Mormon Fixed


Update: The LDS Elders asked (politely) to have the photos removed — apparently this post was drawing unwanted attention to them. I’ve complied with their request. —Richard

It had to happen, ladies and gentlemen: the marriage of two uniquely American bike cultures — Latter Day Saint missionaries on bikes and urban hipster fixies!

I and several others got a real kick seeing these LDS Elders riding urban fixed gear bikes in downtown San Jose during the Via Velo open streets event last Saturday.

LDS Missionaries on fixed gear bicycle

Fixed gear bicycles can be inexpensive and are typically rugged and very easy to maintain.

Toe clips, dress shoes, and rolled pant leg: These boys have got it down.

Mormon Fixed

This guy rolls on his tribute to Green Jello with a brake (right hand on the front, natch!) and a bell on his shorty bars.

Mormon fixed

I should have asked them to trackstand or bar spin, but they just arrived in San Jose less than a month ago and they built these bikes up since their arrival.

Mormon Fixed

What do you think? Is this a match made in heaven? Or is this unnatural union an unholy alliance portending the fixie apocalypse?


  1. I was telling my dad (who was a missionary in Canada and drove a car) that the LDS Church should adopt a standard bike for all of its missionaries – something more utilitarian and comfortable than a mountain bike and backpack. A fixed gear wasn't my idea, but this works.

  2. We have a large community of Mormon missionaries patrolling the streets over here. But they are mostly using hand-me-down “mountain” bikes. Some of them look years old. Very worn and beaten-up. Chipped paint. Battle-scared frames. I'll have to get some shots of these when the opportunity presents. Now if they could get around town on some of the colorful numbers you show here…!!

  3. Good for them! Leading by example.

    Someone should connect with them and get them in a League of American Bicyclist
    traffic skills 101 class.

  4. Great pics. My son returned from serving on a bike in Las Vegas & western Nevada. Their work is torture on bikes — since bicycles are the primary means of transportation in most suburban areas, they are on them many hours a day every day. IIRC, my son put at least one bike out of its misery.

    I do seem to remember hearing that one manufacturer produces bicycles aimed specifically at Mormon missionaries and their use.

  5. cell phone? Have the missionary rules changed drastically in the past couple years? How did the mission president allow this as their use of time? I would think that the MP would believe that the time building bikes could better be used for prayer and home teachings.

  6. Cell phones are common now. When I returned home from Central Russia five years ago we had already been experimenting with them for Zone Leaders, APs, isolated DLs, senior and sister missionaries.

  7. I served in San Jose – spent many preparation day (sort of like your 'day off' for those not familiar with the term) working on my bike. Most missionaries wear through bikes so fast because they are either: 1) garbage to start with 2) horribly neglected I think these guys will do alright.

    But if you are going to complain about anything, he should be wearing a helmet. Wouldn't dare let our mission president catch us without one. (not to mention it just plain makes sense)

  8. That totally sucks. I didn't get to see the pics. Who asked you? Was it church HQ?

  9. I was recently in San Jose and saw these Elders downtown. They handled their bikes well. I was impressed.

  10. hey, where'd the good pictures go? I'm guessing someone freaked out about the texting and money spent by the good 'ol servants of god?

  11. Par for the course. I managed to see the photos before they got pulled. Fun photos. Depicting good clean fun. And now they've been removed. For what? So some old guy could feel righteous about bringing the hammer down? Gah. It's apparently not enough that these kids are already doing something extraordinary by volunteering two years of service to their church. No, never mind that. Apparently, someone has (once again) found some excuse to make these young men feel self-conscious about their obvious creativity and good-spirited approach to their volunteer service. As a former missionary (RM) myself, I say: A pox on whoever made these photos disappear. These young men deserved better. They've done nothing wrong. And we've done nothing wrong by enjoying their creative expression. Verily and truly, you suck, whoever you are.

  12. Too bad, saw the photos in the first post, as an LDS church member and cyclist, it made me proud. Oh well.

  13. @2muchsnow: expensive bikes for “servants of god” and texting while riding helmetless made you proud?

  14. Clarification for @Tedder (and others): Fixed gear conversions like what these Elders were riding are very inexpensive, which is part of the reason for their popularity with young people. While normally I also criticize texting while riding (or especially driving) this was during a downtown festival on closed streets.

  15. All I have to say is bikes such as these are not “Very Inexpensive” unless you consider coughing 400-500 dollars chump pocket change. Ive been riding for 4 years now and you couldnt get me to waste 300 bucks on a shitty made bike thats going to fall apart after riding it for 2 months! these mormons are doing nothing but making the street unsafe with their cheap made bikes!

  16. Looks like they arent on the flicker pro account. Too much traffic. I'll have to wait until next month to see the pictures.

  17. Loosen up. Why does it matter what they are riding? It takes guts to leave home to complete a Mission, not to mention faith and hard work, so if they want to ride emus more power to them.

  18. I'm so perplexed. Why would *missionaries* be upset about attracting attention to themselves? What were they hoping for when they knocked on doors and handed people pamphlets? That no one would notice them at all? If you don't want attention, stop *evangelizing* to people.

    Maybe they were upset just because the attention was about the bicycles, not about LDS doctrine. But why not just take that as an opportunity to win over some hipster converts?

  19. The rules have changed. I was in the first group with cell phones in Maryland.
    It's amazing what even an hour a week can do over the course of 2 years. I never played the piano before the mission, now I compose songs, and have 5 completed.

  20. I was a missionary in Japan years ago and we rode bikes with a step through frame, a basket on the front, and 20” wheels. Definitely not cool bikes. For two years missionaries are supposed to live a life of service with a humble mindset. When Christ rode into Jerusalem on what became Palm Sunday, he rode in on an ass. His message, and maybe even his attitude, would have been totally different if he rode in on an Arabian stallion with a braided tail, gilded mane, and expensive saddle and tack.

    Missionaries are allowed to buy whatever bike they want, but most mission leaders are hoping they will buy a simple bike for basic transportation. The missionaries may have been embarrassed by the undue attention and that’s why they asked for the picture to be removed. Their cool bikes might even be up for sale right now.

  21. Hi, Richard. I am the guy that asked you take down the pictures. At the time, I was getting grief for the cell phone picture (jerks, who cares I had a church provide phone), but I think you should repost the pictures. I am the guy second from the left. Will you please email me all these raw images? I’d love to get them framed. What a great time of life for me as a young man discovering northern California (and myself) by bike, and my custom fixed gear with no brakes was absolutely on point. I see an abundance of mega style points, bro. I had a red front wheel that was stollen in San Jose, which is why I had the mismatched white front wheel (but it still looks good). The stickers are so fun, and I can see my Utes. I had a chain attached from my frame to the saddle because we had saddles and seat posts stolen. My bike may have been the best “Messenger” bike in the Bay Area in 2009 and 2010. I don’t have this bike any more, so I’d like to print the image.

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