up for not having actually extraordinary lengths. What's funny is when people try to justify dumbass fashion choices by saying that, for example, tiny handlebars and fixed gears and superduperultralight frames that cost a million dollars are actually rational choices. If such stuff makes you feel special or helps you to pick up chicks, then fine, but own up to it. Why do you shave your legs? Because it looks hot. Why do you wear tight racing pants for your casual little bicycle rides? Because it looks hot. Tiny handlebars? It looks cool. If banana seats and big chopper handlebars with vinyl streamers were cool this year, they'd have them instead.
posted by pracowity at 2:28 PM on August 13, 2009


((hangs head in shame))
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:28 PM on August 13

Can we go with eponymoronical (as in oxymoron) on this one?
I kinda hate to go there but with my nick it can only be used as a compliment.

(Hi too bad you're not me. I'm not trying to be insulting. There is sort of a history here.)
posted by vapidave at 3:00 PM on August 13, 2009


I don't understand why stuff like this annoys people.

In London the fixie crowd REALLY annoys me because (though not exclusively) they're the ones causing all the chaos, riding through red lights, down the pavement or whatever, giving the car drivers more fuel to complain about the rest of us cyclists.

I have only annecdotal evidence to back this up, but time after time, when I'm waiting at the lights while pedestrians cross, the asshole who flies past nearly knocking everyone down is riding a fixie.

Something about it just makes them* arrogant SOBs.

(*though I'm sure not you, I'm sure you're very well meaning. But come to Hoxton, oh, you'll want to kill)
posted by ciderwoman at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2009


If another cyclist is doing you no harm, why should the way they dress, or the way their bike looks, be of any concern at all?

Because that would be REALLY F'N BORING.

I loved this because it satirizes both roadies and fixies. I guess us MTBers are next, or maybe the 29er crowd (that's me). BRING IT ON.
posted by unSane at 3:27 PM on August 13, 2009


Hilarious. Thanks for posting!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:41 PM on August 13, 2009


That and, AFAIK, leg/body hair grabs pavement when wiping out at speed. This results in losing strips of skin rather than "just" scrapes.

Not quite. It's for *after* you get road rash... since pulling scabs and band aids off hairy skin is very painful.

But the main reason is just because.
posted by unSane at 3:50 PM on August 13, 2009


I've been thinking about getting one of these bikes. I'm not sure kind of asshole will that make me, can someone let me know?
posted by Bookhouse at 3:51 PM on August 13, 2009


I don't care if you're a hipster, I don't care if you're a roadie, I don't care what one group thinks about another group, I don't care what you look like, I don't care about what you think about what I look like. I don't care if you're fast, I don't care if you're faster than me, or if I'm faster than you. I don't care if you have gears, or brakes*, or flat bars, or steel, or carbon.

I wear homemade bike shorts and Walmart shirts. My bike is heavy and rusty, and has components that were low end when it was made in the 80's. It gets me to work and back as fast as my fitness, terrain, and traffic lights allow.

There are so many more important things to care about.

*I care if you can't stop in a reasonable distance.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 4:24 PM on August 13, 2009


The real cycling nerds: mountain unicyclists! (kinda fuzzy video, maybe NSFW if your work doesn't like hearing the words "doesn't that hurt your junk?" and the word bitch.) - Also filmed in Portland.
posted by vespabelle at 5:22 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember when people just rode bikes to get from one place to the other. Do people still do that? It would seem it has now become yet another way for one group of Sneetches to feel superior to another group Sneetches.

You know I've never thought once—not once—for what type of bike a person is riding. And I commuted on a bike for about six years. And, other than that brief period in the early 1990's when people wore all that ugly tight neon colored gear with all the logos, I suppose I've never really bothered to think about what other people are wearing while they ride a bike.

Back in my day we were taught it takes a special kind of douche bag to get worked up over that kind of minutiae. Now excuse me while I chase some bikes off my freshly mowed greenery.
posted by tkchrist at 5:25 PM on August 13, 2009


GuyZero: Unless you ride a bike with shocks, the only way to make your burden part of the sprung load is to carry it on your back (the springs being your elbows and knees). Sprung to unsprung load ratio can make the difference between a fun bike to ride and a sluggish burden. It is all about the handling. With the sprung/unsprung ratio too low, bumps or irregularities cause you to lose road grip at higher speeds, reducing traction and control when you need it most. With a higher ratio, you maintain a larger degree of traction and control, giving a more lively, responsive and enjoyable ride.

For me, having tried both putting the load directly on my bike and on my back, I consider the better handling to be worth the sweat and burden.
posted by idiopath at 5:53 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I don't understand why stuff like this annoys people
posted by facetious at 5:54 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've said it before, but maybe not here:

NO MATTER WHO OR HOW THEY DO IT, RIDING BIKES IS A GOOD THING FOR EVERYBODY.

if it takes an annoying cultural fad to get people to ride, then so be it.
posted by Think_Long at 5:56 PM on August 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


If another cyclist is doing you no harm, why should the way they dress, or the way their bike looks, be of any concern at all?

What ciderwoman and -harlequin- said.

I just moved from SF. Outside of urban/street BMX and Mountain Bike kids jumping off of flights of stairs and grinding rails - and, well, I think they're more aware of the chaos they're causing than hipster fixie riders - the fashion conscious fixie poseurs are the ones I saw causing the most havoc on the street by riding sidewalks, darting in and out of traffic, running stops and red lights and otherwise behaving badly and making the rest of the cyclists look bad.

I had one fixie riding hipster collide with me at a fairly moderate pace on Market once, but thankfully I probably outweighed him and his bike combined by a good 20-40 pounds, so he just kind of stopped suddenly and knocked the wind out of me pretty good. After some cross words were exchanged where he basically acted like an ass and tried to imply it was my fault I got hit by a cyclist on a crowded sidewalk I ended up bear-hugging him and his bike and bodily depositing him in the road where he belonged. I was nice about it and placed him wheels down, but... what the fuck, man?

Granted on the grand scale of thing the real problem may be people (usually in cars) who make broad judgments about all cyclists based on these few potential organ donors, but there you go.
posted by loquacious at 6:08 PM on August 13, 2009


4 of 5 of my bicycles are anti-performance because they are big and heavy vintage and antique bicycles. I remember almost killing myself once trying to carry one of these bikes up a couple flights of stairs. I lost my footing and almost fell backwards and I would have most definitely seriously injured myself.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:48 PM on August 13, 2009


I don't think the word "single" means what you think it means.
posted by Eideteker at 7:04 PM on August 13, 2009


Are you in the right thread, Eid? Or planet?
posted by loquacious at 7:46 PM on August 13, 2009


The original (and possibly still greatest) downhill mountain unicyclist: Kris Holm (of Vancouver, Canada)
posted by anthill at 8:02 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


better video
posted by anthill at 8:04 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't you guys get it? Single speed for life!
posted by Jeff_Larson at 9:23 PM on August 13, 2009


Last time I was aware of such things, the hipster bicycle was the cruiser. When did the fixie with chopped handlebars suddenly become the hipster bicycle of choice?

My mid-90s vintage mountain bike works just fine, thanks!
posted by deanc at 9:59 PM on August 13, 2009


confusing - this seems to be taking a piss on hipsters and "performance cyclists" in equal measure

And while viewed from a GQ viewpoint both may have much to account for, I'll defend the following

city cyclists
- Old steel frames are comfy, strong and - on the bike scale of things - theft proof
- One gear is plenty for the vast majority of city riding
- Drop bars are almost useless for pure city riding with alt-bars such as straight or especially bullhorns accommodating the much more prevalent "heads up" positions
- Drop bars with brakes only only the drops are simply dangerous for city riding
- Track stops or weaving: stopping isn't fun - so instead it's a fun game to try not to stop - get it? And don't worry about them taking up your lane - the initial acceleration of a bike is way higher than a car (weight) so they will clear the intersection before you are even fully into it
(can't say much about fixies - my knees won't take em - people say they are fun though)


"performance cyclists" (ie, anyone who is cycling for exercise?)
- Spandex shorts (with chamois insert) go a long way to alleviate nasty conditions resulting from extended cycling including:
      - saddle sores (big blisters on your ass that can require draining by a doctor)
      - penile numbness (as advertised)
       While it takes more than cycling to the corner store for a back of smokes to obtain these injuries, it really isn't much further
- Helmets: really need to justify this? the majority of cycling accidents resulting in permanent disability could be prevented by wearing a helmet - ask the doctor at your local head trauma clinic
- "Expensve" bikes: for ~ $800 CDN (so like $650 real money) you can buy a bike that you can lift with your pinky (and you will make all your friends pick it up) and be kitted out with solid, reliable components. It will be an aluminum frame with (hopefully) a carbon fibre fork and seatpost for some comfort (carbon fibre has more give). Compared to your $200 departmental full suspension ride, you will exert a relative minimal amount of energy and simply fly down the road. The difference in efficiency will be noticeable immediately and only grow over time. Biking will be orders of magnitude more enjoyable. (again - $650 bucks)
- the leg shaving I'll give you - you have to be really really serious to justify this - and even then it's questionable

point is most of the technology or trends are pretty well justified - if it's rather the "poserness" of certain individuals that enrages you, remember to hate the player and not the game.

and finally, if you're in a car and the lifestyle choice of any cyclist starts to anger you, don't forget: you're in a car ...
posted by sloe at 10:24 PM on August 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm really fucking tired of this let-me-front-load-adjectives-to-describe-how-much-disdain-i-have anti-"hipster" rhetoric.

Oh, I remember when I had to walk back home uphill three ways and bread came sliced horizontally and you had to ingest pudding through a lumbar puncture! Everything was so good then, until these things that happened that were slightly different.
posted by setanor at 10:58 PM on August 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The hipster circular firing squad exists for a reason. The reason that some hipsters are hating on other hipsters using fixie bikes are because it's entered into the mainstream and being co-opted by corporations. The nature of the hipster subculture is predicated on youth growing up with complete media saturation and a consumer target their entire lives. When Urban Outfitters starts selling "their" bikes, it becomes culturally uncool, in order to stay one step ahead of the profit motives.
posted by amuseDetachment at 11:51 PM on August 13, 2009


I know nothing about cycling. Does that downhill unicyclist wear a cup? I see he puts one hand on the front part of the seat maybe to absorb some of the impact but I cringed through parts of that video.

The posted video needed less crotch and bumcrack shots and more shots of the bike pump girls.
posted by lmm at 12:09 AM on August 14, 2009


if it's rather the "poserness" of certain individuals that enrages you, remember to hate the player and not the game.

Yeah, to tone down my anti-hipster or bicycle disdain and rhetoric

Ride what you're comfortable with but don't be an asshole. I really don't care if you ride a fixie if you really like it, but if you come up to me and describe your clunky, brakeless, chopped-bar fixie as "the sex" or "the hotness" and talk about how many chicks it's going to get you, I'm going to point and laugh at you. Maybe because it makes me feel better about all the hipster chicks you're getting. I don't care. Fuck you! :)

I've also seen plenty of racing/performance cyclists be assholes on the road, and cruiser riders, and BMX riders. Fixed gear riders aren't alone in this.

I like mountain bikes with straight bars and bullhorns myself. Wear a helmet. Get a good bike that fits and suits you. Get an Electra upright cruiser. Get a recumbent. I don't care. Just ride. Don't put on a fashion show and co-ordinate your bike to your pants. Just ride.

It's mainly the people who see a bike as a fashion accessory and then go on to be all crazy/aggressive on the street and put people at risk that personally annoy me - but there's plenty of people who drive cars that way to bitch about too. Or even powered wheel chairs. Or skateboards. Or scooters. I'm not sure if it's possible on a unicycle.

And actually, I probably I used to be that aggressive urban mountain biker on the street at some level, but pretty much always in the context of taking the space I'm legally allowed on the public roads and being aggressive and confident in my body language. I didn't run stops or reds, dart, weave, or do wheelies in the middle of rush hour. Whatever, just ride, ok?
posted by loquacious at 12:15 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


If banana seats and big chopper handlebars with vinyl streamers were cool this year, they'd have them instead.
Take away the streamers, and that is cool in various parts of Australia last year.
posted by Megami at 12:16 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


the fashion conscious fixie poseurs are the ones I saw causing the most havoc on the street by riding sidewalks, darting in and out of traffic, running stops and red lights and otherwise behaving badly and making the rest of the cyclists look bad.

And that's where their behaviour *does* affect you (by making drivers feel viciously towards cyclists) so it's reasonable to be annoyed. Being annoyed at someone just for having short handlebars or dressing in tight jeans is odd, is what I was getting at.

There's not a particularly big fixie culture where I live, the dick cyclists (red-light jumpers, pavement-riders, etc) don't really belong to any identifiable tribe other than Being A Dick so maybe that's why I find it hard to understand the venom towards these guys.
posted by Dali Atomicus at 12:41 AM on August 14, 2009


There's not a particularly big fixie culture where I live, the dick cyclists (red-light jumpers, pavement-riders, etc) don't really belong to any identifiable tribe other than Being A Dick so maybe that's why I find it hard to understand the venom towards these guys.

Oh, let me show you San Francisco. Let me show you the selfish hipster assholes carreening down the street with chopped bars in one hand and a 30 pack under the other arm. SF - birthplace of Critical Mass and the intentional bike vs. car confrontation, where they'll plug and cork up the streets 20,000 people deep and 5 miles long. Home of The Mission hipster and a thousand variants of bicycle subcultures and attitudes.

For better or worse, bicycling (and being a pedestrian) is treated as a martial art in SF.

I'm not really bitching about that. I love the fact that in SF when a car driver threatens a pedestrian or cyclist everyone or nearly everyone on the street takes notice and stops what they're doing and starts mouthing a license plate number to themselves to remember it, or takes video or pictures or otherwise jots down a note just in case some impatient asshole runs over someone on foot or bike. I love the fact that SF publishes a bicycle map that shows street inclinations in easy to read variations of light, medium, dark and darker red to indicate the steepness of streets and hills. In SF they have "bike highways" and bicycle/pedestrian/MUNI advocacy groups. It's a rather daunting cyclist's Disneyland. More friendly than NYC but more hardcore than Seattle or Portland

But there are people who take advantage of this culture unfairly and are selfish and mean when it comes to pedestrians and cars.

No, it's not confined to one bicycle subculture at all, but parts of SF are plagued with... fuck... help me.... selfish hipsters who don't give a flying fuck. Oh, let me show you them. You'll wish for a crossbow or blowdart gun, I promise you.
posted by loquacious at 1:50 AM on August 14, 2009


Ride what you're comfortable with but don't be an asshole. I really don't care if you ride a fixie if you really like it, but if you come up to me and describe your clunky, brakeless, chopped-bar fixie as "the sex" or "the hotness" and talk about how many chicks it's going to get you, I'm going to point and laugh at you.

But... my uni is both "the sex" and "the hotness". You intended that "or" conjunctively, didn't you? Good.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:25 AM on August 14, 2009


You know, both groups are equal asshats.

Performance bikers. Often when I identify as a cyclist, someone will start bitching about the lance wannabe's that ride in packs, take up the lanes like its a peloton, and blow through stops and lights because to stop would screw up their cadence.

Poser fixie riders don't usually ride all that much, so no-one complains about them. Back and forth to the local bar in the wee hours when no-one else is on the road.

To my mind the normal riders wear regular clothes, ride fixies and geared depending on mood, and the bike is a tool, a very fun tool, and part of a lifestyle choice.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:01 AM on August 14, 2009


Man, that's a good point. Fixie riders should all ride unicycles; they're the logical conclusion of the trend. Fixed gear? Check! Brakeless? Check! Chopped bars? Check!

You want simplicity? Get rid of the *chain*.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wanted to like this video but just couldn't get past the implicit classism. It's not just racers vs hipsters, or road bikes vs fixies, or whatever -- it's rich vs poor. What irritates me about guys who look down on low-end components and crappy Wal-mart bikes is that they don't seem to realize it's not just about choice. I'd like to have a carbon-fiber fork and super-light frame, sure. But I can't afford them, which is why I ride a piece of crap 1980s steel frame singlespeed conversion. I'm no hipster, but it's not hard to imagine that the hipsters took the same kind of economic constraint and turned it into a style, making a virtue out of necessity.
posted by dylan20 at 9:39 AM on August 14, 2009


Top tube commentary on no brakes.
posted by fixedgear at 10:24 AM on August 14, 2009


Well ... I watched the video and, as usual, find the responses here always amusing.

Up here on the High Plains ("We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming"), one of the LBS's sponsors a number of weekly rides, one of them being the "Fixie Friday". Since it's a 7:00 AM ride, I suspect this is not a "hipster" event. Can't say for sure, since I'm currently building my fixie from an old 80's-era steel frame, but with lots of modern new components. I'm looking forward to the day I can take part.

In the meantime, I'm making do with my current ride, a vintage 1995 Cannondale F700, and adhere to loquacious's admonition:

Shut up and ride!

'nuff said!
posted by aldus_manutius at 11:24 AM on August 14, 2009


dylan20: But I can't afford them, which is why I ride a piece of crap 1980s steel frame singlespeed conversion. I'm no hipster, but it's not hard to imagine that the hipsters took the same kind of economic constraint and turned it into a style, making a virtue out of necessity.

You'll note that you are not riding a walmart bike, despite not being able to afford a good new bike. Riding a department store bicycle is sometimes a sign of poverty, but it's usually a sign of 'did not do the research' and 'doesn't take cycling seriously.' Most people who can afford a bike can afford something better, and people who can't afford a good bike but know better than to get one at walmart will usually repair or convert an old but decent bike (which can be found nearly free at yard sales or thrift stores) into a usable machine. Like you yourself have done.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:47 PM on August 14, 2009


Riding a department store bicycle is sometimes a sign of poverty, but it's usually a sign of 'did not do the research' and 'doesn't take cycling seriously.'

What's wrong with not taking cycling seriously or not doing research? Maybe people just don't give a fuck and there's nothing wrong with that. Richmond has a huge bike culture and I'm sick of the condescension a lot of people exude. As long as people aren't being dicks on their bike, leave 'em alone.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:21 PM on August 14, 2009


MaryDellamorte: What's wrong with not taking cycling seriously or not doing research?

What's wrong with not doing research before buying equipment should be immediately obvious - you are going to waste money on junk, in nearly any field of endeavor. What's wrong with not taking cycling seriously? Screw up at it badly enough at it and it'll kill you. You need to learn many things to bicycle safely, and although 'Do Not Buy a Bike at Wal-Mart' is not one of those things, you would have learned it had you done the research.

That being said, I don't run around yelling at cyclists 'your bike is bad and you should feel bad.' I don't care what other people ride. The whole anti-walmart-bike thing is mostly so new people won't buy them - it's almost never a good idea.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:48 PM on August 14, 2009


« Older Les Paul, 1915-2009   |   Inaction Comics #1 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post