Who is the fastest Alleycat in town? Fixie Rider Sean Martin is powered by Sciconbags
Welcome the world. Northern Europe, Indonesia, Alaska, Canada, Puerto Rico and Continental USA, the globe is the home turf of Sean Martin, Scicon brand ambassador and Fixie bike aficionado.
Sean Martin has been riding bikes for many years, starting off on a BMX and migrating towards a fixed-gear bike. He’s often spotted on the streets of LA with one of his brightly-coloured Track bikes.
Fixie bikes are turning into a real subculture in many cities all over the world. Legend has it that Fixies were first used by bike messengers in Manhattan who benefited from the low-maintenance, fast starts and sudden stops that characterize this type of bike. Nowadays, frequent impromptu street races with names like ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘The Lord of Griffith’ are organised with the purpose of making the Fixie community’s presence known and also just to have a bit of fun.
Sean tells us that there’s been an explosion of street races, most of which are called ‘Alleycats’- these are basically large-sized checkpoint races- This means you show up on race day at a appointed meet up spot (some of these are huge events and destination races for us that take part in this type of racing), you get a manifest, which has anywhere from one to many checkpoints (addresses) on the manifest. Then you are unleashed on the city at the start. Heading into these types of races, you don’t know where the checkpoints will be, what you have to do at each checkpoint to accomplish your goal of getting your manifest signed (the whole point of the race) or how long the race will be.
Most of these alleycats are fixed-gear based, but are also inclusive to all types of bikes. “You run what you brung, kind of thing”. In the last few years Fixed crits have really gained popularity in the street racing world (unsanctioned bike events). Same as pro level road bike crit, with closed course, race marshals, corporate sponsors, but Sean races on high end track bikes (fixed gears) with no brakes and it’s really balls to the wall racing. The fixed gear crit circuit took Sean and his bike from New York City, LA, and Puerto Rico this year. He suffered a broken wrist in the middle of the season, so it kept him from attending events in Milan, Barcelona and some smaller events here in the US.
Sean most recently traveled with his track bike to Arizona for a Halloween based alleycat organised by Heavy Pedal (his fixie sponsor). Traveling with a fixed gear is probably the easiest bike to ever have to take on a plane as a racer. With the AeroComfort 2.0 TSA bike bag, all you need to do is simply remove the wheels, secure the frame and away you go! Land at the airport, build your bike in a matter of moments and the bike is race ready.
I have used everything from cardboard to high end bike bags from Scicon (best for international, multi city destinations/ bike tours) and every time I travel it’s a different set of flight rules. For this trip I used my AeroComfort 2.0 TSA bike bag which ensures ultimate protection and ease-of-use.
“LETS GRAB A MEAL AND KILL SOME TIME” – Sean Martin
Leading into race day, I rode around the city and took it real easy. I had been hit by a car in LA that Monday before hand and had a bruised and battered Knee. I wasn’t gonna let a lame knee stop me from racing and headed off to the start. About 45 racers came out to charge all over Phoenix, hitting 13 checkpoints, ranging from taking selfies at addresses, to going down slip ‘n’ slides, swimming across a pond, bobbing for apples and other craziness. My knee was acting up about 14 miles in and I knew I was out of the running to win the race. I knew there was a DFL prize (Dead F**king Last), so as I passed by a Whataburger, I thought to myself, “lets grab a meal and kill some time and you might just come in last winning DFL. The burger was great and yes, I came in last, winning DFL and some pretty rad prizes like t-shirts, toe cages, straps, handle bars and locks.
I had a fun time racing and the trip was great. There’s really nothing like traveling to another city, country and having your bike with you, no matter what style of bike you ride or race on. Having the ability to get around and explore and new place by bike is an amazing feeling.