My fixed gear fascination started where so many places things in my life started, Portland Oregon. I probably haven’t spent more than a couple months total in that town, but it is my favorite place to vacation. I loved to walk around that town, especially southeast, and look at things. The houses, the sidewalks, the people. The bikes people were riding were amazing. Living in Boise, I had grown accustomed to the fact that anyone riding a bike with drop bars would be wearing skin tight neon colored body suits, and that kept me away from road bikes. The road bikes I would see at thrift stores or garage sales would be covered in levers and rusty cables and looked, in general, like hell. I had never seen past that like I did that first time in Portland.
I decided to take a walk in Portland, and get lost. I was on vacation, by myself, and it was a great idea. I saw places I never would of seen from a bus or cab or with my set-in-their-ways friends. I loved the bikes I saw, The ones with fancy lugs painted white and the rest of the tubes red. I didn’t know that fixed gear existed, I sure didn’t know how it worked. I tried to explain the amazing things I saw to my dad the next time I saw him, as if I went to some fairy land and was trying to explain dragons and unicorns.
The first single speed I had started life as a 1980’s 820 Trek mountain bike. I pulled off all the gears, levers, brakes, all that crap. I didn’t know I could spin the cassette off and put a bmx freewheel on, until I found Sheldon Browns website, so I rode it like a jackass for a while. After I put the freewheel on, I painted it metallic blue, and it was a thing of beauty. Someone stole it out of my backyard. Asshole.