look, ma, no brakes!    Fixed bike culture is a successor to surfing, from 50 years ago, and skating, from 25 years ago. Nowadays, as soon as something is marked as underground it runs the danger of becoming first fashionable and, then, an object of mass consumption. What we like about fixed bike culture is: they're not ecological hippies; they're not sustainable development obsessed representatives; they're not daddy's girls who ride Dutch bicycles as fashion accessories. No. This movement, as well as not being any of the above and being a means of transport, calls for anarchy in urban areas. Their philosophy is in favour of breaking traffic laws and norms and going wherever they want, however they want, on their bikes. And they do everything in a humorous, provocative way. An example of this is the Black Label bike band, who copy Hell's Angels' look and paraphernalia. Nowadays, the fixed bike movement isn't limited to messengers. Lots of different types of people have joined in. The movement has spread from New York to the world and has started to gain strength in England and the Netherlands. Ecological, anarchistic, aesthetic reasons ... they're all valid. In this sense, the movement's completely free. It proclaims a special, particular way of getting together and understanding the city, with no leaders, norms or obligations.

Fixed bike culture was born on the streets of New York. It all started when young bike messengers started adapting and customizing their daily work tool and means of transport. Fixed bikes are based on the bikes used in velodromes. They don't have brakes on the handlebars. You brake by pedaling backwards. And from then on, everyone puts their bike together as they wish. The trick is to achieve the cleanest, simplest bicycle possible. They're very simple looking bikes, but their parts are very special. These bicycles, which combine features from race and street bikes, can be very expensive if the parts are made to specific measurements and with special characteristics. But, to be honest, we really don't care about these “bicycles” that can cost up to 10,000 dollars. At the end of the day, the people who can afford to buy these bicycles aren't normally the young people who ride bikes around our cities. What we're particularly interested in is the call to anarchy and disobedience associated with fixed bikes. You can see this type of culture in the fixed bike world in the same way that everything is connected with something polemical nowadays. To what extent is it a "real" culture? Is is just something that appears in “trendy” magazines?

In spite of what's often thought, this fixed culture is deeply rooted in New York. When Madison Square Garden was built at the end of the 19th century, it included a velodrome. For decades the races held there were hugely popular in the city. During the Depression, in the 30's, the velodrome had to be closed as people weren't placing bets anymore. There were more and more cars in the streets, and bikes found their real use. It was often quicker to go from one place to another on two wheels rather than in a big car. And so bike messenger companies were born. In the 80's, thanks to films and the media, two-wheel messengers began to be classified as an urban tribe.