Photo posted on Flickr by "nabiis" June 23.
Without brakes, freestanding wheels, and possessing only one gear, the "fixie" can already be seen tearing down the streets of the world's metropolises. This new kind of bike has lured fans with a fervour from San Francisco to Tokyo.
The "fixed gear" was born in San Francisco, the hub of non-motorised wheel enthusiasts. The movement is a kind of idealised version of messenger-style bike riding, cruising through the cities and slaloming between cars. The so-called "hipsters" have turned the idea into a veritable urban art form in which the aesthetics of the engine are as important as its performance.
The phenomenon has gone beyond the bike messenger circle and can be seen in London, Paris and even Tokyo.
In France these bicycles, which work on a system of backpedalling, are not authorised to venture outside the area of competitive biking. But the best underground bikers are enthralled by the idea, as it requires an unparallelled mastery of the engine's technology (riders mustn't stop pedalling).
The tinkerers are also in on the game. The "fixies" (fixed gear bicycles) are most often the result of customised discontinued bicycle frames. In Japan, some are worth their weight in gold.
Olivier Krawiecki runs a bike shop in Paris.
Today there is a core fan base. I have friends who spend their weekdays on regular bikes and who ride their fixed gears on the weekends - it's a different sensation. But the movement will never be allowed in France, for the simple and understandable reason that it's impossible to stop at red lights. In our store, we don't sell fixies, we just tinker with our own bikes for personal use."
Posted on Youtube by "getoutdoors".
The directors of the video, filmed in 2006 amidst the sinuous roads of San Francisco, followed these breakneck bikers, who are professional "fixies".