am riding fixed (again).

i used to be the kind of asshole who’d take any mention of fixed gear bicycles as an opportunity to rant about hipsters in skinny jeans with courier bags and no brakes on their converted retro road bike fixies.  i used to say that fixies were for kids with too much time and/or money on their hands, who see a bike as another cool accessory, like an ipod.

then i became one of those people.

once i saw the light, i realized how wrong i was:  the point of the fixed gear bike isn’t to be cool, it’s to experience riding in a very different way.  i love my fixie more than i ever thought possible.  his name is duncan and he is amazing.

having said that, i gave him up this past fall, when the carpal tunnel syndrome made it hard to maintain a crouched riding position and operate the (single) brake.

also, there was a problem: the sidewall of the rear tire was giving way, to the point that there was an actual bulge where the tube was ballooning out.  since the wheel is directly linked to the chain ring, and thus the cranks and the pedals, by a tightly-stretched chain with no ability to coast, there’s a lot riding on the integrity of the tire.  if it blew while i was riding, i’d probably lose complete control and things could get ugly.  having a lot of other stuff going on, i hung duncan up on the wall.  every once in a while, i’d stroke his frame and make him promises of future adventures.

this week, after months of hauling my super-heavy single speed cruiser all over the city,  i decided that i needed to get fixed again… fixed-gear that is.

before... can you see the way the tire is bulging???

before... can you see the way the tire is bulging??? (it's okay if you can't, just trust me: it was bad)

before... fibrous tires are good, except when they're shedding.  i could actually see the inner tube on this part.

before... fibrous tires are good, except when they're like this. i could actually see the inner tube on this part.

after! new tire, shiny chrome, and the hipster's requisite spoke cards

after! new tire, shiny chrome, and the hipster's requisite spoke cards

this is what i feel like when i ride my fixie... maybe i should sew myself a cape.  (poster from my mom... she says that's how she thinks of me!)

this is what i feel like when i ride my fixie... maybe i should sew myself a cape. (poster from my mom... she says that's how she thinks of me!)

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