Interviewed by Tom Bradley
Photos by MASH SF
Produced by retrogurl
The name “MASH SF” denotes a hardscrabble aggressiveness not normally associated with San Francisco by the general misinformed public. Describe how the name is a container for what goes on in the MASH Fixed gear culture and why it could be nothing other than MASH SF.
To “Mash”, or to “Smash” is a different way of describing fast movement. You can mash on anything with wheels. Car, skateboard, bike. I’ve seen people mash’in down hill on Razors. All of the riders shown have full control on their bikes, and since track bikes are made for speed, they cant help but “mash”.
At what point did the unity, the absolute clan-mentality, begin to take root among the riders?
I don’t know if there is a “clan mentality”. But I think people got twice as nice once they saw themselves ride a bike. Its really a trip to watch yourself ride a bike. Its easier to see what you’re doing. Also, Mash is not like a “boy band” where they pick this dude from here, and this guy form this town, then film them riding bikes together smiling. Most of the folks were riding together way before the project was even conceived, so it wasn’t that hard to get people on the same page.
It is described as an aesthetic choice to ride without brake-lines but there’s more there, there has to be a deeper logic to the insanity of voracious pedaling without even the concept of stopping short should something get in the way. Describe it, what its like and why it has to be that way.
Riding a fixed gear bike is like riding a “big wheel” when you were little. Its basic. Its like a “big wheel” for adults.
With the recent spike in interest regarding your passionate pastime and the tools of the trade have there been any ill-feelings toward newcomers and is the original magic being diffused at all by the new wave of riders/enthusiasts?
I mean, its definitely different now because there are so many fixed gears on the road right now. Everywhere you look. Its real easy to hate at this point. Real easy to hate. All I can say is this… If this isn’t popular 10 or 15, 20 years down the line, will I still be riding? I hope so.
How does the international group of riders compare and contrast with the Americans?
It seems like people outside the US are really excited about this and they’re not afraid to show it. In the US, people try and play it down and be cool, but they’re juiced.
There is an intense athleticism to urban fixed-gear riding that cannot be denied yet it maintains the look, and danger, of an outsider’s activity. Why is this seen in the same light as skateboarding was in the 1970’s?
First of all, the average person cant understand how or why you would ride a bike in the city with no brakes. i think that lack of understanding sparks curiosity, which raises questions, and intrigues some and turns off others. All of that, whether positive or negative places a spotlight on this style of riding. I guess now is the time and place, because this has been around for a minute.
Describe the riders as best you can considering the eclectic nature of the bunch? (What is shared among them beyond the track bike?)
What would you like to see happen in the coming months/year with MASH SF?
Massan x MASH collab.