tour down under

In bike, ozstraylia, travelling on April 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

So I rode round Melbourne alot more than I did in Sydney maybe that’s why I saw more people on bikes, maybe it’s the flatness of the city. Sydney is a trial sometimes, the hills constant, if your not going up, your going down. Not really conducive to riding fixed but people manage it. But in Melbourne there were bikes everywhere, ridden from here to there, mostly commuting I concede but ridden none the less and the fixed thing seemed to have taken a much tighter hold than I perceived in Sydney – well until I hooked up with the sunday arvo ride boys and the polo crew and the robocog massive. Likewise in the bikeshops I saw there were more fixe specific/fixed leaning shops in Melbourne than in Sydney, you had the boutiquesque saint cloud up on gertrude st,  just opened and run by the amiable nick, and which had some lovely keirin frames in as well. Then you has the knog concept store down on chapel st which was a big supporter of the fixed scene in melbourne, giving out prizes for alleycats as well as having a couple of full bikes for sale inside. Then there was shifter bikes which had just moved above the knog store, a stalwart of the fixed scene in Melbourne, building bikes, giving advice,  from what i could see shifter dan was moving into tour de ville ( now sadly closed ) territory, high class European geared bike porn, whether the bikes would ever sell is up or debate but they were lovely to see nevertheless. I spied as well a couple of bikes in a supreme store down on flinders lane, as well as a couple for sale in the window of a interior design shop. When the “coolness” of fixed reaches the lifestyle shops you know it has taken hold.
Whereas in Sydney apart from sable and argent run by the lovely kat who’d moved down from melbourne to run what was more of a geared bike store than a fixed one. Lots of rapha, lots of assos, lots of geared bikes on the wall and for sale. With a smattering of fixed attitude and gear. But sable and argent like deus the other big fixed store I found in Sydney, it felt like bikes were an offshoot of motorbikes, especially in deus, a custom bike shop, where they recondition old bikes, respray add a little chrome, swap exhausts and retune the engine and then sell on for more than they bought it for, has a section of their shopfloor dedicated to fixed machinery, expensive keirin frames, overpriced custom builds, aerospokes in a multitude of colours, if you’ve got the cash it’s a fixed perverts wet dream. But motorbikes take up most of the space and the bikes are an adjunct to them. Then you’ve got robocog, the adhoc little weekend repair resource, run by house. Though they are starting to sell stuff, they had a load of purple and blue deep wheelsets just waiting to adorn somebody’s ride. But most of the time it is a space to hang out, to talk shit and to talk bikes whilst people get some help pulling bikes apart and putting them back together. I liked hanging out there, it reminded me bit of the stoop out front of shop14 or the walled in front of tour de ville (rip) it is chilled and friendly and it should be a shop. Sydney needs a place where the fixed cognoscenti can hang out and shoot the shit and buy what they need to buy. Otherwise it’s just another niche in the market which can be scratched by any bike shop putting up for sale a load of off the pegs.

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