There are 100 fixies per capita in Manhattan? So each person in Manhattan owns 100 fixed gear bicycles? No wonder rent is so expensive; I imagine storing 100 bicycles isn't cheap!!
Yes they are. The per capita value is meaningful, albeit inaccurate, because you're estimating the value based upon a sample.
Whatever number you multiplied every single index to get it into the range [0, 100], divide by that to get the per capita value.
Yes, per capita literally does mean "per person", but the purpose it serves here is to allow meaningful comparison of more than just raw numbers. Manhattan might have 1,000,000 fixies, and Brooklyn might only have 100,000 fixies. This by itself doesn't really tell you much, since what if Manhattan had 1,000,000 people and Brooklyn only had 50,000 (again completely theoretical); then, the "per capita" fixie bike index would be twice as high in Brooklyn.
I don't get your point with the example, for those values I get "fixies per capita" of 1 in Manhattan, and 2 in Brooklyn. That clearly states that there are twice as many fixies per person in Brooklyn as there are in Manhattan.
If you also normalize based on Manhattan, you'd get 100 and 200 which say exactly the same thing but with more zeroes and no longer being "per capita".
The trend was growing quick, and folks started finding fancier and fancier vintage bikes as collectors realized that the market for the obscure bikes lit up like wildfire. At the same time manufacturers (big and small, global and local) began sourcing extremely cheap (>$300) frames from Taiwan and saturating the market, bringing prices down ~50%.
Then the Crash happend in '08. The market for fixies, mostly a semi-practical luxury item/status symbol similar to an iPhone at the time, fell significantly. They're still a big deal and quite popular, but not nearly as much so as a few years ago. Prices, especially the used market fallen drastically. A cheap, Average condition frame that went for $300 in early '08 could barely get $100 today in San Francisco.
Luckily for those who bought into the vintage/collector track bike market (like most), prices are relatively stable...
I can't speak to the economics side, but I feel fixed-gear mania was in full-swing well before 2006. I worked in a bike shop in a small Midwestern city (so presumably the trend had already been on the rise on the coasts well before this) from 2003 to 2005, and even then fixed-gear discussion was not infrequent. I'm pretty sure you could order flip-flop hubs from QBP at the time, although I can't recall if fixed-specific hubs were available, since I don't recall anyone ever actually wanting one and not a flip-flop. My point is that major suppliers were already providing new parts specifically for that market.
Although, yeah, I don't recall any non-boutique manufacturers making fixed or flip-flop models while I was in the business.
Anyway, maybe you specifically meant the secondhand or market, but I just wanted to point out that your LBS probably had plenty of fixed-gear parts available before '06.
I know that I was getting into things right around '03, and my friends were all about it by about then too. But it wasn't nearly as regular an occurance to see a fixie rider on the street (in SF/Oakland) until '06 or '07.
(Also, track parts fall apart on the road. The high-end Izumi chain is a nice example.)
Lack-of-brakes do not a fixed gear make.
All bicycles should have at least two ways to stop. Fixed gear bicycles are no exception.
And if there's one thing that isn't fashionable on a fixed-gear bike, it's a gross cable-pull handbrake.
But yeah, I agree, it's stupid not to have brakes.
Not to mention that it's downright insane. Ever try skid stopping in the rain?
Get with it, grandpa!
Is the difference between a single-speed bike and a fixie that a single-speed bike has a freewheel so you can coast without pedaling?
[edit: missed a word]
I used to race off-road, and when racing in N. California (1994) came upon a bunch of guys racing for (iirc) Ventana/Paul -- lovely bikes, one speed (freewheeling, not fixed). For me, it was love at first sight. I had my own single-speed built up by next year, and raced it in (Canadian) National races, long cross country races (Cheakamus Challenge Squamish->Whistler), World Cup races, NORBAs, blahblahblah, and ultimately the First Annual Single Speed World Championships in LA (1999).
I do it because I love it. After years and years of completive cycling, I knew "bike riding" very well, so the one-speed aspect allowed me to explore a new facet of cycling. Sort of full-circle in a really good way, if you consider that your first bike as a 3,4,5yo is probably a one-speed too. And when you want to get up a hill, you just pedal harder. I'm glad I got into it and was able to enjoy that aspect again while I'm fit. My current rig is a fixie (for last ~3-4 years). I ride it because I like it. If somebody tells you should try a fixie (or even single-speed) because it's simpler, or lighter, they're kidding themselves or lying to you. Ride it because you like it.
 Started and ended at a bar. Winners got tattoos; if you didn't accept tattoo, you forfeited your position. IIRC the site of next years race was determined by a rally, and the winner got to pick. The fun and joy of bicycles is (was?) alive in that culture.
Anyway, I can't think of any time I've ever brought a lock along while on my racing bike. It's for riding, not for errands.
Orange, CA is a city, with a population of 150,000
Why is Orange County listed in the chart when all other entrants seem to be cities (or boroughs).
It's far easier for me to wonder if they mixed up the data.
Almost by definition, a very large place with a very large population should have regressed to the mean, not far exceed it.
Also, don't call it that.
So thank you for the education, although I actually don't think that changes my point terribly much.
Orange County with 3,000,000 people over 1000 sq. miles dwarfs most of the other entities, including Manhattan.
I would think that without an explanation of why they are an outlier, a population this size, this diverse, over a diverse geography (flatland, hills, mountains) would regress towards the mean. If they are dramatically outside the mean (and here they are far and away in the lead), there needs to be an explanation.
(I liked two explanations: one is that they are counting surfer's beach cruisers would could be a very real effect down in OC which has great surfing and lots of trends toward surfing style. And the other that suggests these bikes or similar may be very popular among latino populations for some unknown reason.)
Google for more instances.
I am seriously considering getting a fixie or single speed and this article pops up on Hacker News.
I remember about 5 years ago getting a fixie was more of an enthusiast cyclist endeavor than a hipster one. I don't care, it's better for training and feels less inhibited.
This is why data shows fixies selling so often in Manhattan: it's all the hipsters that moved to Manhattan, who found less use for their bike, and then sold it back to somebody else in Brooklyn.
This is key. Fixies as fraction of for-sale bike population <> prevalence of fixies on streets.
From a purely anecdotal angle (supported by BikeSnobNyc's recurring photographs of DIY fenders), there's a lot of cheap mountain bikes in Brooklyn. In contrast, a Manhattanite who commutes by chauffeur or all-Dura-Ace, not-for-sale-on-Craigslist Colnago isn't part of the sample.
 Oregon Bicycle Racing Association http://www.obra.org/track/information/
Weather is a huge missing component. Another is hilliness/other bike-friendliness (bike lanes, etc). The top 12 cities in the analysis are warm-weather cities (mostly California/Hawaii).
For example, no-one is buying bikes in Chicago at the moment, because it's freaking cold. But there are likely many more fixed-gear bikes here than almost anywhere else (flat, bike-friendly city with lots of hipsters). Portland is capital of hipsterdom - well atleast until Pittsburgh takes over (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/portlandi...) but it's cold there right now so people aren't selling their bikes.
I hosted chifg.com after the great bikeforums schism. And that was prior to lfgss.com. I also helped quite a few other cities get up and running with communities, probably about 15 or so.
The first was NYC though. They were the ones who after the BF schism set up an invite only community for fixed gear bikes.
Tracing earlier than that and you only find messengers/couriers riding them, go back to 1987 and you pretty much end up with 1 Toronto messenger and Buffalo Bill in London.
By the time I set up http://www.lfgss.com I already figured that the fixie thing was dead, but if anything it boomed afresh.
As trends go, I think it ceased to be fashion a while ago and became utility. It wouldn't have survived otherwise.