Monthly Archives: August 2010

When the internet is great (fixies & Olduvai theory)

One of the things I love about the web is discovering what are, for me, entirely new subcultures with their own special debating points and jargon. One such subculture I discovered today (by means of a Guardian story about Racer Rosa bicycles) is that of ‘fixies’ – fixed-wheel bicycle enthusiasts.

I used to love bicycling as a youth, though I never use my bike these days. The fixed-wheel bikes that Racer Rosa makes are quite gorgeous, though, and made me feel like perhaps a change away from ugly, cheap ATBs would be a nice idea. But to my shame, I didn’t even know what fixed-wheel meant. In case you don’t know, it’s one of those more old fashioned bikes where the pedal moves when the wheel does, and vice versa. In other words, you can’t coast on a fixed-wheel bike. In other words, you can use pedal control to stop a fixed-wheel bike. I remember using bikes like that many years ago.

Google > Wikipedia > Moving Target – and a couple of minutes later, I’m reading a discussion about whether or not fixies should should have a front brake or not. I’m not claiming any deep understanding of their world, but at least I know about fixies now. This is one reason I really love the internet.

Earlier, I also discovered this highly depressing theory about the impending end of industrialised society. It has been around for ages, it seems, and I just hope that it’s utter bollocks. All the same, I still love the internet.