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Rant Control

Nature of Jackasses

By Jesse Fruhwirth
Posted // February 3,2010 - City Weekly founder John Saltas told an anecdote of one speedy, rude bicyclist he didn’t see coming and who didn’t see him, either, nearly causing a collision at a crosswalk [See “Future Dead People,” Private Eye, Jan. 28]. Saltas said he senses a “growing number” of bicyclists rudely ignoring road rules, which drew both commiseration and criticism from online commenters.

Regular online commenters Hayduke and BlackMamba joined Saltas’ rant with talk of cyclist “self-importance” and “fixie-kid posers,” but online commenter debhenry wasn’t impressed. “Your article will serve to scare people from being on the road with these ‘rude cyclists’ and shift them back into their cars, damaging our air, and their health, even further. Maybe we’ll all soon be future dead people in the form of 37,000 vehicle fatalities each year, obesity, or from the worsening quality of the air in the valley.”

Saltas responded in comments that debhenry’s shift-back-to-cars claim is “silly.”

He added, “There are plenty of jackass [motor-vehicle] drivers to go around, too. … My hope is that law-abiding, normal, conscientious bike riders don’t gut-rally behind the jackasses just because each transports on two wheels.”

Online commenter Immamoniker, wrote that incidents like Saltas’ are due to “the general lack of awareness people seem to have for cyclists.” We all need to be aware of jackasses, after all; if we could trust them to follow the rules, they wouldn’t be jackasses. Similar to Saltas, Rant Control — who is not a cyclist — hopes pedestrians and motorists don’t “gut-rally” against cyclists just because each transports differently.

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Posted // February 3,2010 at 10:13

My comment regarding "fixie kid posers" was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. But I will say that this new generation of cyclists, who appear to use the gearless bike as a fashion statement more than anything, seem to be more oblivious to their surroundings than other riders. It may have something to do with the fact that many of them ride while texting or checking their phones. They look good, though. They really do.


Posted // February 5,2010 at 08:12 -

Pretty deep, Deb. Pretty deep.

I guess mindlessness is a good reason to ride fixies. Maybe the desire to not have to think encourages one to ride a bike that offers no options? It's like meditating on the move. As far as tackling a hill on a fixie, head up E Street in the Aves, or 8th South, and let me know how far you get before hopping off ;-)

Personally, I find that shifting before a hill is the way to go and have an easy time doing it. I don't find myself technically challened by the act of shifting gears, and I have no problem finding a gear that I am comfortable with without having to shift constantly. I keep my bike in good condition to ensure everything works properly and have never had an issue with missing a gear or not being able to hit one.

Fixies are great for flatlands. I used to ride a $15 one-gear cruiser in Florida - no brakes, no gears, no reason to have any as there are no hills to deal with. But I'm pretty sure many fixie kids out there in SLC are on those particular bikes because they're trendy, part of their hipster identity. Even good-looking, Indie hipsters are not immune to herd mentality.

Being forced to constantly move my legs, whether I want to or not, would annoy me; topping the one gear available out and wanting to go faster would annoy me; wanting to stop immediately and not being able to would suck. I don't think I'd find the serenity you experience while cruising a fixed gear; I think I'd toss it off a bridge, eventually. Good thing we all have choices in this matter.

I will say that I like hipster bike fashion better than lunchtime warrior fashion, which is to say, skinny jeans with a little ass crack showing instead of spandex and a wonderbread jersey.

Take care, Deb!


Posted // February 4,2010 at 16:14 -

I really liked my fixed gear in NYC. It's the simplest bike you can have, so the probability of something breaking or going wrong is that much lower. That's why all my bike messenger friends rode them. When you're dependent on a reliable bike for transportation, this is a significant consideration. Being on a fixed gear puts you in touch with the every movement of your bike by not having to wonder if a gear is going to change while you're climbing a hill etc. It becomes an extension of you. I notice I change gears a lot on my regular road bike, trying to find the perfect gear. When you're on a fixed gear you approach a problem straight-on as opposed to looking for an easy way out by changing gears. I would say it's a metaphor for life, but I'm already in over my head in this comment :)


Posted // February 4,2010 at 13:53 -

I have a dear friend that hails from Appleton. Don't know if that's near Madison, but good people seem to come from Wisconsin.

The crazy fixie thing started, I believe, in earnest, in Portland, OR. That is to say, people other than courier bikers began riding them, and the fashion has spread. Why, I don't know. No brakes for the most part, no friggin gears, no free hub...looks like crappola to me. In my opinion, SLC is always and forever a mere two or three years behind Portland in fashion, music and food. Without Portland, we'd never know cool.

Anyway, I love 10's and ride one myself. I like the big gears because I like going fast. I like the small gears because I like riding, rather than walking, my bike uphill. And, I like brakes. With a sexy beard like yours, you'd look killer on an old Schwinn. I think those bikes look great. Of course, you could go the other way, drop several thousand on a new bike, and look super sweet that way, too. I have a middle-of-the-road Trek Pilot and like it very much. But I don't look cool. Never have, never will.


Posted // February 4,2010 at 13:42 -

The fixie trend had not hit Madison, WI, before I moved from there to SLC in 2004. I don't understand the virtues of the fixed gear, and don't think I would want one in hilly SLC, but what I reaaaaaally don't understand is why the really fashionable, cool looking bikes are fixed gears. Can't I have a cool looking 10-speed?