I’ll admit to finding the current worldwide rage for “fixies” rather amusing but then again I was stripping my friends’ and colleagues’ bikes down to minimalist, fixed-wheel, rat bikes fifteen years ago. So I do understand the aesthetic and beauty of simplicity. And I raced on the track for years and still “train” (for what goal I forget) weekly at the indoor Amsterdam Velodrome during the winter.
Besides I’d much rather see a million pretentious or wanna-be fixed-gear bikes than a million horrid, generic, silver hybrids with suspension forks… even last year’s ugly hybrids dressed up this year as considerably cuter “city bikes” with too short, plastic fenders, cosmetic racks and painted some apparently politically correct color like “sand” or teal green. Indeed if that’s the bike industry’s idea of a utilitarian bike I’d rather just ride a flat black, 20 year old steel Bianchi road bike stripped down to one gear and one brake… which in fact was my daily ride for a decade in California. I still have that bike but now it’s an extra bike since we live on the fourth floor, it’s not built for outdoor life and it’s also not a particularly practical way to carry little kids.
But I digress. Though Workcycles’ focus is heavy duty city and transport bicycles our workshops repair and modify all types of bikes. Even fixed gear bikes sometimes, and not just giant Dutch cargo trikes which also happen to have fixed wheels. We weren’t voted “Best Bike Shops in Amsterdam” (out of about 250) for nothin’. This particular fixed-gear modification I found to be interesting in a very typically Dutch (i.e. practical) way.
“Dave” visits us periodically for parts and service, almost always with dog in tow. Last week he came in with a broken chain as a result of his dog’s leash getting caught between chain and chainring. Bummer. We discussed the repair and Dave asked whether it would be possible to move the drivetrain over to the left side of the bike since his dog runs on the right side. He’d get more “fred marks” on his left leg but he and dog would be safer. I looked the bike over. It had a proper fixed-gear hub with a reverse thread lockring and a symmetrical bottom bracket axle so sure, it should work just fine assuming he’s not going to be cranking away like a track sprinter. It did turn out that the bottom bracket was trashed and had to be replaced with something shorter than what we normally use on city bikes but we found a perfect fit in my personal collection of random parts. A few hours later Dave was back on the road with a strange looking but more practical bike. I find it a down to earth example in the current rarified a-fixie-nado atmosphere of NJS track parts, collectors item keirin frames, precious colorway coordination curation and stupid wheel combinations.
Thanks for the use of your photo Dave.