Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 26th, 2008 at 9:36 am
Portland’s urban fixed-gear scene is on a roll. A new fixed-gear website has been launched and two upcoming events are testament to the growing community of riders who enjoy the challenges and thrills of riding track bikes in the city.
Alex Kroman announced the debut of PDXFixed.com yesterday. He says he created the site to, “unite the different groups of fixed gear riders in Portland and give them a place to congregate, talk about bikes, and plan group rides.” Kroman says fixed-gear riding is on the rise in Portland and that, “it’s hard to pass a bike rack in this city without seeing at least one fixie locked up to it.”
PDXFixed.com is discussion forum where registered users can post messages and other users can add comments. The topics can be viewed by anyone but you’ve got register in order to post. Current discussions range from advice on what type of gearing is best to use around Portland to how to improve climbing skills (ever do Mt. Tabor on fixie?) and information on upcoming events.
Hugh Nixon, manager of 21st Avenue Bicycles in Northwest Portland says his shop is seeing an uptick in fixed-gear business. “We’re seeing more and more of these kids coming in and they’re getting a fixie for no other reason than to do barspins and fixed-gear freestyle type riding. It’s not my cup of tea, but I think it’s great…they’re good kids.”
I met a few fixed-gear freestylers on the Eastbank Esplanade yesterday. They told me about an event they’re putting together this Friday (3/28) — The Portland Massacre. One of the organizers, Ben Ficklin says he hopes to turn the last Saturday of every month into “Radderday” and hold fixed-gear events on a regular basis.
More info here
The new Radderday blog says, “This is intended to be a fun event with no limits or expectations for anybody who wants to hangout, and an opportunity for fixed gear cyclists to kick ass and compete.”
Ficklin says he starting riding fixies just for fun, but liked it so much he got more serious and now wants to get others involved. Ficklin — and his friends Lucas Norris and Raymond Flores who accompanied him for an impromptu session on the Esplanade yesterday — say they like urban and trick-riding and they also like to participate in races (sometimes called alley-cats).
Other facets of urban fixed-gear riding include competitions like “footdown”, where riders try to out-balance one another, and “best skid”, where riders are judged on the length and style of a skid (and this is often the result).
Another event for the fixed-gear crowd is coming to Portland in April; a screening of the new fixed-gear riding film, Mash. Organizers of that event have planned the “Mash2Mash” race and competitions to coincide with the showing. You can download a flyer for the event here.
In addition to urban racing and trick-riding, many Portlanders like to ride and race fixed gears in more traditional settings. The fabled Mt. Tabor Race Series features a special fixed-gear class and local riding legend David Auker leads a fixed-gear group ride from River City Bicycles on Sunday mornings from January through the end of February.