I was commuting to work on the Chester Creek bike trail last week when a guy on a sharp looking red bike passed going the other way. Now passing other cyclists is nothing out of the ordinary. But this guy was riding a fixed gear bike, just as I was. We recognized our common bond at the last possible moment, exchanging sidelong glances.
Fixies are all over the West Coast and the urban fixed gear trend is nothing new. Yet in Anchorage — out here on the far reaches of the Empire beyond even the Dagobah System — you just don’t see that many fixies. I’d guess that maybe you could find a few dozen or so if you scoured through all the alleys of Spenard and looked behind the dumpsters in the U-Med District. (I’m not including the singlespeed jobs that aren’t fixed.)
Yes, I know fixed gear bikes involve a learning curve for handling the inertia challenge. You have to actually think while riding a fixed gear, planning ahead for the next intersection or hill or obstacle. You have to remember there ain’t no coasting on a fixie and stopping one that is up to speed requires at least a modicum of skill. Most of the uninitiated, I suppose, view fixies as dangerous and utterly lacking in social utility, like the lawn darts of the cycling world.