The Fixie Hipsters
The Fixie Hipsters
Keith May

[Summer Guide] Biking It: A Field Guide to the Two-Wheeled Pedal-Pusher

Nothing scares me more than the really firm ass of a cyclist.

It's as if it's a living, breathing thing. Staring at me. Or is it me staring at it?

And there have been plenty of bicyclist bums glaring at me, mocking me, gyrating away in front of my Toyota as I'm trying to make my way down PCH. It's part of that whole "share the road" thing.

I'm not sure if it's the slumping economy, your atypical hipster bastardization, the fact that gas costs almost five bucks per gallon and half your kid's college fund, or maybe even the current trend of "going green"—don't own a Prius yet? GET OFF MY BLOCK—but the number of cyclists on OC roads has exploded these past few years.

Sure, the two standard types of cyclists still stand true: the diehard Weekend Warrior, the aging dude who opted for a $2,000 bike instead of a Porsche, and the hardworking laborer who rides his $20 purple mountain bike as a means of survival. But two others have popped up in the pack since: the coastal-community gal who thinks it's really cute to be seen on a beach cruiser and the fixie hipster.

Look, I've got no qualms with bicyclists. I think it's really great and completely positive and green and healthy and all, but it's really just fun to point out that you all fall into a type—just like the rest of us. And yes, this even means you, fixie.

Fixies have been at it for years—adapting those light, responsive track bikes that were made for nothing but speed. But fixed-gear bikes don't have brakes. And they don't coast. And yes, this means they're not exactly street-legal. And yes, this also means that if a fixie gets plowed into by a car, there's pretty much no legal action that can be taken against the driver of the vehicle. In fact, it's probably more likely the cyclist will receive a citation.

But somewhere, some cool kids saw some other cool kids on fixed-gear bicycles, and they started doing it, too. Then cool kids in all the cool parts of the world (Manhattan, Tokyo, et al.) started doing it, and so it is: Your standard hipster debasement of something that's actually pretty rad and requires plenty of skill to master. It's what happened to cupcakes, Silver Lake and your favorite band.

Point being: Fixie hipsters ride the bikes because it's fashionable. Fixie hipsters will stop riding once all the other cool kids stop riding. And the real dedicated dudes, the ones who aren't fixing their hair and snapping Facebook (MySpace is played-out now, didn't you know?) photos of one another riding down the street, will carry on.

Now watch out for that mailbox.

These guys live for the weekend, when they can take out their flashy, cutting-edge Treks or Cannondales for a squillion-mile ride down PCH. They go all-out—purchasing the very best in gear and accessories, all color-coordinated, of course. Some might poke fun at the profusion of Spandex and Lycra, but we think it's pretty cute. And hey, it beats watching NASCAR on Saturday mornings.

Look how cute I am, cruising around sunny Long/Huntington Beach in my dress that's clearly impractical for bike riding. I like riding my candy-colored beach cruiser to breakfast with my friends in my gentrified neighborhood of choice. I do things like add totally sweet streamers and wicker baskets and clip baseball cards to my spokes. 'Cause it's cute. I'mcute.

These are the hardcharging guys you see busting their asses on their bikes every day just to get to work on time. They don't ride for pleasure or hobby—it's a necessity. And at the rate things are going with gas prices, you might have to join them soon, too. We hear Craigslist is a great place for low-priced secondhand bikes.


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