Article in Chicago Tribune about Fixed Gear Trend

No brakes, and they like it
Brakeless bikes are the latest in-thing for the cycling set. But amateur riders pose a hazard to others, observers say.

By Megan Twohey | Chicago Tribune reporter
August 31, 2008

It was dusk in Wicker Park, and cyclists wearing fitted jeans, caps and hooded sweat shirts were gathering for a nighttime ride.

Different frames and colors flashed in the streetlight—a Cinelli Vigorelli, sleek and white; a red Motobecane with purple grips.

But in a controversial and increasingly popular trend, not one of the bicycles had brakes. As the cyclists glided onto the streets on their fixed-gear bikes, the only way for them to slow down was to force the rear wheels into a skid.

State law prohibits riding brakeless bikes on the streets, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of young people from hitting the road with bicycles they see as pure and stripped-down.

Rest of the article here.

There’s also a brief video:

Stay tuned for my complete report on Friday’s Critical Mass in NYC.

4 comments to Article in Chicago Tribune about Fixed Gear Trend

  • Anonymous

    The link does not work. Please fix.

  • Michael Green

    sorry about that. Fixed. Get it.

  • Wutz

    In many states, a brake is anything that can cause the rear wheel to lock up on regular pavement.

    Oftentimes, in lawsuits, the legs end up being ruled to be “brakes.” I’m not against this ruling, walkers use their legs to stop, too.

    A fixed rider just has to look ahead a bit further than other cyclists. An experienced city rider who knows traffic flow in his/her area will be fine being lever-less. On the other hand, new people trying to get in on the “cool” end of cycling will be diving headfirst in to the back of delivery vans before their first week of commuting is complete.

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