Hipster Bike Lesson 1: The Fixie vs. The Single Speed

August 23, 2008 at 12:44 pm 1 comment

Harry Campbell, NYT

Image by Harry Campbell, NYT

I love that biking has become cool. This month’s Paper Magazine features a spread of some of Brooklyn’shottest hipster cyclists. And to be one of those lanky, scraggly two-wheeled riders, you have to have the token hipster bike…the fixie. Only problem is that many of the citie’s “fixies” are actually single speeds disguised in fixie clothing.

There’s no shame in riding a single-speed. Your legs have to be extra tough to summit SF’s hills without the power of the ever-revolving cranks of a fixie and the bikes are still pure and beautiful looking. But there is danger. Serious danger.

So many of the single speeds dresssed as fixies have only ONE BRAKE. The single brake is helpful on the fixed gear, but DEADLY on the single-speed. Hipsters, don’t allow your ego to put you at risk of sailing over the handlebars.

Either flip that hub around and ride it like a fixed gear, using the front brake as a rescue or aid in the steep grade, or apply another brake. In a city where cyclists are killed annually, don’t put yourself at excess risk.

Don’t worry, you’ll still look just as hot with two brakes. Better yet, the messengers won’t make fun of you for posing with a single brake and limp cranks when you wheel it into Zeitgeist.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. smotrouble  |  August 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Dude. For realzies. It’s pretty much the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Fortunately I primarily see these folks WALKING THEIR SINGLE SPEEDS EVERYWHERE so I suppose there may not be as eminent a risk of going endo as it may seem. I guess it makes sense- two brakes would add weight to walking the bike up the hill, and fixing the wheel makes the pedals come around and scrape your calf- owie!


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