Sunday, April 18, 2010

A wedding and a Melbourne bicycle explosion!!

Wow... The fixie culture I'd previously only read about on the Internet is well and truly alive in Melbourne!

Yesterday I played chauffeur at my Sisters wedding, I haven't driven in the City for several years and had no idea where I was going! Actually I don't get to see my family much so getting lost on the way to dropping the newly weds off at their Hotel was an unexpected opportunity to catch up... (Sorry guys!)
The wedding took place at about 4:30pm in a park down in Fitzroy. The park was absolutely pumped full of people having a good time, throwing Frisbees, having picnics, walking their dogs riding bikes and Showing off their latest fashion accessories including odd piercings, tattoos and really cool BIKES! (I wanted to take photos of all the action and the hardware but I was otherwise engaged)It was a great day and we are all very happy to have a new member of the family! Congratulations to both of you and thanks for including us in your plans! (Anyway that's their story so I'll stick to the bikes)

(Wedding in the Park)

There were fixies all over the place! They were all flash looking new bikes but all different. Every one that I saw close up had those two way hubs... (Plenty of people know all about these things but it's all new to me.. One way is a fixed wheel but if you flip the wheel over it is a single speed freewheel. How cool!) While in the inner suburbs of Melbourne I noticed heaps of young guys and girls riding fixies which was a bit of a worry. Having never come across them before I didn't know what to expect but after just an hour of watching them riding around I realized just how damaging the apparently mandatory bad attitude could prove to be for cyclists. A lot of the people I saw riding them had endangered themselves or other cyclists and pedestrians by riding into oncoming traffic (bicycle, motorized and pedestrian), through a bunch of other cyclists, or generally disregarding basic courtesies that are supposed to ensure the safety of road users... What a shame the fastest growing subculture among the cycling world of inner Melbourne has the potential to trash any good will that may have been developing there. (Of course I don't know that it is but have a hunch it could)
I wonder will this new fixie culture last or will the dangerous nature of the bikes and the lifestyle take it's toll?
I have to admit a couple of years ago I did want one but now they're so cool I doubt I'd pass the audition...

An old single at the zoo...
(Old fixie from long, long ago)

There were also heaps of 1960s - 80s ladies style bikes, which I am really into at the moment...!
Hey they're comfortable to ride, have great handle bar positioning and are really good for carrying children with because you can easily throw your leg over the centre bar. Oh Yeh and I saw a Christiania bike and one of those really long ones with the barrow at the front... I can't remember what theyre called right now.

Now I have to admit 20 years ago I would have really gone for the exhilleration and high paced action of a fixie... I would have been darting in and out of traffic just like the rest of them but as I get older I'm tending toward the slower laid back style of an old ladies bike... Or the upright sitting possition of the European cargo bikes that are getting around now. Basically I'm beyond caring about looking tough or cool or fast, I just want something that feels good! Damn there's a lot of feel good stuff around the inner suburbs of Melbourne right now!

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