Sunday 28 February 2010

Glasgow FG / SS - Guest Article


Maintaining a fixie through a hard Glasgow winter is a hell of a lot easier than a geared bike, no question. So it’s no surprise that the cold and rainy mornings seem to do little to deter the burgeoning fixed gear collective that you can see speeding across town almost whenever you look in the centre of Glasgow. It’s hard to find that simple silhouette of a fixed gear bike with its simple geometry (and for the confident, brakeless) unappealing. Its success around bigger cities like London, San Francisco and New York is unsurprising. It seems like an obvious transgression to smaller cities like Glasgow. A bright idea by Andrew Leitch in 2008 to start a fixed gear forum ( that was unique to Glasgow has brought faces to bikes and regular rides out and around the city every week, as well as bike polo in car parks, primary school playgrounds and practically any space with a flat surface and perimeter. For a while new fixed riders were brought to the forum by word of mouth or through simple spoke cards (“Fixed or Single Let’s Just Mingle”), put in the wheels of new bikes spotted around town by existing members.


The Glasgow FGSS stickers, plastered on most fixed bikes have now made their way around Britain and even to Mont Ventoux, the most taxing climb stage of the Tour de France. Last year forum creator Andrew and friend Shaun Murphy organised the ‘Easter Weekender’ which attracted riders from the Edinburgh forum and further afield. Fixed gear enthusiasts and Couriers alike got together to compete in Alleycat, Hill Climb and Sprint events with bike shops and manufacturers donating prizes for the winners. It spoke volumes for the way that fixed gear riding has been embraced by the wider cycling community. Well, to some extent at least. It goes without saying that there are those who deny any longevity in the movement. The hipster tag that it attracts is difficult to shake, especially with the trends in fashion that have followed. Simply though, the practicality of courier clothing and bags makes it hard to label the trend for the style of fixed gear as just a faze. On the rare sunny days Glasgow is a stunning place to ride. It’s growing continually and this is something I don’t see stopping any time soon.


Words : Dom ML.

Photos : Alexander Martin.


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