Re: [messengers] Brake away bikes, Tapei

Date: 17 Jan 2011 07:08:20 +0100
From: Mike Donovan <bunfun2005@xxxxxxxxx>


this is a poular bike blog there :
http://fixedgeargirltaiwan.blogspot.com/

<http://fixedgeargirltaiwan.blogspot.com/>

On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 6:52 AM, Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Brake away bikes
>
>
>
> Transplanted from Japan
> and the US , fixed-gear
> biking has quickly grown to become a familiar sight in urban Taiwan
>
>
>
> By Ho Yi  /  Staff Reporter
>
>
>
> Tapei Times, January 13, 2010
>
>
>
>
>
> Many of Taipei ’s
> best-known cyclists gathered outside Ximen MRT Station on a recent Saturday
> night. Peng Wen-yan better known as A-bao, arrived with his team Skunk.
> Members
> of the Nabiis (www.nabiis.net), a pioneering fixed-gear bike group, looked
> agile in their professional outfits, while riders from BreakBrake 17 (
> breakbrake17.com)
> were in high spirits after winning the trick competition held outside
> Zhongshan
> Hall  earlier that day.
>
>
>
>
>
> Tension mounted as the designated time approached. “Ready,
> go!” a timekeeper shouted at 9pm sharp, beginning the third alleycat race
> organized by Beardude, (beardude.com), an online community for fixed-gear
> enthusiasts. More than 170 young cyclists wasted no time in blocking
> traffic on
>  Zhonghua Road
> and racing to the first station at the Bopiliao Historical Block in Wanhua
> District.
>
>
>
> Twenty-seven minutes later, the first racer dashed to the
> fifth and final checkpoint at Huashan 1914 Creative Park .
>
>
>
>
>
> Fixed-gear bicycles, or fixies for short, are a
> back-to-basics mode of transportation with one gear, one sprocket and one
> brake
> (if any). The vehicle’s rear cog is attached to the wheel, which means the
> pedals are synched with the wheel’s motion. In other words, if the bike is
> in
> motion, so are the pedals and the rider’s legs. Cyclists slow down or stop
> on a
> fixed-gear bicycle by resisting the turning pedals with their legs. A front
> brake could help, but many cyclists choose to ride without.
>
>
>
>
>
> With their streamlined design, fixies were ridden in the
> early days of the Tour de France and used for track racing on the
> velodrome.
> Then derailleurs and multiple gears came along and forced fixed-wheel
> cycling
> to the sidelines. Years later, fixies were adopted by bicycle messengers in
> New York City .
>
>
>
>
>
> It is hard to pinpoint when and how urbanite fixed-gear
> biking achieved its current hipster status in countries like Japan and the
> US,
> but it is commonly agreed that the trend took off in the past decade,
> complete
> with a utility-based street chic that encompasses skinny jeans (to avoid
> getting caught in the bike chain), narrow sneakers (to fit into the pedals)
> and
> large single-strap messenger bags. The 2007 documentary film Mash SF is
> said to
> set the benchmark for the street culture of fixed-gear cycling by capturing
> the
> adventures of bike messengers weaving through traffic, doing tricks and
> whooshing down the steep hills of San
>  Francisco .
>
>
>
>
>
> When riders such as A-bao and the Nabiis cyclists started
> weaving in and out of traffic on the streets of Taipei more than four years
> ago, fixed-gear
> bicycles were virtually unknown here. “When we first became interested in
> this
> type of bike, we couldn’t find components and frames at local shops or
> online
> emporiums. Bike store owners thought we were crazy to want to ride a
> bicycle
> without brakes,” said 26-year-old Hsieh Chia-cheng, cofounder of Nabiis.
>
>
>
>
>
> It didn’t take long before fixed-wheel fever took hold
> around the country. The population of fixie riders has swelled in the past
> couple years, and bike clubs and teams have proliferated in cities such as
> Taipei , Taichung , Tainan , Kaohsiung
> and Hualien.
>
>
>
>
>
> “You can determine the rise in popularity from the volume of
> online shopping for fixed-gear bicycles. About three years ago, you
> couldn’t
> find any entry online. A couple of years ago there were about 20 to 30
> pages of
> items to browse through, and the number jumped to 70 last year,” said Kenny
> Lai, owner of fixed-gear shop Calorie in the Ximen District
>
>
>
>
>
> Now fashion publications like GQ are writing about them, Japan ’s street
> fashion brand MSPC is selling the
> hip fixer-look to Taipei ’s
> scenesters in the capital’s East District
> and a young demographic has embraced fixed-wheel cycling.
>
>
>
>
>
> “People who were first attracted to fixies were more
> creative types like artists and designers. It wasn’t until one to two years
> ago
> that young people started jumping on the fixie wagon after reading about
> the
> trend in street fashion magazines like Bang and Cool,” said A-bao, who set
> up
> his fixie workshop Swirly Whirly in 2009.
>
>
>
>
>
> Fixed-gears may be trendy, but the enthusiast culture
> surrounding customized bikes means they are also valued as a means of
> expressing individualism.
>
>
>
>
>
> “I choose to ride fixies because I want to be different,”
> said 20-year-old Tseng Shih-hsiu from fixed-gear team Braised Pork
> Foot,(BPF),
> whose members are mostly musicians and designers. “There is no end to how
> unique you can make your ride, and the bike always reflects the personality
> of
> its rider.”
>
>
>
>
>
> Simplicity is another frequently mentioned attraction of
> fixed-gear bicycles, which have a clean, elegant look. Unlike geared
> bicycles,
> with their abundance of parts and accessories that can break, fixed-gear
> bikes
> require little more than a few drops of oil on the chain every once in a
> while.
>
>
>
>
>
> “Fixed-wheel is a return to a simpler time when no fancy
> accessories were needed. There is a sense of freedom in it, and you become
> a
> little boy again, just wanting to ride with friends and have fun,” novice
> biker
> Lo Tien-yi said.
>
>
>
>
>
> A host of fixed gear-related activities have sprung up in Taipei over the
> past two
> years. They range from alleycat races and trick competitions to bike polo
> games
> and social rides. Hosted by Nabiis, Friderday is a well-known event
> composed of
> cycling activities and games as well as large races. One recent effort to
> promote fixie riding is Pop 5, a get-together of riders who pedal around
> the
> city every Friday night. Lots of Vans, tight jeans and tattoos were in
> evidence
> at a recent edition of the weekly event that saw some 30 fixed-gear
> cyclists
> assembling outside the Sogo department store’s Fuxing branch on Zhongxiao
> East Road
> in Taipei .
>
>
>
>
>
> However, a mixed crowd is not a common sight, as each bike
> team has its own territory in the city. Members of BPF are sometimes
> sighted
> practicing tricks on the square in front of Taipei 101. The Nabiis team
> trains by cycling
> up the mountains in Waishuangxi on a weekly basis. Skunk, led by A-bao,
> maintains a presence in the Minsheng neighborhood across town.
>
>
>
> The riverside park under the Dazhi Bridge
> has become a favorite spot with riders from BreakBrake 17, a swanky
> fixed-gear
> shop near Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall The riverside area has recently been
> furnished with mobile toilets and extra lighting at night, thanks to the
> large
> crowds attending the nearby Taipei International Flora Exposition.
>
>
>
>
>
> Though the urban biking scene is dominated by males, Fixed
> Gear Girl Taiwan
> (FGGT, fixedgeargirltaiwan.blogspot.com) is undoubtedly the most
> noticeable and
> eye-catching team in town. The group was set up in June 2009 by several
> young
> female riders in the hope of encouraging more women to take up riding
> fixies.
> When these amiable lady bikers hang out and practice tricks outside
> Zhongshan
> Hall along with an all-male gang of BMX bikers, they chat about anything
> from
> how to match clothes with bicycles to the limited range of small frames for
> Asian women.
>
>
>
>
>
> But when it comes to business, competition is unavoidable.
> Both Lai of Calorie and Ken
>
>
>
>
>
> Su, owner of BreakBrake 17, point out that the past few
> years have seen great efforts made to capitalize on the fixed-gear trend as
> manufacturers, both new and established, rush to produce new frames and
> components.
>
>
>
>
>
> Since Taiwan has a strong bicycle-manufacturing base, it is
> not much of a surprise to see local fixed-gear brands such as Favor Bikes
> (favorbikes.com) and Steel Fixed Gear expanding their ranges, selling
> Made-in-Taiwan designs not only to riders at home but to cyclists in
> countries
> including China, Japan, Thailand, Australia and the US.
>
>
>
>
>
> “Skateboards and BMX bikes have developed in the West for
> over two decades, but it has only been a few years since fixed-gear
> bicycles
> took over the street. The way I see it, we stand a chance of taking
> Taiwanese
> designs to a global market,” the 32-year-old Lai said.
>
> Cyclists and extreme-sports enthusiasts are drawn to the two
> wheelers, Lai said, because fixies enjoy a variety of advantages over other
> bikes: “You can simply ride them, go airborne or do tricks.”
>
>
>
>
>
> Gen Tsuchihashi, a Japanese messenger who rode for By-Q for
> five years in Tokyo before setting up the
> courier company Prodorapid (www.prodorapid.com.tw) in Taipei ,
> said that when he worked as a messenger in 2005, the majority of Tokyo
> urbanites didn’t
> know about fixed-gear bikes. “But now they’re everywhere,” he said. “The
> fixed-gear craze is a global phenomenon.”
>
>
>
>
>
> And what do enthusiasts who identify themselves with the
> messenger culture and regard themselves as skilled riders think of
> trend-chasing kids riding fixed-gears with bulky frames in crazy colors?
>
>
>
> “It’s all good as long as people are having fun,” A-bao
> said.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Mess media - http://www.messmedia.org/ Bryant Watch -
> http://bryantwatch.wordpress.com/
> ===========================================
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Messengers mailing list
> Messengers@xxxxxxxxx
> http://ifbma.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/messengers