Christian Lander reported a while back that fixed gear bicycles are the rage among SWPLs. The picture headlining his post appears to be of the standard diamond-frame bicycle. I once saw one of these bicycles in an upper end bicycle shop listing for $900+.
Φ’s daily commute takes him through what this corner of the blogosphere would call a prole neighborhood. Not, I hasten to say, an underclass neighborhood: it’s racial composition is similar to Φ’s Lily-White Little Burg, and its median income is slightly higher than that of the state. But that’s still some $30K less than Φ-ville, with houses priced proportionately.
One of the things I’ve seen often enough to notice is what appear to be older teenagers (i.e. 14 y.o.+) riding fixed-gear children’s bicycles that look obviously too small for them.
Why would they do this? Even during the phase when Φ’s family was scrimping by, my parents still managed to spend $60 –$80 on a ten-speed for my 12th or 13th birthday. That’s in 1981 dollars. Today, you can go to Wal-Mart and for less than $100 get bicycles with features that in the early 90's (when Φ last paid attention to this kind of thing) could cost thousands of dollars. (Note that those features were typically attached to alloy, aluminum, or titanium frames rather than steel frames, but still.)
Is riding a too-small BMX bike some kind of young prole version of the fixie movement? Or are these young people really so poor that they can’t afford better?