FIXIE GC X Courier Mail
Bennett Rust [user: Designjerk]
THE latest bike craze to take off will be impossible to put the brakes on.
Fixed bike riding, where the fearless use no braking devices and must continually pedal, is being fuelled by a documentary on You Tube which shows the thrills of riding down the hills of San Francisco.
Fixies have finally reached Australia’s busiest cities as a form of transport and their hub in Queensland is the Gold Coast where 22-year-old graphic designer Bennett Rust began building a website on the recreational sport two years ago.
“We are getting 12,000 hits a month on the internet. We have about 10 to 15 people on a regular social ride and 30 to 40 at organised events,” Mr Rust said.
While the trend has taken off, it is not an easy one to hop on board.
“A lot of people jump on a trend and hype it up. We’ve just coined a term - and that’s “just pedal”. That’s the zen of it for us,” Mr Rust said.
“It’s much like the skateboard craze a few years ago. A lot of people want to be skateboarders but only a few can do it.”
The trick on riding a free-wheeler bike which lacks gears is not coasting and pedalling faster, even when you are going downhill. And braking involves sliding your bike into a skid so as not to scrape your knees.
Couriers or messengers use the old-style bikes in the cities to deliver parcels, racing past congested traffic and pedestrians.
“You have to teach yourself how to pedal again. Sometimes it can get a bit hairy and bit risky,” Mr Rust said.
Gary Perrin, a sales mechanic at the 25-year-old Mermaid Beach-based family business Mike’s Bikes, has tracked the trend of fixies which cost at least $500.
“There’s growing niche market. It’s quite popular. Most of the riders are between their early 20s and mid-30s,” Mr Perrin said.
“I think people want to ride something that gives them a bit of a thrill. They’re riding around without no brakes. These things aren’t easy to ride.”