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.jpg

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)