not a fixie in sight

this little blogger has now moved from Melbourne to Maastricht.

among the many difference that exist between the two cities and bicyle cultures, it is interesting to note the absence of the fashionable fixie.

perhaps it is because there isn't a bicycle courier company here?

or is it something else?

i suspect that people with fixies in melbourne - in part - like to distinguish themselves from the mainstream population by not only riding a bike, but riding one that is obviously personalised and expressive... these two features of the fixie help create a social distance from the "mainstream" (read: boring and conformist etc) and a fashionable, individualistic, clique (read: interesting, edgy, cool etc.)

perhaps, because bicycles are so ubiquitous in the netherlands, riding one without gears, painted "unique" colours does not generate enough distance between the subculture and mainstream?

i wonder too what the couriers and trendsetters will be making of the bicycle companies now mass producing single speeds, that in turn make it far easier for the "mainstream" to access?


Girl's bike! (sexism and stereotypes on bikes)

I ride a step through, Dutch bike (Gazelle). (If it wasn't actually a made by a Dutch company, it would probably be marketed in Australia as a "Dutch style" bicycle... I'm not sure how bicycle manufacturers from other countries that also make step-through models would feel about this, but can imagine... great work obviously by some Dutch marketing whizz.)

Every now and again, a person will yell at me to the effect of "girl's bike!"

It is intended as an insult.

Like homophobic abuse, abuse derived from sexist or misogynistic notions, isn't based on logic.

Abuse or comments to that effect did get me thinking about the perceived, gendered notions of what is a "girls/lady's bike" compared with a "boy's/men's" bike.

The simplest distinction that is usually made is whether or not the bike has a crossbar (regardless of whether the rider really needs that extra strength and stability from the frame).

Does a woman riding a bike with a crossbar own/ride a "man's" bike?
Is a man riding a step through bike riding/owning a "lady's" bike?

What about a man riding a man's bike, but with traditionally "feminine" colours (e.g. pink)?

Perhaps I'm biased, but I don't really think it matters...

However, there's no doubting which kind of bikes these police ride...

I can understand why they might want a "man's"/mountain bike for the job they're doing, but wouldn't they be better off using some slightly thinner tyres? Perhaps even do without the suspension? Both minor changes would help them go faster (another stereotypically masculine trait) and hence catch "bad guys" whoever they might be...

So much more could be written about stereotypes... but now is not the time or place...

Ride on.