Monday, October 6, 2008

The Quickie Blue Fixie

It was an impulse buy.

Last winter, my wife and I were visiting Kansas City for a little respite. I was on 'sabbatical' at the time (read: unemployed), and I was on the verge of finishing my Masters degree. Can we please just say I was a student? :>)

In my internet travels, I'd stumbled on a little bike shop in downtown KC and decided we should stop by and take a look. At one time, Acme Bicycle Company of Kansas City was a Rivendell dealer but now hand crafts custom steel frames of their own. The shop is located in an 'artsy' district of downtown KC, and once we were in the neighborhood was fairly easy to find. A large gathering of old bicycles and bicycle art surrounds an otherwise nondescript and aging cinderblock building.

From the moment I entered the cluttered but accessible shop, I was blown away by the variety of vintage bicycles and hardware of every imaginable brand, condition, and vintage. Tons of vintage lugged steel bikes and frames parked and hanging everywhere, and various display cases, racks, and shelves full of used parts. One rack held a stack of old Rivendell Readers for sale. I saw a frame in a vise in the process of fabrication, bare metal, brazing and torch marks clearly visible. I felt like a kid in a candy store!

Behind the counter, I noticed a well-ridden Rivendell custom. This bike was the owner's daily transportation, and she was nice enough to discuss the bike, bike riding, frame fabrication, and their philosophy of bike building at length, and in bike-nerdish detail. It was so nice of her to spend so much time with me I just couldn't leave without buying something.

Against one wall, I spied a blue fixie conversion for sale, vintage lugged frame, bullhorn bars, single front brake. It appeared to be the right size, and with a quick measurement confirmed the seat tube length was 62 cm. The owner cheerfully agreed to let me take the bike out for a test drive..."now this is a fixed gear bike, have you ridden a fixie before?" I'd been riding my QB fixed for at least a year up to that point, so I figured I was qualified enough to take this bike for a quick spin. A quick tire inflation and I rode up and down the alley adjacent to the shop, and the bike felt just fine.

There was a little voice in the back of my head saying, "Now what are you going to do with this bike?" It sounded a lot like my wife's voice, actually :>) I really didn't have a good answer, except for the fact that I still had space in the downstairs rec room and maybe I could use this bike for a nice 'round town bomber. Yeah, I wanted it...and the voice actually agreed with that notion. So carpe diem, I heated up the credit card and stuffed the bike in the trunk of our Malibu.

I submitted some pics to, take a look!

I've pimped this bike out since the pictures, adding a cheap Pletscher rack knock-off and some Planet Bike black clip on fenders. Someday, hopefully, I'll use this as a commuter bike. Right now, it's just my fun bop-around town bike. I've ridden it on some longer rides, but she really isn't the best long distance runner. It's a blast, though! I just have to remember to keep my feet on the pedals.


1 comment:

Victor said...

The bike looks like fun, cheap and cheerful. And thanks for alerting me to Acme Bikes in KC. Cheers from British Columbia