Hey, don’t forget to sign my buddymap…let me know where you are at.
Its a little over a week until Monster Track 8, a famous NYC alleycat race of all fixed gears. Monster Track even has a wikipedia page that I think is fairly new.
This race brings people from all over the world and is a pilar in alleycat racing history. This years race is on Saturday the 17th of February.
It starts at E Houston St /Christie St,
SARA D ROOSEVELT PARK (but things can change)
More info will be available at Monster track’s site as the race gets closer. But really all you need to know is where it starts, about what time and how ready am I to rock my track bike in traffic at top speed.
Go to Fixed gr for on-going discussions about Monster Track and alleycat and messenger race culture. This is a really great discussion forum of NYC riders and a great place where people can post, opinions, photos, video clips and artwork…like 8 years of Monster Track artwork…Thank you Squid.
Many of these flyers were designed by artist and messenger: Greg Uglade–I’m sure you can tell which ones
There was an article this week by National Public Radio about fixed gears. This article is found by mess media a website dedicated to fairness and accuracy in articles written about messengers.
audio for this story can be found at NPR
Cyclists Switch to Single-Speed Bikes
by Dan Charles
NPR, February 6, 2007
It’s the latest, coolest thing in pedal-powered transportation: Bikes
with no gears and no brakes. You’ll find them on city streets from New
York to San Francisco, mostly in the company of young, rugged-looking
Take a close look at Vincent Betette’s bicycle, for instance. Betette
is a bike messenger in Washington, D.C. He rides a sleek machine that
is stripped down to the bare essentials: Two wheels on a light steel
frame with curving handlebars of bare metal. There are no cables, and
no gears â€” and there’s no coasting, either. This is a “fixed-gear”
bike; if the wheels are turning, the pedals have to turn too, the way
bicycles worked 100 years ago.
The pedals don’t just make the bike go. They’re also what Betette uses
to stop, because this bike has no brakes. If Betette needs to slow
down, he pushes back against the pedals, forcing his legs to go slower.
And if a car cuts in front of him, “I just lock my legs up and kind of
slide out of the way.”
Such bikes are also commonly called “track bikes.” They are what
Olympic racers ride on indoor banked tracks called velodromes.
Now they’re taking over the streets. Bike messengers discovered them
first. These street matadors liked the ruggedness of track bikes.
Courier Andy Zalen says they also liked the way the bikes feel â€”
there’s something addictive about riding a bike in which your feet are
tied to the wheels, he says â€” and the way they look. “There’s something
beautiful in the simplicity of a track bike.”
It’s that “look,” says Vincent Betette, that seems to have caught on
with the young and hip crowd. “We have a name for them,” he says.
“FAMS: Fake-a** messengers. That’s what we call them. They got our
bags, they got our bikes. It’s a fashion accessory now.”
Betette isn’t sure some of these people belong on bikes with no brakes.
A lot of people who’ve picked up fixed-gear bikes lately “just can’t
stop them,” he says. “They go headlong into the backs of cars. A lot of
them are going to learn the hard way, and a lot of them are going to
catch on and they’re going to love it.”
Track bikes have even spread to the suit and tie crowd. Michael Simpson
gets to his office in downtown Washington by by riding 17 miles on a
old red bicycle that he converted to a fixed-gear. “It feels like being
a kid again. You don’t have to worry about what gear you’re in, or what
components you have. You just get on the bike and go where you want to
go,” he says.
But when he was a kid, didn’t he want gears? “Oh, I definitely wanted
gears when I was kid,” he says, laughing.
Now that he’s a grownup, Simpson is also a little more cautious. His
bike â€” like Andy Zalen’s â€” does have a hand brake. It spoils that pure,
minimalist look a bit, but a brake makes it less likely that you’ll
crash into a bus.
To give you an idea of the popularity and significance of this race, people are coming from as far away as Tokoyo Japan, including Hirouki Shinozuko, known as Shino, who won this years Messenger world championship in Sydney, as fastest on a track bike, and second in longest skid.