Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Bike ‘fixies’ booms in Brisbane

Photograph by Francois de Halleux. http://picturesfromearth.com/

Bikes 'now seen as a badge of trend'. Photograph by Francois de Halleux. http://picturesfromearth.com/

Some cycling enthusiasts say fixed gear bikes or  ‘fixies’ are back rolling on the streets of Queensland, with Brisbane one of the hubs for the latest in biking culture.

Biking Brisbane project spokesman Gavin Bannerman says over the last year, ‘fixies’. which are fixed-wheel bikes with no gears or free-wheel mechanism, have become more popular and are now one of the top choices for bike lovers.

Mr Bannerman says the latest interest in fixies has had a big impact on the whole biking scene.

He says the fixie culture spiked from a range of factors, including changes in urban development, public transport, retail trend and even fashion.

“Bikes are now seen as a badge of trend,” he said.

“There’s been a change in the demographic of bike riders – you see people in suits and business attire, people wearing high vis vests and others in full lycra.

“A few years ago there was only one kind of bike rider.”

However, Bennett Rust, an avid fixie rider and creator of the Fixie GC blog website, says fixies are more than just a fad.

“For some people it’s a trend and for others it’s a lifetime disease,” he said.

“A common joke is that fixed gear is the new roller-blading.”

‘Classic style’

Mr Rust says fixies are not only seen as a fashion statement but are an enjoyable and practical option.

He says fixies are ideal for getting around high-density metropolitan areas.

“For an urban application the track bike works well – low maintenance, clean and simple components,” he said.

“The nature of the bike forces you to develop a good riding technique.

“A single gear fixed often makes you work hard and your better for it physically and mentally.”

Mr Rust says the ability to customise your bike is also a big advantage of riding a fixie.

He says riders are able to change accessories to their own tastes and requirements, a clear key contributor to the influx in riders.

“I was drawn to riding fixed because of the ability to reflect your personality,” he said.

“Building a bike from the ground up is a really good experience and you’re always tweaking and changing parts to get that perfect set-up.”

He says riders are also attracted to the classic style of a fixie, with many commuters purchasing vintage frames and restoring them into urban street bikes.

Creative projects

Mr Bannerman says the influx in riders has inspired all kinds of bike-related events in Brisbane, ranging from bike polo, film festivals and photography exhibitions.

The Biking Brisbane exhibition will be held next month at the Bleeding Heart Gallery, featuring photographs, digital stories and interviews of cyclists around Brisbane.

Mr Bannerman says the exhibition will give viewers an insight into the biking culture of Brisbane and hopefully encourage more people to get involved.

“The project is a way for people to share their stories,” he said.

“Cyclists see a lot of different sights and angles to the city that others don’t.”

Related Links:

Arts project – Capturing a view of Brisbane from a cyclist’s perspective: Biking Brisbane

Blog: FixieGC