One Less Car vs. One Less Bike

Bicycle hipsters in cities like San Francisco often sport “One Less Car” stickers on their rides (and I fully agree with that sentiment). More recently–and perhaps as a response to Critical Mass from disgruntled drivers–there’s been a wave of cars displaying “One Less Bike” stickers. Clever.

But my new favorite has to be the one pictured below, sent to me by my friend Rob (via SFist).


Fixed gear, or track-racing bikes, first became hot among bike messengers in major cities. They are notable for their lack of breaks, single gear and lack of a free spinning rear wheel; ie, pedal forward you go forward, pedal in reverse and the bike goes backwards. They’ve since spread to the wider hipster set, although common variations include single-speed non-fixed gear bicycles. Wannabee fixies, to put it bluntly. These often feature breaks and quite possibly a rider wearing tight jeans and a studded belt, or worse, a huge chain used to lock up the bike (popular in New York, although just plain stupid: fall on this and you risk shattering your hip).

I can understand the appeal of both bikes on one level, but in many places (like hilly San Francisco!) they don’t make much sense. Skid stops can be dangerous for obvious reasons, and those knees will only last so long, kids!

(Here’s a good article from the New York Times about fixed gear bikes and the culture that’s formed around them)

I’ll stick to my Bianchi Imola, thanks.

(NB: Post is sort of updated here)

6 thoughts on “One Less Car vs. One Less Bike

  1. That is an amusing bumper sticker. I ride a track bike (in Chicago) and love every second of it. As with anything cool, it (as an element of culture) has been co-opted by douchebags. Then again, that statement implies that we who feel ownership over this have a special right to it in the first place–which we don’t. “I found this first” is no argument for “I deserve this more.” So ultimately what it becomes about is whether or not you as an individual are doing something because you feel passion for it, or doing something because you want to create an impression. If it’s the former, then everyone brings something new to the field, and the culture grows. And it’s usually easy to tell when it’s the latter, because it’s they who like to hate on anything other than what they are involved in.

    Ultimately, it’s about passion for the ride. You enjoy your Imola, I’ll enjoy my Concept, and we’ll both meet up at the Mass.

  2. I’d find “one less fixed gear” funny and appropriate if it was on a geared bike, but the fact that it’s on a car bumper completely removes the humour and the meaning from it.

    And a “one less bike” sticker on a car bumper? That’s supposed to be funny? The thousands of cyclist deaths caused by motorists every year tells me that it’s the opposite.

  3. Pingback: City Biking is Dangerous « spume

  4. Pingback: Blogging Paradox: Fixed Gears on Spume « spume

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