The Chainlink

If you happen to recognize the man in the pictures above, please share this post with him.

Major takeaways for him:

1) It's never appropriate to call a woman a b**** or a c***

2) Moving from the bike lane to the car lane to access a turn lane is totally acceptable behavior

3) Conflicts between cyclists can often be avoided by use of a bell or an announcement of your presence. "On your left!" is a useful phrase.

Longer version: As I was riding west on Harrison at Desplaines this evening (6/22) I was passed unannounced by this guy. As we proceeded to Halsted, he began to overtake a young woman as she signaled and moved from the PBL to the turn lane. He freaked out, rode across the street, hopped off his bike, and began screaming threats and slurs to her.

He then remounted, rode south on the Halsted sidewalk, and locked up his bike at the UIC student center. If you know him, please intervene with him. He clearly needs lessons in respecting women and cycling etiquette. 


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The bent frame of his brakeless fixie speaks volumes...

If we are not allowed to make unkind generalizations here based on the lycra/spandex "kit", or road bikes totally unsuited to urban riding, then it should work both ways and we should not disrespect brakeless fixie riders either based on their choice of bike or gear.

That said, this guy definitely seems like a jerk who needs some serious enlightenment.

What road bike is more unsuited to urban riding than a brakeless fixie? Even a tri bike with aero bars (arguably not a 'road bike') is infinitely more suitable for urban riding than a bike without brakes. 

I was not comparing the suitability of a no-brake fixie to a road bike for urban riding. Both are non-ideal for different reasons.

A road bike may not be ideal for riding around downtown Copenhagen but that's hardly Chicago. I would say a road bike is actually the ideal urban bike in most (relatively sprawling) North American cities for anyone with a commute over a few miles. 

Never said which volumes were spoken...

But, okay, here you go:


No brakes.

Flat pedals; non-clipped, non-cleated.

Therefore, very hard to manoeuver  in a pinch. So, yeah, he freaked out when someone moved across him and verbally lost it. He maybe not have been paying a lot of attention at the time, and he didn't announce his passing- a breech of courtesy at best. Easy to see how his bike got bent.

This rider is not only a hothead, but his machine and the way he rides it is a clear and present danger to himself and others.

i don't care how skilled a bike handler someone thinks they may be, someone riding fixed-no-brakes in traffic is a menace.

Okay, so yeah, i'm judging him. Sue me.

Agreed. I can maybe see a case for why someone would want to ride a track bike on the street (still questionable) but without foot retention it's just madness.

There's no such thing as a track bike without foot retention. It wouldn't be safe in a velodrome and it's certainly not safe on the street.

Exactly. i actually like riding fixed on the streets, but my old track bike is fitted with brakes front and rear. i could go on about what constitutes a "real" track bike (foot retention being a major requirement.)

The other side of the coin, of course, is a freewheeled bike or a bike with brakes is a menace on a velodrome when ridden mixed in with proper track bikes.

i used to say that track racing on a velodrome was much safer than road racing. In the road race, everyone in the pack has brakes and uses them.


Apologies to the OP for dragging this discussion off-topic.

Given his  behavior there is no need to extrapolate from his look and  from his machine. No need to judge the book by the  cover when  opening it  up and  reading  the text reveals at best a young man who seriously needs to  grow up and  more likely is simply a self absorbed creep with impulse control issues and a lack  of respect for  women, other  riders and  perhaps all of humanity. Sorry you and  the other  rider had to put up with  him but glad he was an annoyance rather than  a danger at  least  for Thursday.

 I disagree with your assessment. There are two points of evidence. The words of the "OP" and the photos. Without a conflicting argument and without really knowing the person I don't see how you can judge him like you do. However you mention "danger" and I think a brake-less bike is something that rational people can make a fair judgment about. Fixie riders will disagree but there seems no argument other than "style" one can make in support of a brake-less bike. I know that the action of a fixie can reduce the speed of a bike and that is a "braking action" but it is not a brake "device". I have not been won over by that argument. I think the "sex appeal" of the fixie is absolutely the fact that it is "dangerous"

I understand your point that  by it's very nature a brake-less  fixie is  a danger.  I  cannot  dispute that.  my point is that I am loathe to make any other judgments about the  person simply based upon the fact that he is riding that machine. I  certainly am not  defending the  person who the OP clearly described negatively by his actions and not by his look. I  simply have a hard time leaping from  an observation to other assumptions.  In my mind that is the slippery slope that  can  lead to judgments about one's  color, one's clothing,one's age, in my youth the length of one's hair,  in other threads on this forum,  the type of bikeware etc. All that being said,  I  cannot disagree with you about the danger of riding any bike that  has no brakes.  Is the guy in the picture,  solely based on  the picture,  and solely based on the brake-less fixie,  a  danger on  the road? Perhaps.  Is he all the other things we might attribute to him?  Well,  based on the OP's description yes, but  based on the  bike...I'm not going there.  You are  and  you are  entitled to do so.

Plus, the earbuds.

All fair equipment for some trail riding, perhaps- excepting the LFT.

But I wouldn't be in traffic outfitted like that for all the beer in Milwaukee.



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