Like a plague, they have spread across the planet. In all their neon, gaudy glory. You’ve seen them in your cities, taking up the roads, hogging the pavements and raping the eyes of all around.
Yes, I’m talking about those fixed gear bikes, the infamous “fixies” that have become the new skateboard of hipster youth everywhere.
When I first saw them a few years ago, I have to say that I liked them a lot. Great design, a nice look. But the thing that confused me is that these are velodrome bikes, designed for training in facilities like, well, a velodrome. Fixies were never intended to be out there on the open road.
Here’s the first thing; They have no brakes. You have to clip or strap into the pedals and slow the velocity down with resistance via your legs. Great in an enclosed training track. Not so hot on Sepulveda Blvd. Or anything really that involves stopping when there are lots of other moving objects around you.
While I’m a huge fan of bikes and commuting on them, I’m less hot on death under a delivery van.
Add to the fact that no one wears helmets either and it becomes a kind of hipster mass death wish. So much plaid, so much skinny jean, so much unkempt facial hair being powered into an early grave by their Tom’s clad feet.
Now if people want to off themselves, that’s their business I guess, it’s just that some other poor sod has to wipe a cool kid from off of his car and live with the fact that he packed off an American Apparel supporter before the new summer collection came in.
So I was thinking that we could just make these easier on ourselves and since it’s going to happen anyway, make the whole event official. I’m hereby declaring my pitch for “Fixie Death Race”, a new reality/sport show.
On one side we have our hipster cycling team, all looking like Miami Vice Woodsmen. First, there’s Chad. When he’s not playing bass in his band and designing graphics for his friend’s startup, make nothing art projects, he’s working an office job over by Maxella and the 90. He hates it, but his superior fashion/music knowledge and all round right to exist makes getting through the day easier.
Tobi is determined to get into those 36 waist jeans when he’s really a 34, but that hasn’t stopped him. So while he claims that he was the first guy to rock mustache wax west of the 405, his real fashion claim to fame is pioneering the male muffin top.
Jax’s real name is John, but he’s keeping that under wraps. Just like he also is hiding his trust fund and that he actually owns the house in Silverlake where he lives. Studied film at just about everywhere you can think of, he’s yet to finish editing that short but wants to make a doco about the skaters on Venice Boardwalk. Even though he’s never spoken to one of them and that doc’s been done three times in the last five years. Fancies himself a white Spike Lee.
Chad, Tobi, Jax and their mates are just one part of the equation.
On the other side we have the drivers; people such as Manuel, the gardener with a pickup truck held together by rope, packed with gardening equipment, usually seen driving in the fast lane at 60mph on the 105.
Then there’s Cyndi the actress from Indiana who’s rocking a 1992 Camry held together by rust who’s fond of talking on her handset to her agent/life coach/managers/boyfriend/acting coach/therapist/sponsor as she checks her rear vision mirror (to see her makeup) and runs her lines from the script lying next to her on the passenger seat for the audition that she’s running late for.
And of course, Suzie, the Brentwood housewife, who secretly knows she’s a crap driver so she’s rocking the biggest SUV that Ford make. When she’s not driving her loungeroom around town to drop off the kids at Montessori, she’s hopped up on Skinny Lattes from Starbucks and parking across two spots in the Fred Segal lot. She appreciates that she gets more stability from her Explorer than her marriage and hasn’t used a blinker since a week after she got her license when she was 16. Which she still maintains was in 1988. The license in question says different.
After we add a few more LA car bound characters and we are ready to let loose on the wide open roads of LA and watch the fun fly.
I’m thinking we just block off a tasty section of Wilshire near Downtown, set up the cameras on a few rooftops, a second unit on the ground and a few fixie and car cams and we are ready for action. I’m just freestyling here, but maybe we could even do a “Fast and the Fixiest” edition and get Michael Bay’s explosion people in to really add some spice. OMG, I love where this is going!
Then, sadlly, the pilot episode falls down when I realize that no matter how lawyered up our young bi-pedal heroes are, they are but bikes vs cars. And yes they might win the argument in court and a lot of sympathy, but that doesn’t get away from the fact that you’re still on two wheels but with a chair instead of a seat.
Seriously, fixie riders everywhere, it looks cool yes, but you have to share the road with other drivers who can’t even see other cars, let alone whatever statement you’re trying to make.
Get a helmet, get two brakes and for God’s sake, give your girlfriend back her jeans.