January 2014






















Fixie Fixation - A Short History of Bikes

I have several friends with whom I ride bicycles and for them, winter time is Fixie time. A fixie is simply a bicycle with a single speed - a fixed gearing. Now these fixies are not like my old Schwin which must have weighed in around 45 pounds, with it's heavy steel frame and huge fat tires (not a few of which my buddies and I inadvertently exploded while filling them up at the gas station - remember the good ol days and walking your bike home from the gas station?). There's been bicycle racing on fixies for a long time and those bikes are the lightest and fastest bikes, the track bikes. Fixies are also common around town, couriers like them, and those are set up to withstand a little more punishment than a velodrome track dishes out.

So, not having one, and realizing that I'm missing out on a bunch of fun, I thought I'd check on a recent trip to Italy to see what they have over there. I found some. Some really cool ones. I'm not sure they all count as fixies since some of them don't even have gears! I began my research in the best museum in Florence - The Galileo Museum. Let's begin at the beginning with the Draisine.

the Draisine

I don't know about your house, but at my house the advent of the bicycle has increased the consumption of oats.


Clearly, in spite of the practicality of having a Draisine, something had to be done to reduce the loss of shoe leather. What better improvement to make than the "BoneShaker"?

the Boneshaker

One does wonder how exciting those first few years were, between the advent of the pedals and the advent of the brake.



Boneshaker brake I

Boneshaker brake II

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