Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user Dave Kleinschmidt

“Dear PoP,

I’ve recently gotten back into cycling and have noticed a lot of bike riders cruising around on bikes with a fixed gear, meaning that there are no shifters, derailleurs, etc. Aside from the looking kind of cool, I am wondering if there are non-aesthetic advantages of removing the gearing from a bicycle. Don’t hills present a problem? And why not just buy a bike with multiple gears and never change the shift position? And from what I have seen at local bike shops, fixies are no cheaper than a bike with 10+ gears. I’ve been told that the indefinable “hipsters” often ride them, but I don’t want to see the discussion devolve into another discussion of the “h-word”. Rather, simply why ride a bike with only one gear?”

I don’t know if this is going to be possible without discussing the “h-word”, I hope I’m wrong – but for those who like to ride fixed gear bikes – can you explain the appeal?


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