Posted in communication and networking, engineering

Pimp my ride

Blogger Charlie Sorrel of Gadget Lab recently posted about what he calls five “inexplicable” trends happening right now surrounding the fixed-gear bicycle, or fixie.  As Sorrel describes them,

“If you took a swaying, brainless, gazelle-like catwalk model and turned her into a bike, a fixie is what you’d get.”

Having lived in hilly areas my entire bicycle-riding career, I don’t quite understand the appeal myself. My first bike was a fixed-gear, and I hated the backwards brakes when going down long hills. However, where I live in the Pacific Northwest, people seem to be taking to them and like them. My sister-in-law, a semi-pro snowboarder and all-in-all fit chick, “really digs” hers.

But that’s not either here nor there. The EXTRA gem that Sorrel is REALLY up in arms about is the fashion trends surrounding the fixie.

“No,” he says, “the riders have to take things even further and load up their rides with all manner of style-mandated extras.”

Here’s where we can agree to disagree. I say why not decorate your favorite mechanical mode of transportation. Add some flair to your function. Some mojo to your machine.

I will agree with his point about the cards in the spokes. Putting cards in between the spokes, as opposed to just clipping the cards to the frame so they “thwap” against the spokes, is a missed opportunity. I loved to experiment to see how many cards I could clip onto my frame without them interfering with the mechanics of the bike, and how fast I could go before they’d go flying off into the tall grass, never to be found again. Ah, what blissful summers I led…



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.