Updated 26.10.2023

17 March 2008

Readers' Bikes: Karl's Trixie the Fixie

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Trixie The Fixie, originally uploaded by KarlOnSea.

This just in from Karl.
Here's the story of how I ended up with Trixie the Fixie:

When I arrived back at Loughborough University just before the start
of 1989 autumn term, I had no ride, as my father’s bike which I’d
been using had been stolen over the summer break. A trawl through the local paper found a suitable sounding steed for sale in Leicester
(about 15 minutes down the train track), so I headed off there to
meet the vendor at the railway station. I was so not disappointed - a
Raleigh Record Sprint in black with gold trim; such a fast,
responsive, cool-looking bike, and a bargain at only £70.

But six weeks later, I was ARRESTED after someone else saw the bike in for repair at a local shop, and claimed that it was their bike,
which had been stolen only two weeks ago.

I was booked in at Loughborough police station, and put in a cell to
stew for a while. Then I had a formal police interview - a soundproof
room, with basically 60 minutes of interrogation technique from B
Movies. Lots of variants of "Let's go over this once again", and
"Come on sonny, admit you did it". The trouble was that I didn't have
a receipt for this second hand bike I'd bought from a bloke I'd met
at Leicester railway station. And THEY couldn't find any adverts in
the papers from that week matching what I'd described.

After the interview, I was left alone in the room with the arresting
officer, who had a 'couple of forms to fill in'. Stuff like, "How
long have you lived here?", "What course are you on?" and "So do you
take drugs?". At this last question, the adrenaline and my sense of
humour got the better of me, and I responded, "What here, with all
these policemen around? Nah, put 'em away and we'll have them later", which I think is probably when he ticked the box on his form next to the words, "Search warrant required?"

I was put back in the cells to consider my statements, while two of
Loughborough's Finest headed off to our house to search it. I'll
spare you the detail of this, other than to say that my housemates
were certain that the search WAS for drugs. However, during this,
they went through my room's waste paper bin, where they found the
torn-out page from a six week-old local paper, including the advert
for my bike. So I got released, but it took another four weeks to get
my bike back, as it had to be verified by the original owner. Even
now, I have a bizarre image in my mind of a 'Usual Suspects' line up
of bikes.

Anyway, that was a long time ago. Since then, the bike's been
resprayed twice, changing it from black to white, to sky blue. And
then last year, I finally got a new road bike, and so had no more use
for this old and trusted friend . . . . except that frame was such a
good ride, and I just couldn't be parted from her. So I converted her
from a 12-speed '80s classic into my hack bike around town - a fixed
wheel single speed machine, and so Trixie the Fixie was born.

Riding fixed is a bit of a fashion statement these days, and I don't
deny that it was my prime motivation for doing the conversion. But
once I'd got used to riding her, I found it went far deeper than a
mere fashion statement. Every time I ride this bike, it's like being
five years old again, and just doing it for the damned fun of it. I'm
reduced to a grinning idiot, sweaty and physically exhausted . . .
even before I start pedaling. In many ways it's just like being in
love. :-)