Now that it’s beyond obvious… a NY Times blog entry about how fixed gear freestyle/trick riding is now more popular than just riding a track bike.
I don’t know… I’ve been riding track bikes for a long time. I love to ride and I love to ride hard, fast and far. To me, there’s not much of a relation between fixed gear freestyle and fixed gear riding. It’s not like everyone into the urban fixed gear aesthetic just up and converted to doing tricks. All the trick riders I know came from a BMX background and are just adapting their old tricks to bigger bikes. At the same time, all the track bike lovers I know still love track bikes and still love to ride. Alleycat races are still fun, vintage pista parts are still sexy and messengers are still cred as shit. The only difference now is that the fashion spotlight (what kids dig) is now onto trick riding. And to me, that’s a different scene altogether.
It’s exactly what happened to BMX in the 80’s. Before all the flatland and half-pipes, BMX used to stand for Bicycle Moto-Cross and that’s exactly what it was. When the 80’s came, the legit BMX racers stuck with it and new kids got into something completely different which happened to use the same bike. That’s what’s going on here.
Hell, there’s probably more messengers riding mountain bikes than those that ride track bikes but nobody really associates people who ride mountain bikes with messengers. Furthermore, nobody really associates people who ride mountain bikes with mountain biking. Well it’s the same shit with track bikes. Just because someone is using the same type of drivetrain as me doesn’t mean we’re related or associated. It’s apples and oranges and one does not necessarily overshadow the other.
Still, I understand that both trick bike culture and track bike culture are not mutually exclusive. Like pretty much everything in this world, there are no black and whites. But in light of this article, I felt it was necessary to point out that the street-smart, city-bred, gritty lifestyle of an urban fixed gear hero such as the messenger is no less romanticized than 5 years ago. It’s just the lens of pop culture shifting focus.
All that said, I got tons of love for all the trick riders out there (as I do for all riders out there). You guys are doing some amazing, next-level shit and carving new paths for generations to come. You’re doing it because it’s in your heart and there’s nothing that will validate that feeling more than when the next stage of evolution hits and you are sticking to what you love.