The debate between columnist Maynard Hershon and editor Ben Delaney. Hershon, generally known as an advocate of law-abiding behavior, takes the con position:
You cringe when you see them blowing by pedestrians on sidewalks, and running stop signs. It's not that they're so much different from other problem cyclists, but there are lots of them and they're visible. You hope they don't provoke more anti-cyclist sentiment from the public.
Delaney takes the promoting-bike-culture perspective:
At the Tour of California's San Francisco prologue last year, I ended up chatting course-side with some guys who were leaned up against their fixed-gear bikes. They were in street clothes, smoking cigarettes. They were psyched about the race, and the speeds at which the riders were tackling the hills. They knew what it felt like to pedal around San Francisco. Who knows if they'll ever buy a geared machine and pin on a race number? If they're riding fixed to the bar to talk up the race, I say score one for bike culture.
Middle-aged people in the Midwest* are now aware of the craze for fixed-gear bikes. We hope this means that we'll soon find the track bike of our dreams for next to nothing at a Mission sidewalk sale. That phrase of Hershon's -- problem cyclist -- brings out the delinquent in us.
* The Midwest is here defined as we once heard Bucky Sinister define it: that vast swath that begins at the easternmost BART stop (Pittsburg/Bay Point) and ends at the PATH station in Newark, New Jersey.