Fixed gear riding has many influences from all over the world and one of the strongest follows it right back to inception on the Velodrome. Track riding is often associated with the Japanese Keirin, or the American Madison or the British Match Sprint… little is mentioned of China’s niche racing pedigree which dates back to 1959 and the first velodrome in Beijing.
Fast forward to 2015 and that heritage is re-emerging in the style of fixed-gear riders. RK, one of our regular riders embodies that influence. He’s managed to acquire one of the now legendary track bikes built by the humongous Yongjiu (Forever) bicycle company.
Then he’s put his China twist on it. We got together with RK for the low down…
profession: Model and shop owner
Q: Tell us about your bike:
A: This is a Forever SC66, made in 1966 for the Chinese National Track Team. Before that they used Colnago framesets but the Govt thought that with so much domestic production of bikes there should be a local frame builder. It was the first track bike ever made in China. It turns out it wasn’t so perfectly built. The next model was the SC66-1, which was built with Colango lugs and dropouts and badged as a Yongjiu. Being from Shanghai I’m more proud to be riding the 100% local version – it has stood the test of time and is good enough for me.
I have a super-unique vintage Panther Quill Stem, I’ve no idea what brand it is. The rear wheel is an NOS FIR disc wheel, front is H+Son Archetype + small flange Gran Compe. The best part is the Paul Poker (Royal Flush) cranks – I was waiting ages for them to be available in China.
I added a basket, then i can carry my dog. I also have a Cinelli Mash Parallax 2014 for training and racing.
Q: how did you get into cycling?
A: I learnt to ride a bicycle when I was 5 years old and it has never left my life. I’ve only been riding fixie for less than a year, before that I was into Choppers. Then one day I was with a group of fixed gear riders and I got trapped – it feels so free and easy – and a good way to stay healthy.
Q: What attracts you to the scene in Shanghai?
A: This city is awesome, it’s my hometown and it has already come so far in my lifetime. Shanghai culture is awesome, Shanghai fashion is awesome. Shanghai traffic jams are also quite awesome in their own way.
Q: Where do you like to ride?
A: Fixie cycling is social and we like to hang out together. Normally i ride in downtown, around YongKang Lu and Fuxing Lu where the streets are lively and lots of people. At night I like to train with a smaller group along Longteng (South Bund) or around the Pudong Expo. On the weekends I’ll always head out of town the suburbs.
Q: What other styles do you like?
A: Music! Trance, Rock, R&B… to many to mention. I’m also into fashion and Gothic styles – I have lots of ink which is my style. I love Bulldogs and Choppers and tattoos.
Q: Where do you think the fixed gear scene is going in China?
A: With stores like Factory Five pioneering the fixed-gear scene it has grown very fast and also quite professionally (nice one RK!). There are lots more NOS components and brands to choose from these days, unlike when I was building choppers before, so it’s much easier to define a new style.