Talk about those fixie hipsters…

Why is TARCK so “in”?

David, Carlton, Rich Kelly, Byron, Donna and I are recording a new episode of the Spokesmen cycling podcast this weekend and one of the likely topics of discussion is this whole “new bike culture” outside of what has been mainstream bicycling in the United States. Byron and Carlton both plan more in depth posts on this topic (with great insight from Rich Kelly), but I’m interested in your observations and opinions.

Fixed gear fan

Where are these kids coming from? Who are their influences? Are there popular culture influences for teens and young adults that encourage them to take up fixed gear bikes?

A new thing in San Jose, California is the San Jose Bike Party. Every third Friday of the month, people show up with all kinds of bikes — choppers, BMX, fixies, cruisers, hybrids, even road bikes and mountain bikes. In May, over 1,000 people showed up for this loosely organized ride and stretched out over a mile as they made their way from Campbell to the new Mary Avenue bike bridge connecting Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Brakeless fixie

What strikes me is the anti-establishment sentiment among many riders. My guess is that a lot of people are taking up bikes partly as a statement against mainstream views on transportation and community. A lot of them come from the BMX and skater community.

This sentiment is still not widespread, however. The 1,000 people who showed up for the May San Jose Bike Party represents 1/10th of 1% of San Jose’s population. Most teens in the South Bay still don’t seem to know what a fixed gear bike is.

I’m an old guy with a vaguely independent streak who’s been riding bikes for a while, but I’d like to know: for the teens and young adults who are into fixies — what was your influence? How did you first hear about fixed gear bikes?

Why are tarck bikes so “in” now?

Daniel Menlo Park

All photos by Richard Masoner.

53 Comments

  • Yokota Fritz
    August 12, 2009 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    @Anon 3:56 – a comment about your perception on individualism. I think it's more about belonging to a group or a tribe (if you will) rather than asserting individualism. Everybody feels a need to belong to something, and a uniform, style or fashion is part of that statement of belonging.

  • Yokota Fritz
    August 12, 2009 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    @Anon 3:56 – a comment about your perception on individualism. I think it's more about belonging to a group or a tribe (if you will) rather than asserting individualism. Everybody feels a need to belong to something, and a uniform, style or fashion is part of that statement of belonging.

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