Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Words on Bikes

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.  Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man.  And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became.  Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others.  Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.  ~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Words on Bikes

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to spot a fixie

The simplicity of the fixed gear bicycle’s design makes for a very beautiful bicycle.  The clean lines and styling made possible by eliminating the mechanisms required to change to higher or lower gears leave a simple yet beautiful machine.  A bicycle with just a single gear.  However, not all single gear bikes are fixies, which makes it possible to mistake a single gear bike for a fixed gear bike. 

To determine whether a  single gear bike is a fixie requires taking a closer look.   The place to look is at the frame, particularly at where the rear wheel  attaches to the frame. A fixie frame is different from a normal road bike frame. The difference is in the rear dropouts (the slots that the rear axle slips into when putting on the rear wheel). On a normal bike they will point down and forward, but on a fixie frame they will point straight back. The frames are built this way because moving the wheel backwards is how you  increase the tension of the chain on a fixie. This can’t be done if the axle is pushed right into its bolting position on a downward facing dropout.

fixed gear, fixie cog

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bike Messengers and Their Fixies

Bike messengers have been around almost as long as bicycles themselves. If you know anything about bike messengers these days, it is probably that they are usually linked to fixed gear bikes.

Why is this?

For bike messengers, simplicity is key. This is why fixies are so popular among the group. They are both simple to maintain (important when you are using your bike as much as a bike messenger does) and simple looking (which means they are less likely to be stolen).

If you live in a big city with bike messengers, you should stop and talk to some! You'll find that they have a passion for cycling, and they are a great source of information. Need to know which roads are the safest? The quickest route to take? Where to get your bike serviced? Ask a bike messenger!