Fixie bikes provide more than entertainment

Stephanie Silverman
Adrian Cortez, 18, undeclared, restored and converted a road bike into a fixie.

Adrian Cortez, 18, undeclared, restored and converted a road bike into a fixie. (S. Silverman)

Due to the current shortage of parking at Saddleback College, many students are finding alternate methods of transportation to and from school. One of these new methods is fixed gear bikes, or “fixies.”

Recently, the popularity of these converted road bikes and track bikes has skyrocketed, both on the Saddleback campus and off.

“It’s different than riding a normal bike; it’s almost like learning how to ride again,” said fixie rider Jose Gallina, 18, undeclared.

A fixed gear bike can be ridden backwards, but it cannot coast. A sprocket, or cog, is screwed directly onto to the rear wheel’s hub and connects to the front sprocket, or chain ring, by the bicycle chain. Fixies have no free wheel so when the rear wheel is turning the pedals turn in the same direction.

Most of these bikes also have no brakes, which means the rider must slow the bike by resisting the rotation of the pedals, which does not result in an immediate stop. Fixie riders call this “skidding.”

This can be especially dangerous when riders frequently take their bikes on busy streets in places like San Francisco. The danger that comes along with the sport does little or nothing to deter riders;  fixies are more popular now than ever before.

Fixies are a good mode of transportation, but they’re also a lot of fun. It’s the new skateboarding,” Gallina said.

Video credit: David Bro

 

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