So what is the deal with this fixed gear craze? Is riding bikes actually cool again? Actually this whole thing about fixed gear bikes has been going on for quite some time. In some countries like the US, it started like maybe some 7-8 years ago, maybe more. Originally single speed or fixed gear bikes, were used by track cyclists. You know, the ones that go around in a velodrome for racing. Then bike messengers, bike couriers if you will, adapted to fixed gear because it was easier to maintain and they didn’t have to worry about changing gears and all that crap. They only had to pedal.
With bike messengers, there was a whole culture to it. I was actually introduced to the whole bike culture during my 2nd year while studying in London, and only because it was part of my final project. Bike messengers have a closed culture. Not a lot of people know of this culture and not a lot of people can be in it. It was like a tribe. You actually had to become a bike messenger before you were to be accepted. Sort of like tribalism rituals.
A bike messenger’s job is gruelling. It’s not just sending mail, but along the way trying to avoid pedestrians, cars and police harassment. Pedestrians often call them a pest because they’re always barely hitting people. On top of that you have to have you body ready to cycle all day everyday, even during the freezing months of winter. Owh, and they get hit by taxi’s and other vehicles as well, so it’s not exactly a joy ride. The pay itself isn’t good, but they make it up with an abundant amount of passion for cycling and just the joy of being on a bike. It’s punk, it’s anti-establishment, and for them driving cars suck. So knowing that, I could actually understand why it was a closed community. And that made them cool.
So borrowing or adapting the messenger culture, fixie culture was born. This whole scene included music, arty stuff, how you wore your clothes, what you did. It was actually a way of life. Not to sound like its Buddha or anything, but there’s a whole world to it. A world only people in the circle would know. Some people like Mark and I, came from the skateboarding culture.
Surprisingly enough that culture was the same. You would hang out with your friends riding, doing tricks, watching videos of other people riding, chilling out, exactly like skateboarding. It’s no surprise that most of the people into fixies now come from these familiar sub-cultures like bmx and skateboarding. So naturally for us, it was the perfect thing to do. We as humans are more animal like than you think, and the desire to be a part of a group, or part of the heard, is proof of that animal instinct.
Another interesting part of a fixed gear is that the free reign to customize your bike totally, making the bike an extension of ourselves.
Some people may hate on it that more and more people are getting into this closed community of fixed gear riding, but personally I think its cool. Sure some people may be posers, but in the case of Malaysia, it’s good that were riding bikes again. I remembered when being cool on a bicycle lasted up till only Darjah 6. And there’s this negative perception where it’s too hot to cycle and all that. Well our country’s perfect for riding in the mornings and evenings. We’ve got mamaks don’t we? Night riding has got to be the best thing ever. And helping mother nature has never looked so cool.
Riding for different reasons, but enjoying life is high priority for everyone.
Sure let the haters hate, but we welcome anyone who wants to go on a night ride with us and just hang out. Guys and girls. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fixed gear, convert any old bike, or just ride any bike you can find, fixed or no fixed. To us riding should be shared and enjoyed. And with that, we welcome you to Quixofixed ; )