With the Westminster Bicycle Swap Meet fast approaching I finally got around to converting two old road bikes into fixed gears to sell at the event. I always enjoy doing these conversions. I love the simplicity of a fixed gear bicycle.

I also love the nostalgic throw back to the early years of cycling, both historically and personally (after all my Big Wheel was technically a fixed gear). Gradually, riding fixed gear bikes has become a cool thing to do. More recently it has morphed into the “ultra-hip-indie-rocker-high-school-kid- in-tight-jeans” way to separate from the crowd. Aspects of this are great. Few elements of cycling find their way into pop-culture. Other factors however, are less appealing. A select number of these youths recently latched onto the term “Critical Mass Ride” and altered the meaning to fit their musings. They somehow believe the intent is to ride 4,5,6… abreast through downtown Frederick on epoxy-made fixed gear bicycles as a prank on the community. Now I enjoy pranks and have done my fair share of joking around especially in my teen years. My two concerns are that the actions of a few will paint cyclists in a negative light and these few young people will never fully respect the bicycle in all of its glory.

Here is a video about the fixed gear craze.

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4 comments

  1. actualy no one has an epoxy fixies they are all bult from scratch home fry why dont u come to a crit mass oncei herd the reason for critical mass was to get a path in frederick…thats complete bullshit why have paths when we have roads and bike are only allowed on them…..critical mass has been around since 95 and its never been about paths only non motorized transportationreply this

  2. I’d offer this to Hjalti’s question: Riding a few abreast in downtown traffic may just make people more aware of cyclist – or it may just piss them off. Who knows? I do know that I’ve seen more than a few drivers get irritated with bicyclists who are riding the downtown streets. Seems the cagers are in a hurry to get to the next red light and think a nice blast of the horn will hurry things along. The only way to ride safely downtown is to take the lane. There is no other option if you want to live since a car and bike can’t share a lane on Market or many other similar streets. If you do ride close to the parked cars you’ll either get doored or a car will try to share space with you and wind up smashing you like a bug.That said, I’m not sure the Frederick CM does much at all. I’m seen them rolling around town, it looks more like the booze cruz rides we used to do in B-more, a bunch of people riding around having fun put not necessarily putting forth any type of message.Good or bad? Bottom line is I don’t really know. I suppose more people on bikes is generally good, trendy suicide hub fixed gears and all. I see Tom’s concern’s though, sometimes it’s a delicate balance between activism and nusance.Cross posted to the Bike Site.

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