“…readers may wonder, why spend time talking about a seemingly obscure bike fashion on a blog devoted to urban cultural studies?
Well, it is not obscure since it is not just in Williamsburg or Portland where this is taking place. The fixed-gear and its lowly cousin the non-fixed single-speed, have become symbols of urban progressive youth. There are, of course, other bikes out there that people ride, but it is the single cog aesthetic that one sees displayed in the window of the Vans store on the calle Montera next to Gran Vía up the hill from the Puerta de Sol. As is always the case, the counter-culture has gone mainstream (think snowboarding fifteen years ago) and the Pabst-Blue Ribbon aesthetic of “fixie” hipster cool has begun to be subsumed into the urban machine. The surest sign that gentrification is on its way is the proliferation of the single-cog ride. And though I like fixed gear bikes for a variety of reasons and would rather see bikes be fashionable than SUVs, I can’t deny my creeping suspicion that we must fear the fixie for when it comes the lofts are sure to follow.”
Posted on Sunday, 3 June 2012