I’ve just discovered that my search for a simple bike makes me officially chic. According to our local newspaper retro fashion is hitting the cycling scene: the normal focus on ever lighter carbon frames and stronger brakes is being challenged by a fringe movement of retro bikes made with fixed gears, simple forks and steel frames. However, rather than this trend being born in a marketers imagination, it seems the industry is catching up with a grass roots movement among bike enthusiasts, who have been refitting older mountain bikes from spares they have in the garage. Of course now the industry has got a hold of it, they are churning out ‘retro’ bikes at €999 a pop, and apparently the fashion conscious are snapping them up as fast as the companies can make them. I’m intrigued: who buys a fixed gear bike with no mudguards, chain guard, luggage carrier or even a back brake for €999? Come to that, why, when perfectly good and more useful bikes are available for less- sometimes for free? Where and when do they ride it? (I’m assuming in flatter places than here, on dry days.) Even Volkswagen have retro bikes as part of their ‘exclusive’ collection, which is ironic considering how much car companies seem to dislike cycling infrastructure.
I’ve never been so cool before. Of course the flip side is that basic components will probably go up in price, so I’m off to search of an old 16” frame while I can still get one for under €100.