Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It’s All In the Details: How to be Fast on a Fixed-Gear

(Mescaline-induced curling/bike polo freakout by Erik K)




Going fast on a bicycle isn’t for everybody. If you’d rather look good than ride good on yours that’s perfectly fine. But there are some people out there who still want to actually be fast. If you’re relatively new to cycling and you got here on a fixed-gear, here are three cheap (or free) ways to do it that should be obvious but apparently aren't:


Get a Brake

There are certain corny, contradictory maxims designed to make you do the right thing that simply aren’t true. A good example is the one about how abstinence is the best form of birth control. That’s complete crap. One has nothing to do with the other. It’s like saying building a garden shed is the best way to avoid hang gliding mishaps. Another is the one about getting high on life instead of getting high on drugs. Sure, you may be happier without drugs, and you'll certainly be better off, but you won't be high. Life is irritating, not intoxicating. If living your life made you high then waiting in line would be illegal and you’d pay lots of money to go to parties where you could stand in them for three or four hours.

But here’s one corny maxim that is true: brakes make you faster. I suppose some people think riding without a brake in traffic is somehow daring. But it's not. Actually, it’s pretty low on the spectrum of dangerous things you can do on a vehicle. Riding a liter sport motorcycle at high speed is dangerous. Racing cars is dangerous. Hang gliding instead of building a garden shed is dangerous. And guess what? Except for the hang glider, all those guys use brakes. Not only that, but they actually care about what kind of brakes they use, and instead of removing them, they sometimes even upgrade them! Why? Because you can go faster when you can stop faster.

Consequently, riding without a brake doesn't say, "I'm hardcore." It says, "I'm afraid of exploring the full performance potential of my bicycle." Indeed, in the gym class of death-defying vehicle operation the brakeless fixed-gear rider is just the slightly less nerdy kid who picks on the really nerdy kids but gets beat up by everyone else. Basically, you rank somewhere between skateboarders and actual bicycle racers in the amount of danger you flirt with. Serious motorcyclists confront death much more regularly than brakeless fixed-gear riders, and they don’t rely entirely on their transmissions to stop. The only things that don’t use brakes are skateboards and things without wheels that don’t touch the ground, like boats. I guess that’s why most brakeless fixed-gear riders these days ride like they’re driving Boston Whalers while intoxicated—they’re slow, they weave, and they take a lot of time to stop. (That might also explain why they wear canvas boat shoes.) So put a brake on your bike and you can actually start to flirt with some speed on a bicycle.


Ride The Right Way

Bike salmon are the new wheel-suckers, and now that the weather is nice and all the vanity bikes have come out of mothballs I feel like a rolling sample sale in that I’m constantly being mobbed head-on by fashionistas. I’m not sure when it became mandatory for fixed-gear riders to go against traffic all the time and I’m not sure where it came from. The only thing I can think of is how when I was a little kid I went to that birthday party at Hot Skates in Lynbrook and the DJ suddenly announced that everybody had to spin around and skate the wrong way. Maybe it’s something like that, but since I’m not a real part of the “bike culture” I didn’t get the message from the fixed-gear DJ that it’s time for the reverse skate. At any rate, whatever the reason for it, trust me when I tell you guys you can go a lot faster when you ride in the right direction. Especially because I won’t keep coming at you and force you to ride into a truck. (You can even keep your neckerchief on.)


Wider Bars

Fixed-gear riders have a lot to learn from their singlespeed mountain biker cousins. For one thing, singlespeeders know a lot about how to achieve a straight chainline. They also know where to get good weed. And perhaps most importantly, they know that an important part of putting power to the ground through a singlespeed drivetrain (especially when there’s an incline involved) is leverage. That’s why they actually use riser bars that show some metal between the grips and the stem. Granted, you don’t need bars as wide as your typical singlespeeder’s if you’re riding through traffic. But you also don’t need bars that are narrower than your Q-factor. And if you’re still worried that your wider bars will impede your progress through all those cars, just remember that you also have brakes. If that gap in front of you suddenly closes you’ll be able to change your line on a dime.

155 comments:

Anonymous said...

Podium!

Andrew said...

almost!

Golzy said...

Third ain't too shabby...

techb3 said...

in there

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice

Anonymous said...

^ biggest loser
^^2nd
^^^3rd
^^^^4th

But I do agree with BSNYC today; salmon are tasty.

BOB said...

podium?

Anonymous said...

Salmon are tasty.

Bars more narrow than your shoulders is just silly.

Anonymous said...

Erik K ... best pic yet. Bike curling on drugs. thats great.

Benjamin said...

did i make top 10

Bobby said...

Sweet. Thanks for the tips, Snob. They came just in time to help prepare for the Wolfpack's Midnight Drag Race this Saturday.

Now all that's left is finding a fixed gear...

g said...

is that a naked cher-with-corn-rows on the curling stone thingy ruining my fatasy? bad trip, man....

Commiecanuk said...

hey, this was informative. What the fuck. Bring back bitter.

BBB

Rich said...

What about cross bikes? They have brakes that don't really work and which nobody uses anyway.

erik k said...

shit man last night was rough... what happened? I woke up and the floor was flooded and theres this big heavy stone with a handle on it sitting in my living room

BikeSnobNYC said...

Commiecanuk,

I did this entirely out of selfishness. I figure if I clue people in I'll have less crap to deal with out on the street.

Rich,

Good point. 'Cross bikes are not equipped with brakes. They are equipped with as many as four levers which activate a mechanism causing the machine to shudder violently and squeal loudly. It may not stop you in an urban environment, but it will at least scare people out of your way.

--RTMS

Pops was a hang glider pilot. said...

yeah, RTMS is beginning to resemble Smokey the Bear.
"only brakes can prevent you from hurtling headlong into an oncoming truck"

What gives? Do you suddenly think people will actually FOLLOW your advice and life will become a little bit *less* irritating? BBB indeed. This type of advice will only keep up from continuing to thin the herd... sigh. Really.

Oh and by the way, they're not brakes but hang glider pilots do carry parachutes, which I suppose are also used to slow them down in case of emergency. So yeah... they're kind of like air brakes.

Anonymous said...

The best response I have found for the brakeless fixsters is to say 'I've fathered two children--I've already proven my manhood.' Now of course, I don't really care about 'manhood,' but the fixster sure does, even if he's a girl, and shuts them up.
Or, I just say something about fixies being sooo trendy right now. That is hipster kryptonite.

Anonymous said...

what sage and simple advice and commentary, please forward to prolly and his ilk, wolfpack, etc... 2 snaps. if i am not mistaken, i believe one must breath while riding a bike as well, via the lungs? contained w/in one's chest? the very chest that is constricted by idot bars. i laugh when i see fixed gear fakes and their grip-wide bars, knowing their puny weed filled lungs are constricted, scratching their heads wondering why they can't hold the wheel of a 40 year old w/budwieser spare.

Pops was a hang glider pilot. said...

so, BSNYC/RTMS, you're a closet idealist? whoa.

Anonymous said...

sorry for my ignorance, but what's up with the fixed gear fashions? i don't understand wearing tight jeans on a bike. why not at least shorts, if not bike shorts?

Pedal Strike Force Agent Down said...

off topic...

...but I was thinking about it and, from an objective standpoint, there really isn't any reason that a pie-plate on a ss w/a freewheel should be any less egregious an affront to snobbery than a pie-plate on a ss w/a fixed gear.

Both setups have zero probability of shifting a derailleur into the wheel.

am i missing something?

bother yam said...

No no no no.

Y'all don't get it. RTMS is actively bringin' about the FGA singlehandedly. Do you honestly think that fixie riders will listen to this sage warning and take heart?

Of course not.

Like the kiddies they are, they will instead do just the opposite: shorten the bars, put on rocket packs and weave wildly on wicked one ways.

This will bring about a Darwinian "thinning of the herd" and those that survive (and whose genitals are destroyed by little girly pants) to spread what they've learned on to the next generation of bike riders.

BikeSnobNYC said...

PSFAD,

Good point. I suppose it's just more poetically absurd since it's so fundamentally at odds with the ostensible minimalism of a fixed-gear. Seeing it, you'd feel the same way you do when you see Stonehenge: "Who put this here and why?!?"

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

hmmm... i feel much better about that then thinking of him as an idealist.

Anonymous said...

not that it matters, but they probably wear tight pants so they dont have to worry about shit getting caught in the crank. it's shorts, spandex, girls jeans or jeanco's rolled to the thigh! you choose.

Cottered Crank said...

I heard there is going to be a special category in the Darwin Awards for people cashing it in on brakeless bikes. Extra points for doing it on the wrong side of a busy street.

Speedbuggy said...

Wow, an image combining three of my favorite things: cycling, curling and mescaline.
I can't tell you how many times I've curled (including winning the Wisconsin State High School Championships in 1992) while buzzed on mesc.
Woohoo.

Anonymous said...

the tight pants are to show off their weak, malnourished physiques (in the case of boys) and muffin tops (in the case of girls). Their fixed gears are like plumage for their PBR mating dances.

Anonymous said...

Lynbrook? You went more than once to Lynbrook? No wonder you're bitter.

Scott said...

Rich & BSNYC,

Sure, 'cross bikes have terrible brakes, but they're only ridden on poorly landscaped lawns. Mud, patchy grass, and hay bales are all pretty soft.

Anonymous said...

Pops, BSNYC is beginning to reveal his marketing plan.

Reel in the hipsters with funny, derisive stories about hipster foibles.

Build a following over time of true believers to spread the word and enhance the product via comments.

Then once pageviews hits a big enough number subtlety shift to telling the audience how they too can be cool like RTMS by (buy) just following some simple rules (throw of the suspicious ones with comments like 'just trying to save myself some trouble with..").

Want to find BSNYC/RTMS?

Look for an NYC bike shop holding heavy on brake levers, bars and floor pumps.

Genius, pure genius.

Anonymous said...

Seeing bikes without brakes makes me laugh. Darwinism at it's finest. I actually did what you say the car and motorcycle guys do - when I got my fixed it had a crappy no-name front caliper - I replaced it with a Shimano high end caliper. I stop even fast now. Speed is about being able to stop faster than you can accelerate.

Good post BSNYC - put some brakes on it hipster! Then maybe I won't blow by you and your fashion show!

Strayhorn said...

Ya know, if they start using brakes, riding with the traffic, and choosing properly-sized handlebars, they might also learn that wearing at least one brightly-colored piece of clothing while riding the wrong way in a rainy twilight on a dark street may just keep them alive long enough to get to the coffee shop in time to spend four hours on Facebook.

Hmmm, that's four things to improve their survival rate. What can we hope for? One? Perhaps two out of four? If it's only one, I vote for asking these clowns to wear the bright clothing. There's nothing like having some bozo loom up out of the dark wearing navy blue jeans and a black top, bearing down on me as I'm WALKING my bike because the conditions are so terrible.

Ryan said...

wow, a bsnyc post actually worth reading! Enough wit to make it enjoyable, but actual usable information too. keep it up!

Anonymous said...

:punching ryan:

bikesgonewild said...

...erik k...curling ain't golf...look what happens...don't let 'em play through...

...& todays post is just rtms/bsnys's little way of offering "a public service announcement"...he's just warm n' fuzzy that way...

Prolly said...

I just ate some salmon from Moma's. Good shit.

Few points:
-Narrow bars are idiotic, although it's easy to see where the logic came from. Mine are 42 ctc.
-Jeans on a bike sucks come summer time. I'll wear my bike shorts once it gets above 80.
-NYC Velo offers Steamrollers with a disk-brake fork with internally run brake cables. If you do this with a suspension corrected MTB fork, you can barspin a 700c. I've considered doing this.
-who rides chopped bars to go fast?!? Get some taped drops.

Snob, you forgot to mention training on your rollers while playing Guitar Hero?!?!! Where have you been. That's the new fad dude. Haven't you seen the Bike Short "Get Faster"?

[before you say it, I don't own any gaming systems]

Also, Julie [the girl with the handkerchief around her neck] has some crazy shit in the new Bootleg Sessions!

Anonymous said...

I've ridden over 9,000 miles over the past year and a half on brakeless fixed-gear bicycles. I am way too old to be hip. I generally ride with road bike riders because they're the folks I meet on the local loops. I tend to take the lead on climbs and drop back on descents. It usually takes a half hour before a roadie asks how I stop.

I never planned on going brakeless, but I took a test ride a project before it was complete and became intrigued. I don't recommend it to others, but I enjoy riding more now than I used to. I'll apologize if you want me to.

Would I be faster if I had a brake and used it regularly? Yes. I would be even faster with gears. Hey, why not a motor? Fat guys on motorbikes pass me all the time.

Anonymous said...

fixie

Anonymous said...

Aww bikesnob, what fine day it is when Bikesgonewild doesnt rant ad nauseum.

Colin said...

Namedropping Hotskates. A++

Sycophantic Backstabber said...

Bike salmon? Or perhaps Johnny-bike-lately-s...

Anonymous said...

barspins prolly? ahhh yeah, cool. like this:

http://bp1.blogger.com/_wJGwMfSe-dY/R-0kceGtpzI/AAAAAAAABlE/uSC6Wz_3nPQ/s1600-h/2368241348_6e33378830_o.jpg

rakeface said...

So, did you have the pizza or the hot dog at that Hot Skates party?

Anonymous said...

yo! rtms great post! up there a comment or two, what do you do (or plan to do) if there is an emergency? 9000 miles of nothing doesn't make that last few yards before the collision pass by any slower. many (i mean me) cyclocross riders have crazy barrel adjusters right at the handlebars, so when the brakes don't work, you can make them not work even more! or something. postscript: mmm, hallucinogens

leviathan said...

"I didn’t get the message from the fixed-gear DJ that it’s time for the reverse skate."

Fucking genius.

Polygraf said...

Uh OH, I'm a mtb singlespeeder and fix fanatic(with front brake) and yes it is true we ss are fast and are experts on chain lines(and gear ratios) but more importantly i know where to cop the best herb- once again BSNY proves he is omniscient.

Anonymous said...

"sorry for my ignorance, but what's up with the fixed gear fashions? i don't understand wearing tight jeans on a bike. why not at least shorts, if not bike shorts?"

Because a lot of us "fixed gear fashionistas" use our bikes as transportation (commuting, bar hopping, tight jean shopping)instead of excuses to dress up on the weekend in ridiculously tight spandex outfits that make us look like overweight middle-aged peacocks.

Commiecanuk said...

This blog is being fixed.

BSNYC, check your mail.

BBB

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:57

I did drop a chain once. I had to stick my heel between the seat tube and rear wheel. I pay closer attention to chain tension now. I also replace my chains more often.

I am considering going back to a brake. The reasons are peer pressure, the possibility of mechanical failure, and the idea of the issue being raised if I did get into an accident.

My beater already has a brake. It's great for holding my front fender in place!

Anonymous said...

it's not the jeans on a bike i don't get.... it's the muffin topped tapered pants studded belt 1980's "fashions". The 80's were a horrible decade for fashion and no one looked good... not even people who were good looking. Why bring that back?

Commiecanuk said...

oh get real, the 80s had it all: shoulder pads, perms, acid wash jeans, big hair.

tell me this guy isn't gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

ok communicaunk, i take it back. I just swooned looking at him.

Anonymous said...

If you have a break, you can even endo without running into a wall. Its pure genius.

bikesgonewild said...

...anon 2:29 pm...don't you wish...i'm just recovering from yesterday's mescaline adventures...

...& it's sad & not really at all empowering to think that anything i have to say, would affect how you perceive your day...guess i'm like a little 'ray of sunshine' gone bad in yer life...tsk, tsk...

Anonymous said...

Didn't prolly just say that narrow bars are "idiotic"?

Anon 2:44 posted a pic where his bars are almost nonexistent. It looks like Oury made a stem with integrated grips, no bars needed.

Were those his "idiotic" days when he was young and stupid......2 months ago.......when that photo shoot took place........come on man.

Anonymous said...

If you can't ride without a stem, bars, and brakes, you're no kind of rider.

roomservicetaco said...

Great work, as always. It's difficult to come up with such quality stuff day-in and day-out, but you got it BSNY. Kudos.

Off the top of my head:

-some kind of way to keep your feet on the pedals - toe clips, clipless pedals, Dave Stoler duct tape, etc. - will add speed and control

Also, the post assumes mainly straight-line speed, but it's a whole different animal to corner with a fixed, esp while riding in a pack with the 10sp guys. Remember: push right, go right and don't try to overweight the outside pedal.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Commiecanuck, isn't that your passport photo?

Prolly said...

People always hate on cyclist's attire from both ends... Let's look at this constructively.

-If you're doing an actual ride. Like a training ride, or anything over 30 miles, wear proper attire, it's more comfortable; shorts with a chamois, wicking shirt, gloves, whatever.

-If you're just cruising around the city, riding to work or heading to a bar / coffee shop / party / orgy / etc, there's nothing wrong with wearing jeans, shorts and a tee shirt.

Cotton sucks after 20 miles though...

mamsterla said...

The magic of the internet lets us know that SpeedBuggy is either:

Troy Schroeder
Matt Malchow
Bill Mundt
Jamie Molitor
Jeremy Steinman

Go Badgers or something like that.

Prolly is back. Where were you?

Anonymous said...

Snob, can't you please post a photo from back in the day of you at Hot Skates at Lynbrook? I would love to see the Jew-fro, the braces, the short-shorts and the striped knee-high tube socks.

Anonymous said...

prolly,

wow. what a wealth of helpful cycling knowledge and experience you aren't. and what a clever use of the word hate, all verb-like and shit, how new and novel. you must be from the streets yo. save this and look back in a few years when you are onto the next fad, and see how street and cool you feel then, poser.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:54pm,

Hey, I never had braces! And what do you mean "back in the day?" That party was last weekend!

--BSNYC/RTMS

Jim said...

curling ain't golf

No, but based on the funny clothes and the percentage of middle-aged white participants, it would sure be easy to get the two confused.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Rakeface,

I had lasagna.

--BSNYC (aka Dr. Rumack)

dopepedaler said...

Make sure to give out free bike-handling lessons with the purchase of every new brake?

Thank goodness for the interweb. Where else would all of us nerds avenge ourselves for getting the crap kicked out of us?

Wutz said...

It's odd that you mention the brakeless thing today (and the fact that a fixed rider should probably think about wider, riser-type bars for leverage). It seems as though you were cruising FGG and came across this guy.

http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2008/apr/4/DavidMahan_2.htm

I want to kill anyone who says "loose" instead of "lose" unless they provide a footnote indicating they want the brakes to be relaxed instead of taken off.

Finish school, kids.

sd said...

Anon 3:57-
Way to bring back the early hate from Summer 2007... I miss those days.

bikesgonewild said...

...jim...whack a 40 lb curling stone w/ a 7 iron...note the distance anything travels & call me when the feeling comes back into yer upper body extremities...

...but yer right about those geeky plaid & argyle clothes...whoops, apologies to the team !!!...

Sleepy Head said...

If it is constructive comment day...I will throw in some at the risk of identifying my true identity.

The brakes are key. You don't want to be sledding down a long incline with a watermelon and a 6 pack during rush hour and have to go slow cuz you don't have brakes.

Number two, be real with yourself about how fast you can really go through an extended pull (like a half mile to 3 miles). It is probably 18 to 22mph. Whatever speed, get a fixed gear calculator and figure out the gear ratio that gets you to that speed at a cadence of 100. With that ratio, you can still climb a hill or ride a hard sprint. It is probably going to be something like 44/16 or 48/17. It won't be 54/12.

With a little work, you will be passing those freewheeling gear boys on their $7,000 disposable bikes.

I never said...

What is all this about mescaline ion two blogs running? Started reading Aldous Huxley and can't stop? I come here to chew the cud not chew the leaf.

The real way to be fast while fixed is to always go uphill as you can never spin at your free wheel speed down hill. Do I make sense? I'd better stop chewing.

Splic said...

Good post an everything but comparing brakeless fixed-gears to brakeless motorcycles is just ridiculous. Motorcycles have brakes because they don't have a direct drive transmission... they NEED to have brakes. Fixed-geared bicycles use brakes as a secondary system. I'm sure you know all of this, I'm just saying that you stepped a little over the line with that comparison.

hoked on fonix said...

Loose those breaks, poosers!

Cottered Crank said...

Splic, I'm not bringin' my motorcycle over to have you work on it. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle? Maybe you should read up on 'em before using the word ridiculous to describe Snob's comment.

Anonymous said...

Traits that increase survivability are passed from generation to generation. Just wait about 1000 or so years and the world will be rid of these poseurs.

- Going against traffic = head on collision (check)
- no brakes, can’t stop = horrible wreck…at least more than if a brake was present (check)
- small handlebar = less ability to avoid wrecks (check)
- tight jeans = constricted semen flow (check)

Anonymous said...

splic,

No, the Snob mentioned using the transmission for slowing. With proper technique a manual transmission is a very effective and efficient brake. Need a full stop and no brakes, kill the engine.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Splic,

I see your point, and while I was exaggerating a bit to make my own point I don't think the comparison is ridiculous at all. If you were riding a brakeless motorcycle, you'd still be able to slow and stop with the transmission. It would just take you a lot longer than it would with a brake, and to compensate for that you'd have to ride slower and swerve a lot to avoid things entering your path. This is exactly what brakeless fixed-gear riders do.

The main difference is you can't get away with it on a motorcycle but you can on a bicycle to some degree since it's much lighter and slower. But you're still leaving off a critical component for no better reason than vanity.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

"They also know where to get good weed."
Thank god it's Wednesday!!

Thems the breaks said...

"Need a full stop and no brakes, kill the engine."

See multiple previous posts.

Anonymous said...

"Wider Bars" great work man!

hump day Joe

Anonymous said...

anon 4:51,
so your solution is as follows:

a)ride with traffic
b)add a brake
c)dont cut your bars down past shoulder width
d)wear proper cycling attire

If all of these are "checked" the world will be rid of "poseurs?" also, what constitutes a poser in the world of fixed gears? in skateboarding a poser is someone who wears the gear, has a board, speaks the language and cant do shit. are there people in the street dressing like keirin racers, posing? no. while they may have NJS frames i dont think they are copping to be track riders. Maybe people with messenger bags who arent messengers are posing. maybe people are just enjoying themselves. maybe we hate you just as much as you hate us. trained musicians hate(d) DJ's for scratching records and sampling too. it was a FAD. it wouldnt last. it doesnt matter what fixed gear riders do, there will always be two sides. What about people who ride with a freewheel and ONE brake? if that goes, they are fucked too. a fixed gear with no MECHANICAL brakes still at least has a rider who can bring the bike to a stop. in 1000 years you will be dust too. the only difference is that no one will give a fuck about you because you were a conformist. go vote for john mccain. keep racism alive. ride your bike with your over the hill weekend warrior friends and shut the fuck up. "check"

Anonymous said...

You know what I wish? I wish those damn kids would turn down their damn music!!

Anonymous said...

oh, i forgot its after 5. you guys must have left the office.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:18


In my opinion, a poseur, or poser, in the world of biking is one who chooses fashion/appearance over function. A fixed gear bike is fine functional/recreational object. But when you remove critical components out of vanity, you are posing. Removing brakes and chopping down handlebars don’t create a more enjoyable ride or make the bike perform any better. Your priority is now “fitting in”, or let’s say “conforming” to a culture…the fixed gear one.

Anonymous said...

annon.. 5:18 until your chain breaks

Anonymous said...

I can hack a chain and put it in a single line and ride it for years, years.. Im an old bitch.. haha

all they way you take care of stuff
or ride it ;-)

enjoy the ride
Joe

Anonymous said...

how do you know how the bike performs for them? thats the dumbest shit i have ever heard. ive seen dudes on a 2x4 with a pair of hacked skates skateboard better than the most well known pro using the best equipment. keep talking shit on the internet in your office. one day it will come back to haunt you in the real world. stick to what you know.

Anonymous said...

"removing critical components out of vanity"

if people are removing brakes out of vanity, you are right, that is stupid. But do you think that's actually why they do it? if so, they are as lame as you are.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:49

"Removing brakes and chopping down handlebars don’t create a more enjoyable ride or make the bike perform any better."

Functionality and enjoyability can be distinct from each other. I find riding brakeless to be much more enjoyable, although slightly less useful, than otherwise. Prolly's point about not needing to look like a roadie or outfit your bike like one just to ride around town is well put.

Although I guess I can't blame you for not knowing what you're talking about if you've never done it ...

Fritz said...

Cross bikes would fall under the category of things that don't touch the ground, since they're always carried, right?

BGW is always a ray of sunshine for me.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of not having something useful like a brake on a fixie, what's up with no water bottle cage? Not cool? I ride my fixie in the country where there are no stores. First thing I did was put a cage on. Maybe I should have just jammed a water bottle in my tight uncomfortable jeans. Not!

singlespeeder said...

Anon 5:18, c'mere dude, and smoke some of this. Yer all red in the face and everything. Ain't good for ya.

I got an old handlebar for ya, too, if ya want it. It's even still got a couple of brake levers on it.

Concern Troll said...

I just hope that all of us, young and old, fixed and free, jean-ed and spandex-ed, posers and poseurs, can put aside our petty differences and learn to ride as comrades in the future cyclist-only republic of eastern long island...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, almost got killed by some brake-less dork on my way home today. You know, $800.00 worth of pink shit stuck on some crappy old Raleigh (those things rust from the inside out and poke a seat stay through your thigh, get a Pista and don't change anything till it breaks) Anyway, after swerving all over cuz a car changed it's mind, he did some zig zagging "track stand" out into rush hour Atlantic Ave. traffic. Jerk. Beard, of course. Flat peddles, of course. Backwards cycling cap, of course. I'm considering across the board preemptive strikes based on appearance. Jerk.

Lucky Cyclist said...

I'm dumb, what's mescaline?

Anonymous said...

good thing my brakless nitto track bars are actually quite wide. i like not riding with brakes, not cause i think its more dangerous, or whatever i dont want to drill brake holes and my legs do just fine in place of brakes. Dont ya ever feel like youre kinda falling asleep behind the bars when your coasting along, Loose the brakes and pay more attention, its fun! yeah though, i agree fuck those hipsters...parasites on the cycling community.

Anonymous said...

i mean, "riding without brakes" not "not riding with brakes"

Anonymous said...

100!

Anonymous said...

Brakless. Spellcheckless.

Anonymous said...

i'm glad i can write this and ride (my brakeless fixed gear) outside of the streets filled with bullshit that is new york.

Anonymous said...

fuckanonymous! LOL

smartypants said...

I don't care who you are. If you don't agree with me, fuck you!

Anonymous said...

this just in...black holes suck. nerd.

Sean said...

All kidding aside, never a truer post. Bravo!

n4t3nate said...

http://www.boingboing.net/200802051331.jpg

This would be the 70's version. Psychedelic!

Anonymous said...

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nipplewench said...

Looser.

Anonymous said...

hehe ananoymous 6:12...

i didn't post the earlier comment, but I know how it works for them because they ride the same streets I do, only they are squirrelly, slow and often coming at me in the wrong direction, temporarily sandwiching me between an erratic person on a bike and someone in their car who is inevitably on a cell phone. It's not all of them but this is the city and it's safe to say that here, most drivers ARE talking on their cell phones and most fixed gear freestylers ARE bad at riding a bike.

Alana said...

Amen! I ride with a brake (why the fuck not? not an advocate for cars, but! they have regular brakes AND an E brake.. common sense, if plan A fails (chain snaps, legs suck) you need a plan B.. unless your plan B is serious injury. Have fun biking with no legs or trying to find perfect tight pants for your prosthetics.
And wider bars. Common sense. Effing hipsters.

(though I do sometimes ride against traffic, but it's usually empty blocks or ones that loop weirdly.)

Anonymous said...

You didn't happen to ride past me on 4th Ave recently and give me that nasty look? Yeah I rode the wrong way!

-sos

Philip Williamson said...

Driving a car with no brakes never made me feel any more zen than I normally do. Pretty slow and careful, and not at all squirrely. Downshift, downshift, e-brake. Maybe that is Zen... mindful.

abelgus said...

This is a test

abelgus said...

Is RTMS "Repetitive Transcranial Magetic Stimulation" (very scary - supposed to fix depression)??

OR

It is "Real Time Management Solutions" (very boring, obviously)??

Please help.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Inspired by today's discussion, I am going to take my Mercedes to the dealership and have the brakes removed.

Anonymous said...

Ablegus, RTMS stands for the Snob's snazzy new alter-ego, Rip Torn's Mug Shot. Do try to keep up.

Anonymous said...

great!

abelgus said...

Thank you! Thank you!

Buffalo Bill said...

We have a lot of one-braked free-wheelers here in London, but this is in a league of its own.

Crackhead said...

anon 6:46 PM

Is that a water bottle in your pants or are you just happy to see me???

smartypants said...

anona 9:59:

Thanks for reading my blog. And having the guts to (anonymously) call me out on my nerdyness. On someone else's blog, no less.

Anonymous said...

Crackhead, only if you are a 16 year old boy like your pic shows. And it's BRAKE people, sheeesh!!

smartypants said...

anon 10:43:

What, you got a problem with me loosing my break?

I'm heading off to lunch soon. Anyone want me to bring back some desert?

Anonymous said...

go stick a fork in yourself. youre done. nerd

Anonymous said...

ps- im the guy across the hall from you laughing my ass off. see you at the meeting this afternoon!

Eric Thrasher Troili.. said...

What do you actually know about hang gliding Snob..? Probably just barely enough to spell it correctly.. Hang gliding, just like cycling, is only as dangerous as you make it.. http://airwrecks.blogspot.com/2008/04/another-spring-flight-at-blanchard-hill.html

principal skinner said...

Anon 11:08, the purpose of study hall is to give you time to study. From the looks of your grades, young man, you need to be taking every opportunity to study, instead of making an ass of yourself on some blog.

Two days detention.

Nelson said...

HA HA!

Splic said...

Cottered Crank:

I do admit that I know nothing about motorcycles and I was operating from my assumption that they operate in the same fashion as a manual car, which I used to drive. I did, as a driver, indeed slow my car with the transmission but never though it possible to come to a complete stop. Perhaps this is feasible on a motorcycle, however.

bikesnobnyc: As above, I didn't realize that stopping was possible. With this aforementioned enlightenment, the humor has retroactively returned to that portion of your post.

I stand partially defeated.

Carlos from Philly said...

Remember in highschool, when the 1kinda ugly girls would always make fun of the really pretty girls' outfits or whisper baseless insults about them when in reality they were really just threatened and jealous because of how fun and effortless the pretty girls' lives looked, or how all of their secret crushes dated the pretty girls instead of them? And remember how transparent the whole thing was and how silly it made them look, and how after awhile you kinda just saw them as tacky and jealous and a little annoying?
Well, now i know what it would've been like if they had blogs.

(regardless, you're right. i ride about 5mph faster when i have a brake)

wine soaked lips said...

hot skates was a good back up but top roller in oceanside was the spot.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you see, the point isn't really how fast you can get your piece of shit fixie convert moving, it's how fast can you stop. This is NYC, and on most roads here, bikes are already the quickest vehicles, one's failed attempts at a track stand notwithstanding. This is what always happens when a trend attracts a bunch of dorks. I can recall dozens of newbie MTB riders in the late 80's missing front teeth and shin because bunny hopping is a skill.

Cool The Kid said...

Riding without brakes is dumb as hell, I don't know why anyone would do it, other than the fact that within the context of the fixed gear community it helps get you laid

Anonymous said...

bike people can be really annoying. I have ridden a bike since I was a wee little tot. I have skateboarded for many moons. I rode a brakeless BMX for years and years. I have always lived in cities. I use bikes for fun and transportation. All of you that need to one up each other are pretty insecure. Be happy. Smoke gunja. Smile at the water and the sky. Most people ride without a brake for the fun not for the attention. I am happily married and have a nice job. I do what I like. I don't do what you want me to like. Good day!

Len B said...

Hmm, just bought a track bike with a flip-flop fix-free hub. It's fun. Also got a new fork with disc tabs and a hayes brake... The faster you can stop, the faster you can go, right?

cincyandbreakless said...

One: i thought you just have to pedal harder.
Two: whudda 'bouta jake break? stuff that in your blog and smoke it.

usrnull said...

I've been trying to point these things out on my (scarcely updated and hardly read) blog for several years.

I find it much more effective to pass as many fixed gear riders as I can, at top speed, and when I need to, nail a nose wheelie to go from 25 mph to zero.

EI said...

sweet jesus, hot skates!!!! just across from the cemetery... man, that brings back memories.

boston messenger 2009 said...

i dont kno ur kinda bucking. when i ride my brakeless at work.... a bicycle courier... i rip shit - straight rash. wrong ways. tight ass traffic. in the rain. full fucking speed.

i got normal bars almost exactly as wide as my shoulders.
u cant do any better than that.

and what it comes down too is wheter or not u got the courage and the hint of insanity to make you pull off the highspeeds brakeless ready for anything.

SUPER GOOD CALL about between skateboarder and actual bike racer.
ive been skateboarding for ten years.


wouldnt like a bicycle if i couldnt rash like its a skateboard.
skidding sideways onto one ways whippin skidding between all types of shit. ducking mirrors. pissing peeople off who are j walking to begin with... nut yea come test me in boston . hit up my e-mail!a

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Anonymous said...

Riding with brakes doesn't make you faster. It definitely slows you down. That's it's only function. I don't ride a fixie I ride a free wheel bike with no brakes. It will coast forever and it's a thriller riding down a hill.

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