BMX + after
i grew up riding bmx bikes like a lot of other kids. as i grew older i tried other kinds of bike, but i was still strongly drawn to bmx. i liked the simplicity, ruggedness, versatility, fixability & all-out fun of those great 20" bikes. i think bmx gave me a singlespeed mentality long before 'singlespeed' was the buzzword that it is today.
as the years went by, i acquired many different bikes. but in the end i always found myself stripping them of their derailleurs, shifters, cables - even brakes! - because of lack of parts or proper tools or money or sometimes just out of sheer boredom. i remember wondering why a 'mountain bike' couldn't be more like a bmx... my mtb was a great size & the geometry was perfect for flying down tight trails. in fact it was a good deal more rideable than the famed 26" bmx bikes of old!
i started making my old mtbs into singlespeeds. after some years of riding without gears & meeting & talking with other gearless riders i became more familiar with the concept of fixed gear. perhaps if i had grown up near a velodrome or in one of the big cities boasting hoardes of bike messengers this would have all come to me sooner than later... oh well...
here we are now. i've ridden singlespeed bikes for quite some time...i have some (i do stress *some*) technical knowhow, i have a few bikes to experiment on & i'm ready. i started building an old stratoflight touring bike into a fixed gear... but then one day while browsing for bikes in the local thrift shop i happened upon a sad, rusty, beaten up beach cruiser & i was inspired.
i stripped the fenders and chainguard, swapped out the coaster rear wheel for a *found* falcon wheel, built on some old redline bmx cranks & a bmx chainwheel, topped it all off with an old viscount seat & - my favorite! - toe straps fashioned out of bmx chain. for $20 i have a super sweet fixed cruiser with a new lease on life.
so far i have ridden this bike quite a bit and i am enjoying it thoroughly. i am looking forward to getting a large wald delivery basket for the front for my groceries.
as much as i like checking out the bikes @ fixedgeargallery.com & 63xc.com's rides section, i love the idea the fixed gear doesn't have to live up to any preconceived notions & that it really can be accessible for everybody... i think you have all done a great job of promoting this feeling.
thank you! adam