Monday, September 28, 2009

Fixed gear bikes in Post

Most of page one of today's Style section of the Washington Post is devoted to a photo and lengthy article on the use of fixed gear bikes in the District, Look Ma, No Brakes! It's not exactly a timely article, since fixed gear bikes have been popular for many years in this area and in other urban areas around the country.
A fixie map of Washington would center on a handful of neighborhoods. Your fixie is what gets you from your futon in Columbia Heights to your computer screen downtown, then on to peruse the produce and fiction in Logan and Dupont circles, finally delivering you to an outdoor table on U Street NW, a rope line on H Street NE or a bike polo match at Eastern Market. Fixies haven't made it in a big way to the suburbs, and may never, for strictly topographical reasons. They aren't good over long hilly distances.
There is a definite appeal to fixed gear bikes; they are simple, inexpensive, and require very little maintenance. However, they aren't very practical and gears and a freewheel were invented for a reason; to make the bicycle even more efficient than it was without gears, allowing us to climb the highest hills and to coast on long downhills. Regardless, the article is just another sign that bicycles have become an integral part of many of our lives.


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