It seemed that every corner I turned showed me a new group of cyclists--some together by intent, some by random chance--and a variety of old and new bikes, and old and new riders. To wit:
- Several women--said to be an "indicator species" for bike-friendly cities: a lean, fiftyish matron riding an ancient Raleigh mixte into Hancock Park, a stereotypically cute blonde woman-next-door type manouvering an MTB into the other end of snooty Hancock Park, and an intense thirtysomething gal riding down the cracked and narrow lanes of busy Beverly boulevard on some kind of Surly with an expensive, single pannier.
- The usual White Male Hipsters, but only a couple, as they're actually a minority here in LA.
- Lots of Latino kids on neon fixies. Yeah, it's popular to scorn the ready-made fixie, but it's getting kids who are at the age when they would be abandoning their BMX bikes for their first cars to commit themselves to cycling. These bikes, cheap though they can be, still cost at least twice what a used BMX costs, or what a department-store MTB would cost brand-new, so they're buying and riding them because they want to, not because they have to.
- Black and Korean kids ditto--lots of them riding, most of them on neon fixies.
Of course, I was on one of my fixies myself, and Chuck had ridden up to Buster's on his keirin bike.
So I guess what I'm saying is, Enough with knocking the fixie fashionistas and their bikes--those bikes have gotten more folks pedaling for transport than anything else since the '70s Gas Crisis.
For more about fixies in the city, read my little article, "Alpha and Omega: a Fixed-Gear Primer."