Cycling through one of the greatest cities in the world today was extremely fun and I question myself why I don’t do it more often. Two of my friends and I cycled through London today to Shoreditch to visit a couple of places of interest. I went to look at all the unique people Shoreditch had to offer and possibly find some cool fixie/single gear riders and it was a great success. I was able to complete a lot of my photographic research for my fixie zine and even make a few adjustments to my bike. After having ridden my fixie for a few months now, my confidence on the road has become a lot higher and with the addition of my straps on the pedals, I am able to skid and stop far better. This has made me make some aesthetic decisions on my bike where now, I have completely removed all my brakes and rely only on my legs.
I bought the new horn handlebars from Brick Lane Bikes for a reasonable price of £29.99 and they were nice enough to let me use their outdoor workspace to work on my bike. The white griptape is by Fwe from Evans Cycles for £14.99.
Another change I made was the seat post. Previously it had suspension but now I have changed it to a matt black Longus seat post from my local bike shop for £14.99. The value of my bike is slowly rising…
Customisation is vital to give your bike a unique character to suit your style. When this bike was first bought, it came as a whole set – all black and aggressive. Even though the bike itself looked awesome, it was boring and needed some personal touch. After the handlebars changed to gold drop-downs, the pedals to something smaller and lighter and the saddle to a white Cinelli, the bike looked one step closer to personal perfection.
Notice how this bike has no brakes – once you become skilled and confident enough to ride a fixie bike, a front brake is not always necessary. “Brakes are death” – Wilee, Premium Rush. Needless to say, it is a whole lot more dangerous to ride a bike in the city of London with no brakes, however, personal preferences lead you to make aesthetic decisions which others may not agree with.
Colour co-ordination is also a big factor when customising your bike. My friend has gone for a gold/yellow look for his bike. Along with the handlebars being gold, he has decided to go for a yellow rear mudguard. Some may disagree with his choice in colour or the type of mudguard he has gone for but personally, I find that his bike look far better now than it was before.
On going fixie bike projects are always exciting to see and record. You can track the progress of the bike from start to finish. This bike here is a custom built, re-painted frame which belongs to my house mate. Here he has change many parts of the bike already: the handlebars, brakes, crankset, pedals and chain. Next stage: wheels.
Premium Rush follows the action packed story of the protagonist Wilee (Joseph Gorden-Levitt), a bike courier in the city of New York. Wilee is one of the best in the dangerous job of a New York City bike courier and his ride of choice is a fixie bike – lightweight, single fixed speed and no brakes. It takes a certain degree of skill and charisma to ride a fixie, to risk your life every time you head into traffic and to make split second decisions on the move. On a normal routine delivery, Wilee picks up an envelope, which leads him to life or death chases through the city of Manhattan.
This movie glorifies fixie bikes and shows the skill and danger these bike couriers put them selves through on a day-to-day basis. Looking at this film not through a critic’s eye but through the eyes of a bike enthusiast, you can see where the film may gain its popularity. Although the reviews on the film are barely over mediocre with a 66% score on Metacritic and 6.5/10 on IMDB, it appeals to my love of fixie bikes, henceforth, receiving a higher rating from me.
The fixie you see here is the bike, which Wilee rides – an Affinity Metropolitan. The frame is made of a standard 4130 promo tubing with drilled in front forks and a horizontal top tube. While the frame is capable of performing in a velodrome, the drilled in front forks and a rear brake mount allows the bike to be street ready. Affinity has made a collection of the plain white Affinity Metropolitan frame and for the reasonable price of $475, the frame could be yours to customise with a sticker book which is included in the purchase.
The amazing thing about customising your bike is that there is no other bike in the world like yours. I can only think of benefits of customisation, with bikes which come as a whole set there are hundreds of thousands of units of the same product. That is one of the main reasons where my passion for fixies persist: there are so many different styles and unique fixies out there. As much as one can love their own fixie, you can’t help but admire the customisation of others.
When my first bike was stolen back in 2011, I did not buy another bike until September this year. Knowing that I’d save a great deal of money if I commuted to and from university, I began a fixie project.
My friend had been in an accident whilst riding his fixie bike, he damaged his front wheel and front forks very badly and has hardly ridden his maroon Raleigh bike ever since. After purchasing his broken bike, I bought a different Raleigh frame and used the wheels from the maroon frame. After buying all the necessary parts to complete my new fixie bike, the total cost was approximately £230.
Starting the first project of my year ‘Zines’, I have decided to base the project around a re-found passion of mine – Fixed Gear Bikes.
In 2011 I found this old Metropolitan bike (est. 1980) thrown away in a scrap yard. I spent many hours taking the bike apart, cleaning it and fixing old broken bikes in order to save enough money to buy new parts. Eventually, I was able to transform the old broken bike into this fixie.
Unfortunately, this bike was stolen from my back garden whilst I was on holiday. Needless to say, I was deeply upset and distraught by my loss. Now looking back at it, there are many aspects of the bike I would change if she was still in my possession – the handle bars, brakes, grips, crank set, pedals and chain, however, the hopes of finding my lost treasure is now long gone.