Yesterday we went exploring Oaxaca for bicycle shops and any more information we could gather about those “old school” singlespeed bikes we came across on the road from Juquila.
We saw lots of the usual “cargo bikes” the locals use for selling ice-cream, tamales, etc.
We also saw one fully kitted cyclist on a carbon Look, and we discovered some people using their bicycles as their main mode of transportation, and not just people who can’t afford a car, but those who choose to ride a bike in the city.
We visited a few bike shops in the West end of the city:
Bicirama in Calle Aldama, Bicimundo across the street (where they had a knockoff of a Trek with a faux full carbon finish and “Discovery Channel” wheels, just weird), and Taller de Bicicletas Cruz Jr at the back of Hotel Rivera del Angel, in Mina street.
We found out that the single speed bikes are hand made in factories in Mexico city and Puebla. They don’t have a brand or a name. They’re popular because for about 2000 Pesos (150 US Dollars/100 Euros approx.) you can have a basic and reliable vehicle.
The frames are made of thick chromoly tubing, lugged, with wishbone seatstays and usually a double top tube. It has eyelets for racks on the rear horizontal dropouts and also on the fork. The geometry is super relaxed, with a long wheelbase and tire clearance up to 28×1.95.
The wheels look like they just came out of a trendy fixed gear bike shop I know in Paris, with large flange hubs, fancy twisted spokes (laced in radial or 2 cross pattern), and deep section profiled rims, all in crazy color schemes.
The drivetrain is normally a no-name chainset with platform pedals, thick BMX chain and a freewheel. The bars look like a copy of the Nitto Moustache with a short 1″ quill stem.
This is utilitarian, practical cycling at its best: affordable basic quality human powered vehicles for the people.
(Pedal) Power to the people!