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05/05/2009: "Fixing to Commute"
Rode off a little earlier than usual this morning for my Tuesday ride to South Pasadena--had a meeting with a web design client out there, a friend of Chuck's, and I needed to pick up some graphics and a check. So, I was out and about during the tail end of rush hour, which gave me a chance to carry out another informal eyeball survey of the State of Bicycle Commuting in Los Angeles.

It's completely unscientific, but I stand by it, as anyone riding purposefully down a banal street during the time of worst traffic in this crazy town is likely on the way to work, rather than on a recreational ride. (I'll make an exception for the ancient lady pedaling a shiny new cruiser with groceries peeking out of the panniers, but hell, she counts too, even if she wasn't headed to the office....)

And I saw a good number of bikes...fresh, clean bikes ridden by well-groomed, productive-looking folks-discretionary riders, not DUIs or the desperately poor.

Now, many of the poor and immigrant workers I've met are actually enthusiastic cyclists, but they are always used as data points by the motorheads who like to say that no one chooses to travel by bike, especially not to "high-class" jobs, so I focus on the office-drone types I see. And I did see them; I've been seeing more and more of them for three or so years now.

And what I've really been seeing more of is these guys and gals on fixed-gear and single-speed bikes.

I'd guess about three-fifths of the bikes I saw today (including that ancient lady's) sported but a single cog on the rear wheel. And they were all doing just fine in hilly, hot, chaotic Los Angeles.

Despite the scorn heaped on the fixie "fad" by the curmudgeons.

Fixies, as I wrote in a recent article, have a long history in bicycling, and make wonderful city bikes. And it's good to see the rest of LA voting with its feet, and hearts, for the simple liberty of fixed-wheel riding.

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