Think Fixed Gear Bicycles or Fixie Bikes and many people will immediately relate to hipsters and New York Street Messengers riding these uber clean and sleek looking brakeless bicycles. The reawakening of the Fixed Gear Crit Racing trend was restarted by messenger riders participating in the inaugural Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn, New York back in 2008. Like the infamous Alley Cat events by messengers, these Fixed Gear crits’ attempts to re-awaken street racing and kickstarted the Fixed Gear Bike trend to reach its peak and spread across to Shanghai, via Europe and San Francisco and now the popularisation of the new fixed gear bikes is synonymous with hipsterism.
So… what exactly is a Fixed Gear Bicycle?
A Fixed Gear Bike is a single-speed bike with a fixed gear, also known as a Track Bike, that does not allow its rider to “coast”, meaning that once the rider starts pedalling, he will not be able to stop pedalling to roll or “coast” downslope or rest his legs. These bikes typically have no brakes, and the rider will need to resist the forward motion of the pedals to slow down. Requiring good bike handling skills, these technical challenges of riding a Fixed Gear Bike makes it more appealing and attractive to hipsters as it puts them above the riding skills of their mainstream counterparts.
Here in Singapore, the fixie subculture has since taken off in the last couple of years, with many shops specialising in building and customising fixed gear bikes sprouting up all over the island.
Fishtail Cyclery, a bespoke bicycle company which retails independent bicycle brands such as Dosnoventa, Cinelli, Cimellia, Constantine, Argon 18, Bike Punk, Ingria, Knife and Grun. The good guys at Fishtail Cyclery build fixed gear bicycles from scratch, right down to the wheels, as well as bike servicing. Framesets are tailored according to your specified size, colour and components all according to your budget or taste. The word "Fishtail" is not to be confused with the anatomy of a fish: to them, the word "Fishtail" draws inspiration from the patterns created by the skillful side-skid stopping of a fixed gear bicycle.
Besides being a Singapore-based bicycle shop with a focus on building bicycles which are both good-looking and functional, Fishtail Cyclery aims to raise awareness and help foster vibrancy within the fixed gear cycling community of Singapore and the South East Asian region.
Fishtail Cyclery, together with Singaporean bicycle frame manufacturer, was the first to send a team of riders to compete in the world’s premier track bike event. Fishtail Cyclery has plans for sponsorship for upcoming crits, including the major Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn. Helmed by Roy, whom also participated in the Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn, New York, they also specialise in organizing fixed gear bicycle-related activites, ranging from visits to globally acclaimed track events to night supper rides. Through fixed gear cycling, Fishtail Cyclery also hope to inspire youths, providing them experiences that will help develop character - a refreshing change from the confines of the classroom.
Cycling is environmentally friendly, and that also means riding fixies are a great way of commuting. Being relatively uncommon (compared to other road / folding bike commutes) it is no doubt that hipsters swear by them. Besides being simple to use and maintain, these bikes are light-weight and are worth every Instagram opportunity as well. Park it outside a cool café during weekend brunches, or explore the rustic urban areas of Holland Village or the rail corridor, the bike will definitely put a smile across your face each time you take a photo.