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Fixated

by Moe

Bianchi Pista

I had never seen people riding fixed-gear bikes until the Orange County Ride of Silence. I was intrigued by their simplicity and their mystique. I’ve been reading that they make awesome commuter bikes, I think they are rather suicidal. The day of CBB’s picnic, Steve Boehmke showed up riding a Bianchi Pista. I asked him if I can ride it, he agreed. It was a total different experience and now I want one. So I’ve been scouting a few sites to see if I can score a cheap fixie.

Do you or do you know of someone that rides a fixie to work?

 
Burley nomad 229

5 Responses to “Fixated”

  1. Nick says:

    Track bikes are very popular in New York. I know several people who ride them. Some bike couriers ride them, especially the hip ones that are in the spotlight of a current social trend that has elevated messengers to the status that the samurai enjoyed in Edo period Japan. Lots of non-messengers use them, some genuine bike enthusiasts, some complete trend-bunnies.

    The argument for is that they are light as it gets, cheaper & easier to maintain, you can do a trackstand, and riding them is a point of pride. The argument against, obviously, is that they have no breaks, no gears, and no freewheel. After busting a freewheel, splitting an axle and having to constantly tighten my brakes and replace the pads, I’m starting to see the logic. I’ve also been thinking of getting one.

    Moe, if you want a good track bike, there are lots of options besides the Bianchi Pista (not that it’s not a nice bike). I’d hit up the guys at your bike shop and talk to them about building up one to your specs. Also know that you can have a front brake installed on the thing. If you find you don’t need it, you can always take it off later, but it might be nice until you get comfortable with the different style of riding.

  2. Bill says:

    A track bike may be a fun ride on smooth pavement but from experience I found that a bike with skinny tires just wasn’t quite fit for real-world cycling conditions. Riding in Denver where the city covered the streets with sand during winter storms, where the ice breaks up the pavement with frequent freezing and thawing, and where you just might have to ride home from work in several inches of snow when the morning was mild and sunny, fat tires and front shocks made commuting safer and more fun. Zipping down the black asphalt in the dark, even with a headlight, you’re not going to avoid all of the potholes, the sand, the ice, the broken glass, and the shattered plastic car parts. Year-round how well does that skinny-tired road bike hop curbs and ride through the landscaping when motor vehicle traffic blocks the road curb to curb. Fat tires equal freedom. I couldn’t ride the trails that make the commute so enjoyable. After riding road bikes for 22 years, in ’94 I switched to a mountain bike and found that the planet was a lot bigger and more fun. I use Continental Traffic tires on the pavement and love it. Yeah, the people on road bikes often pass me but that’s OK. They can’t go where I go.

  3. Moe says:

    Hey Bill, check out my cyclocross bike on my ‘Slimed’ post. Although is not meant to tackle gnarly mtb, you can certainly do light trails AND leave roadies in the dust.

    Best of both worlds.

  4. Johnny5 says:

    I have a friend that tackles some of the wickedest singletrack on a fixie Surly Karate Monkey. Rocks and roots and all… I can’t imagine riding a fixie on a trail.

    Another friend has a Rivendell fixie that he does brevets on, crazy miles, all fixie.

    Surly Steamroller is a decent fixie, Rivendell Reader just did a review of the Bianchi and it’s around $500 not too bad.

    Raleigh makes the Rush Hour (about the same price) fixie and ss flipflop hub.
    Specialized has one too.

  5. eddy says:

    to add to nick’s comment, yes – fixies have become ridiculously popular here in nyc. take a ride over the Williamsburg bridge into Brooklyn and fixed gears are all you see. on weekends you can see these crazy bike towers that people make outside of bars and parties. they just pile the bikes on top of each other. this is something you wouldn’t do if you had brakes or a derailleur. anyhow, on yesterday morning’s commute i saw a guy with a cello on his back headed uptown on a fixie. funny town, this is.

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