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The End Of An Era, The End Of A Bike.

January 1, 2010

The 2000s (or, the “naughty aughties”) has been the decade of the fixed-gear bike.

I remember the first time I saw one – ridden by a bike messenger in Denver in 2001.  I’m not the “gawlee, what’s that?!” type.  And I came from a mountain bike childhood in Colorado Springs, where my father and I would go to the 7-11 Velodrome to watch the races; so I had a vague inkling of what I was witnessing.  But when I saw the dude track-standing a brakeless, handlebar tape-less Bianchi Pista with a seatpost-mounted fender on the “big city streets” of Denver, I was impressed.

After that, I saw many more Denver messengers riding fixed-gears.  I had friends who acquired them, I rode them, and finally I built one myself – out of my Dad’s old Miyata 600GT touring bike.  Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that what I actually needed was a track bike.  So I bought a KHS Flite 100 frameset, taped over all of the logos, and built it up custom with orange duct tape and matching Oury grips.

My KHS was powder coated purple after a year or so, and has had every part replaced at least once over the last few years (with the exception of the $15 Ritchey headset that I broke the top tube cap of almost immediately).  I rode my purple bike on half-centuries, chamois-less, at first, then I rode it on full centuries, fully chamoised, for a full year before I finally bought a road bike.  Since then I’ve acquired many chamoises and other lycra clothing that I never thought I’d wear.  I’ve ridden rides I never thought I’d ride.  And I’ve acquired more bikes than I ever thought I’d own.

But there’s still a place in my heart for my Purple Bike.

Unfortunately, the naughty aughties are over.  The era of the fixed-gear is behind us, and it’s time to move on.

So it was with great sorrow that I abandoned my beloved Purple Bike today.

My friend, and former Collegiate Track National Champion, Dan Lionberg and I decided that since all the lakes were frozen, and there were no “chasms” nearby, we’d be best off dumping the Purple Bike way out in the Colorado Eastern Plains where no one would be caught dead riding any bike under any circumstances, let alone a bike that’s purple and has no brakes.

We headed out across the freeway, on roads that stayed paved at first.

Way out, on roads that never had a name.

Up hills.

Into the wind.

‘Til we got to a place so far out that we could be sure no poor soul would stumble upon the Purple Bike and accidentally ride it in the wrong decade.

I said my goodbyes.

"this is gonna hurt me more than it's gonna hurt you"

Said a prayer to the bike Gods.

"please, One-Geared Overlord, forgive me for what I am about to do"

And heaved with all my might.

I walked a long time down that lonesome, alternative-conveyance-less road – until Dan (who decided to keep his fixed-gear to ride for “legspeed training” in the 2010s) felt pity for me and gave me a ride back to town on his handlebars.

It’s a bittersweet new year for this bike fag.  But I ought to be able to save up enough tip money from the coffee shop to buy a quad-ring shortly into the new decade.

Happy new year.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Dandan permalink
    January 1, 2010 1:07 am

    I have a pile of chainrings for that quadring bike…

    • bikefag permalink*
      January 1, 2010 6:08 am

      Ideally I’d like four that are REALLY closely-spaced. Like 49,50,51,52.

  2. January 2, 2010 12:29 am

    I woulda taken your seat… Got a rad klein frame I’m gonna quadring. I don’t want to miss this bandwagon. I still remember when Kurt kobain died… You know the rest… But seriously, what were your approximate gps coodinates when you hucked that bike?

  3. Dave permalink
    January 3, 2010 1:36 am


  4. January 4, 2010 5:39 pm

    rest in peace. but does this mean i have to give up cyclocross in 2020?

    • Nick permalink
      January 7, 2010 5:46 pm

      hahaha, just work really hard to discourage people from getting into it…

  5. bdz permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:10 pm

    The fate of the bike that “ruled so hard” is to become litter in a drainage ditch? I guess recyling (reincarnation for inanimate objects) wasn’t an option?

    • bikefag permalink*
      January 11, 2010 8:44 pm

      I’m recycling content.

  6. January 11, 2010 8:00 pm

    Good timing, I’m sure Bicycling Magazine has an article somewhere post-2009 about how a cross bike can help you BURN FAT and BUILD POWER and GO SWOOSH, sort of like how they said getting a great fixie pre-2010 can help you BURN FAT and BUILD LEGS and NEVER BONK. Hopefully they have a few pages about some great buys all under $1500

  7. January 18, 2010 9:14 pm

    what a waste of bike! those cost about $1200 in NYC
    I also like your post about Prospect Park—when were you in Brooklyn?
    also–forgive my stupidity, but what “is” cyclocross?

  8. Robby permalink
    November 19, 2010 1:17 am

    Um, why the FUCK would you do this? Do you set fire to money, too?

    • Robby permalink
      November 19, 2010 1:24 am

      Shit. Just realized you didn’t actually do it.

  9. Serena permalink
    October 11, 2012 7:22 am

    I’m writing a short piece on fixed gear bikes. Would you be interested in my running one of your photos with the article? I would credit you as the photographer. Best, Serena


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