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My interpretation of this study: Loving your car too much turns you into a misanthrope.
Jym Dyer's profile photoNoah Axon's profile photoRichard Masoner's profile photoJohn Bump's profile photo
I think it's all tribal. They don't think we belong there and we're fighting for our right to be there.
Two recent deaths in Seattle were young people on fixies. Police reports didn't indicate that they, "couldn't stop in time without brakes," but you can draw your own conclusion.
King County gets two traffic fatalities every single week. It's routine.

I mentioned on Matt's profile that I'm much more of a jerk when on the crabon fast bike than on the old rusty Schwinn, but I'm still much less likely to kill somebody. When I ride fixed, I'm generally less aggressive (risk compensation in reverse: less control of the bike = slower cycling for equivalent risk).

We had a brakeless fixed rider in Santa Cruz eat it when he apparently rear ended a FedEx truck a few years ago. Deaths are rare but it happens:
I was at a product launch once and the company showed us new fixies and touted the fact that they were shipping without brakes and I said, "are you fucking serious?" You're going to put brakeless bikes into the hands of consumers? Isn't there a CPSC rule against that and if there isn't you should get sued into never doing that again.
Bicycles as a product are regulated at the Federal level through CPSC regulations. Many fixed gear bikes are specifically exempted from a number of these regulations.

You probably know too that a lot of smaller vendors fly under the radar and skirt the requirements entirely.
Think back to when you were 18 and invulnerable. Can you still access the mentality that allowed you to do some of the things you did then?
I think another way of looking at this is that misanthropes and anti-social people may get much more into cars than, say, bowling, and as such may act much crappier to their fellow humans using said cars.
Fixies do stop when you pedal backwards, just like with coaster brakes only much, much harder.

But to get back to the original topic, I don't think car-identification is tribal, exactly, because cars inherently compartmentalize us from others. Various workarounds such as brand identification (or having a bootlegged Calvin peeing on a rival brand) are hollow attempts at tribalism, as is texting while driving.
Um, yeah, I've actually stopped fixies by pedaling backwards, so I think I've got that figured out. I should think the "much, much harder" qualifier comes into play there.

I really don't get the whole "ZOMG the fixie-riders are crazed lunatics who can only stop by crashing into widows and orphans" thing, it kind of beggars belief. Kind of like the "ZOMG the scorchers are running over babies frightening the horses" thing of the late 19th Century. (One of the greatest crimes of scorchers was coasting instead of riding fixed, go figure. There were laws against coasting.)

You know what's really hard to stop? A penny-farthing. ZOMG, those Ordinaries kill everyone in their path ...
Well, time for me to get all aggro while I ride my hot deep dish fixed gear bike through Santa Cruz and mow down a few old ladies, children, banana slugs and sea otters. I'll take out the "SANTA CRUZ CITY LIMITS NUCLEAR FREE ZONE" sign while I'm at it before I wreak havoc at #occupysantacruz. Wish me luck! #scorchers
Oh wait, I'm doing it wrong. I have brakes on my bikes.
I must be strange. I absolutely love my cars and my bikes. I love wrenching on them. I love making them better (faster, more efficient, etc). I do love going fast, too, although I'm fat and it doesn't work too well on my bikes unless I'm going down a steep hill. I don't think I drive too aggressively, but I'm prone to speed, especially on interstate highways when there's not much traffic. I don't have to beat everyone. I prefer to find someone that's driving fast (without being too much of a @**HOLE) and follow their lead by a half mile or so. I let them hash out stop lights and traffic irregularities for me so I can keep a consistent speed. And if everyone is going under the speed limit? No worries. I'm fine with that. Traffic is traffic.

I love keeping up with stop-and-go on my bike, though. It's funny to see all the cars gun it to the next stop light, only to have me end up right there with them, block after block.
As for fixed gear, I am a fat IT nerd that has a 6 mile commute on mostly-friendly suburban roads. Most of my ride is flat, as it's right along some railroad tracks. I had a fixie out for review (the Wabi Special) and I absolutely loved it. I tried it with clipless and with platforms. I much preferred clipless. It had brakes. Sometimes I used them, but a lot of times I didn't. It was, hands down, the smoothest bike I'd ever ridden, and fixed gear taught me a lot about pedaling form, bicycle handling, and patience in those 6 weeks than several years of singlespeed and geary riding ever did.
Fixed works well for the flat parts of Silicon Valley too. The only real hills along the Bay are highway overpasses.

The only real reason I ever owned a fixed gear bike was because I previously lived in snow country and I got absolutely sick of non-working brakes and gears because of iced up cables. In a cathartic fit I ripped off derailleurs and cables and levers and replaced the rear wheel. It felt wonderful.
I know you were totally looking forwards to this huge adventure, Richard, and are really sad to be missing it, but, well, them's the brakes.
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