In this our modern age where Gen X and Gen Y fight over aesthetic and street credibility (hint: Gen Y wins, but only because they have youth on their side), fixed gear bicycles have typically signified the presence of a hipster during this war. What is a fixed gear bike, you ask? Well, a "fixe" will only allow a cyclist to ride using a single gear and the only way to brake the bike is to pedal backwards to skid the bike to a stop. They're also more pleasing to the eye than, say, a Schwinn ten-speed—is that still a thing?—which could be the main reason why so many young chic freaks enjoy riding the dangerous yet unfairly maligned bike.
Thus, fixie equal hipster. Right? Well, that might no longer be the case.
Enter Priceonomics. They recently measured what kinds of bikes people use in which cities. In an effort to build a price guide for their stock, they measured "what kind of used bikes people are trying to sell and the quantity sold in any city." Using 1.3 million bicycle listings, the came up with the markets for the largest fixie population. And that location would be Orange County, California.
Before we ran the numbers, we were pretty sure the answer would be Portland. San Franciscans (which we are) take a particular delight in being weird, but not being quite as weird as the people from Portland. This seemed like a great opportunity to point out “hey we like these impractical but cool bikes in San Francisco, but we haven’t taken it too far like those misguided folks out in Portland.”
Unfortunately the data did not comply with our desire to tease the people of Portland. In fact, we were shocked to learn that Southern California is the epicenter of the fixie community and that San Francisco is the fourth most popular area for fixed gear bikes. By the fixie metric, it appears that Portland is about as hipster as khaki pants and a blue button down.
Southern California also tends to refer to these bikes as “fixies” while the rest of the country tends to use the less silly term “fixed gear bike” instead. Are Orange County and Manhattan actually bastions of hipsterdom? If not, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate whether fixie-affinity should be part of the hipster stereotype.
Heh, nice shot at Portland.
Allentown, Pennsylvania proved the least hipster place in America, according to their nationwide fixie data. Also, now whenever we see a fixie whizz past us on Valencia Street, we will forever think of and then hum the (excellent) theme song to Laguna Beach.
But fret not, San Francisco, for all is not lost. Priceonomics' data concluded that San Francisco boasts the largest overall bicycling market in the U.S. followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Orange County, and misguided Portland.