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Fixed Gear Bikes

From: Jonathan Menjivar
Length: 03:28

An exploration of the bicycle and why sometimes simpler is better. Read the full description.

Fgbikenazhamid_small If you've spent any time in a city in the last five years, you've probably seen a fixed gear bike. Popularized by bike messengers, the fixed gear bike strips down the modern bicycle to its origins. With only one gear, often no brakes, and no freewheel, the mechanism that allows a bicycle to coast, fixed gear bikes offer what some riders say is a closer connection to the road. In this piece, Chicago graphic designer and fixed gear enthusiast Naz Hamid (NAHZ  HAH-mihd) explains how a bicycle works...and why he loves to ride its most basic model. Originally aired on Studio 360 July 1, 2005.

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Piece Description

If you've spent any time in a city in the last five years, you've probably seen a fixed gear bike. Popularized by bike messengers, the fixed gear bike strips down the modern bicycle to its origins. With only one gear, often no brakes, and no freewheel, the mechanism that allows a bicycle to coast, fixed gear bikes offer what some riders say is a closer connection to the road. In this piece, Chicago graphic designer and fixed gear enthusiast Naz Hamid (NAHZ  HAH-mihd) explains how a bicycle works...and why he loves to ride its most basic model. Originally aired on Studio 360 July 1, 2005.

2 Comments Atom Feed

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Review of Fixed Gear Bikes

Great piece! I think the explanation of how "fixies" work was very easy to understand, and quite informative. This piece is a cool way to introduce people to the idea of fixed-gear bicycles.

I loved the bike sounds! The only thing I would change would be the music. I feel like the piece could stand on its own with just the voice and the sounds of the bike.

Well done.

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Review of Fixed Gear Bikes

The narrator clearly loves the subject matter, and in turn makes the fixed gear bike sound attractive, simple, and beautiful. The bike sounds reside in harmony with the vocals. I could have gone without the conventional music at the end. The gear recordings were meditative and really effective on their own.

Broadcast History

Originally aired on Studio 360 July 1, 2005.

Transcript

Most bikes have uh…two shifters. Essentially what it does is it just shifts the chain to cover all the different permutations of the gears.

Typically on an older bike, like a 10 speed, there’s two chainlings up front so there’s a big one and a smaller one. And on the back, there’s um, five, what you call cogs or a sprocket. So, how it works is, the bigger the chainling up front and the smaller the cog in the back, the harder the gear is.

The fixed gear, it’s a very simple machine. It doesn’t have any gears, except one, and that gear is the gear that you’re always in. It’s like when you were a kid and you had the little big wheel…in essence that was a fixed gear because when you turned the pedals the big wheel would go, and when you stopped it wouldn’t go.

This is, I guess this is my newest bike. This is basically a track frame. And uh…it has a much steeper and tighter geometry...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

Piece Title: Fixed Gear Bikes
Piece Length: 3 min., 28 sec.
Rundown:
00:00:00 Piece (3:00)
00:03:00 Closing Music (:28)

Musical Works

-Sam Prekop/A Cloud to the Back/Sam Prekop/Thrill Jockey
-Nobukazu Takemura/Stair in Stars/Hoshi No Koe/Thrill Jockey
-Neu!/Hallogallo/Neu 1/Astralwerks
-The Flying Burrito Brothers/Wheels/Hot Burritos! The Flying Burrito Brothers Anthology 1969-1972/A&M Records

Related Website

http://www.weightshift.com/work/dirty_chicago_crew/