Fixed gear bikes still rolling


Single speed and fixed gear bikes have been seen as just a fad but have actually been the most popular bike options since the invention of bikes.

Fixed gear bikes were the first kind of bikes, and had simple builds. A steel frame, a front wheel over 40 inches in diameter with a small back wheel, mustache handlebars and a big metal seat.

They didn’t have the technology to equip a free wheel hub. Instead, you would pedal the front wheel and it would only rotate the front wheel, simply pulling the back as the bike rolled along.

As bikes evolved, there was a sudden spike in popularity in track bikes in 1879 when Madison Square Garden was built as America’s first Velodrome track. This was followed by the creation of the American Messenger Company in 1907 based in Seattle. Since then, track bikes have been on streets all over America.

Curious, I got on my 1972 Starnord road bike to ask riders what they thought of single speed bikes. Michael Gomez, fixed gear rider, stressed the fact that the joy is in the thrill and danger of ridding a fixed gear bike — its like standing on the edge of a cliff. Long time single speed rider Brandon Yoon claims it has evolved into more than a fad but a way of life.

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