When I as growing up, there was a distinguished boom of sorts where fixed nation started to form from. Of course, where does tons of the counter-culture movements stem from? San Francisco of course!
When I got one of my first fixed gear bicycles, I was so hyped to show off to all of my friends this sweet new ride that I got, and I hoped to inspire a couple of my other friends to purchase one to ride with me. Fixies were somewhat of a risky purchase for many people due to the fact that there wasn’t really a vast amount of knowledge during their first massive bit of growth, so the people who usually bought one initially were the risk takers of the world.
One of my girls invited me to a wedding in at the downtown San Francisco City Hall my senior year of high school. One of the more random events I had ever seen was something that the SF city hall wedding photographer set up that the bride and groom seemed to really enjoy. After marrying each other, they rode down the aisle together holding hands. That’s when I knew for sure that fixed gear bicycles were a huge thing in the Bay Area.
The San Francisco bay area is one totally congested place full of buildings and residents. The small city has a population nearing a million, and it’s certainly surprising that it is still able to pretty easily accommodate everyone once they are in the city itself. After getting through all of the traffic on the bridges to the city, it’s really not the bad and the traffic seems to be under control for much of the time. Part of the reason for this is because people have taken a serious liking to using the public transportation available to them to get around in the city. San Francisco, despite how hilly the city is, has a large amount of people who respect people who avoid driving cars to prevent toxic fuel emissions from getting into the atmosphere, and they salute the people who ride bikes and get their healthy exercise while goign to their jobs around the city. Pretty much every street you go down, particularly in the downtown area where it is more or less flat land around the bay, there are tons of people riding all kinds of bikes to get around. Since San Francisco is full of roads to ride the bike on, I can see how it would become somewhat annoying to always be changing gears while you wait your turn on a stoplight or wait to cross a crosswalk. With a fixed gear bicycle, you only have to worry about one gear so as soon as that light turns green, you can start peddling away, standing on your bicycle working hard instead of having to worry about getting in and out of the right gears while you peddle.
Fixed gears are also pretty cool for the reverse peddling and trackstand crews who like to perform sweet tricks on their bikes and make a show out of it. Being able to put on a performance is a pretty sweet way to make some extra money in San Francisco where there are tons of tourists visiting every single day and looking to spend some money on anything that gets them feeling like they are being entertained on their vacations.
After leaving that wedding in San Francisco, it was right around the time where fixies were starting to get noticed on the street, but not necessarily ready to explode onto the market and take over the biking game. After leaving San Francisco though, I started to feel a little more confident about how cool I was to be riding a fixie as opposed to other bikes because I really thought that San Francisco was the place where the cool new styles, fashions, and cultures stemmed from that eventually started a movement throughout the rest of the world. When I got home and continued on with my senior year, I started to rep the fixed gear way more than ever before.