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New Fixed-Gear: Inline Skates?

October 20, 2009


I know, I know.  Many of you are probably asking the same question:

Rollerblades (trademarked)?!  Why not rollerskates?!

Well, reader, if you’re asking that question, you might not have a firm grasp on the concept of “ironic transportation.”  You see, rollerblades, or “fruit boots,” are currently the lamest conveyance available; as opposed to rollerskates, which are enjoying a surge in “coolness” because of roller derby and (more importantly), the natural “retro cycle.”

The “retro cycle” is a natural progression whereby trends/styles have a peak popularity, then fade, then have a peak unpopularity/universal scorn period 10-15 years after their peak (e.g. Jncos in 2005), then sometime after that period, they enjoy a revival in popularity – usually popular in a tongue-in-cheek way (Jncos back in 2013?).  The retro revival must wait 15 years, though.

Rollerskates went out of style in the 1980s, went back into style in the 2000s, and are no longer ironic enough.

Rollerblades, however, are still very uncool (peak popularity in 1992?  Universal scorn peak in 2005?).  This makes rollerblades immensely more ironic, and thereby more appealing to hipsters.  If there’s ever going to be a time for a peak in rollerblading ironic popularity, it will be 2012, 20 years after rollerblades’ genuine-initial popularity.  The time for early adoption is now!
Alright, alright… On to the ratings.

Exclusivity: 2

Everyone ever owned a pair of rollerblades when they were a kid (or, as in my case, “inline skates,” if their cheapskate parents bought them Variflex skates).  There are several pairs of Rollerblades at every thrift store in America.  Rollerblades aren’t exclusive.

Then again, no one rides them (other than kooky, fitness freak commuters in large cities).  Also, they take some skill to master skating street (and a pair of pants similar to Rodney Mullen’s 1993 Jncos.  Also is that a Christian rap song?  Is rollerblading Christian skateboarding?).  Two!

Irony: 5

I feel uncomfortable giving a perfect score of five in irony.  But think about it:

“Fruit boots.”

“Aggressive inline skating.”

And look at these pictures:


All-neon 90s “zany” alternative brand? (double irony for rehashing 2007’s neon revival?)


Dweebie “aggressive” sport that will simply never have the cachet of its cool older brother, skateboarding?


Homoerotic overtones?

A perfect five!

Street Cred: 1


Does this look like street-credibility?


Then again, it does look like it could end up hurting badly.  Hence the above-zero score.


Aesthetics: 2

I don’t know.  I thought that rollerblades were pretty cool looking back in the day…

And we can all ride old black-and-neon-and-purple, plastic ‘blades.  Right?

Also, you can dress however you want on rollerblades.  And male hipsters would get an opportunity to tuck their fruity pants into their fruit boots.

The problem, of course, is that no matter what you do, you will still look like a rollerblader if you’re rollerblading.


Impracticality: 2

Rollerblades also receive lackluster marks in the impracticality department.  They can get pretty much anywhere.  They’re fairly fast.  Unlike bikes, they’re easy to store and can’t get a flat tire.  They’re cheap and over-available.

In short, they’re way too practical for most hipsters.  They’re not exclusive enough.  They’re too cheap.  And they simply make too much sense to be the next fixed-gear.

Total score: 12

It’ll take a more than irony alone to replace the fixed-gear as the principal alternative conveyance.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 8:33 am

    This was to be expected…

  2. October 20, 2009 8:33 am

    and hey! FIRST!

  3. October 20, 2009 9:16 am

    Don’t forget to review the amazing rowbike:

    • bikefag permalink*
      October 20, 2009 7:22 pm

      Did you see the poor rear derailleur on that thing?!

  4. October 20, 2009 4:18 pm

    The Stepper Bike is another possibility.

    • bikefag permalink*
      October 20, 2009 7:20 pm

      Work it, mami.

    • Pants Yabbies permalink
      October 22, 2009 11:58 pm

      Fuckin’ hi ten?!! No wai!

  5. October 20, 2009 11:04 pm

    i loved this game…

  6. October 20, 2009 11:08 pm

  7. Victor C. permalink
    October 22, 2009 3:53 am

    Great post

  8. Anon of Florida permalink
    October 25, 2009 3:59 pm

    What about Citroen 2CVs?

    Exclusivity: They’re out of production, although in the same category as Volkswagon Beetles, they are much rarer in the US, due to certain ironic characteristics.

    Irony: Most top out at 40-50 miles per hour, takes hours to accelerate to that speed, a suspension lists like a boat, and flap up windows.

    Street cred: one stars crash rating, a convertible (cloth roof) Unkillable engine. There is also the environmental street cred of having 60mpg.

    Aesthetics: bodywork is total bauhaus. Fussyness in the number of Rube Goldberg mechanisms that are built in to make it work, and authentic Retro appeal.

    Impracticality: In highwayland of the United States, the crawling slow speeds, poor acceleration and dent-friendly bodywork makes this automobile very very impractical. On the other hand, it has a suspension that outdoes SUVs, even hummers, so impracticality is best kept for the roads.

    Am I trying too hard?

  9. Mike Dickinson permalink
    October 26, 2009 6:30 am

    Pogo Sticks are TOTALLY the next fixie

  10. jacob boyd permalink
    November 5, 2009 8:10 am

    I must say that you’ve taken a very shallow look into rollerblading. As a proud rollerblader (and cyclist) I feel obligated to show you that rollerblading is more than what the outdated neon obsessed fitness skaters make it out to be. The core culture within rollerblading is extremely style oriented, and makes it one of the funnest and eclectic sports to take part in.

  11. December 10, 2009 1:31 am

    you talk about rollerblading being uncool as if its a bad thing, money factor aside its a huge positive, we are the purest sport because the people who bust their ass at the high ends do it to be the best not for a chance at mediocre mtv show, besides who cares of its cool or do you only care if something is cool, oh wait i get it this isnt a site dedicated in any way to your LOVE of fixed gears, its dedicated to how COOL you think fixed gears are right now, and after the fad is over and people have rolled down their left or right pant leg, that you will once again go back to pre-acid washed jeans Hollister hoodie, and stone necklace….cool right?

    btw rollerblading isnt dead, dying but we got life-support by the balls heres just one example from
    Keegan Jacko on his new Solo Tribe skates from Solo Collective on Vimeo.

  12. irollny permalink
    July 26, 2010 12:58 am

    Great arguments and points. I agree 100%
    You can see more fruit booting faggotry on

  13. Mr. Melloe permalink
    July 26, 2010 1:05 am

    Rollerblading is pure style.

  14. Michael Braud permalink
    July 26, 2010 4:25 am

    Dweebie, right?

    I looked at your site.

    A) It’s appropriately titled.
    B) You give a bad name to people who ride bikes that are cool.

    • bikefag permalink*
      July 26, 2010 11:53 am

      Thanks, Michael. But as you yourself just proved through your own reasoning skills: some people are “cool” and some are not. The only person I give a bad name to is myself.

  15. jonathan permalink
    July 26, 2010 2:09 pm


    Rollerblades… at least to do tricks on, are fairly expensive. The average price is around $250-300 Which may or may not last more than a year. I spent about 600 a year on blades.

    it makes it hard for a parent to dump 300 on a pair of blades that the kid may not even get into … but a 40 dollar skateboard or scooter? heck, that’s a deal.

    bladin’ is pretty exclusive. Idk how it would take to a flooding of popularity. I mean… I just don’t want to see Justin Berirber do a 180 on blades.

    that is all.

  16. July 26, 2010 3:57 pm

    take that aerospoke out of your butt and skid into a pit of piranhas

  17. kyle permalink
    July 26, 2010 3:58 pm

    you really need to take a deeper look at rollerblading. where the fuck do you find all these dopey ass pics from blading when it first came out? do you even realize that rollerblading has progressed immensely since then? In my opinion, you should thoroughly research a topic before you post some bullshit on the internet. or maybe watch the chris haffey videos some one posted on here

    • jonathan permalink
      July 26, 2010 5:43 pm


      Just stop. Who cares. This thread is to troll and have fun. Those rollerblade photos are real, it DID happen. It just now fits in to the style of what this blog creator is going for.

      So serious

  18. March 15, 2011 5:22 am

    I was to uncool and too old for rollerblades or inline skates and having just mastered the art of skating backwards on my roller skates which took me hours and hours, there was no way I was willing to risk my neck attempting the tricks that inline skaters seem to perfect very quickly.
    Now in my fifties it is great to see the fashions become trendy “Must have” to go out of style only to comeback (as you said in your post) 10 to 15 years later and be hailed as the latest thing. The only trouble is they tend to be 10 -15 times more in price.

  19. Jeff permalink
    November 30, 2013 7:36 pm


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