Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Un Pari Fou?

Josef Fischer - 1896
First Winner; Fixed Winner!

Un pari fou...a crazy bet. By now I'm sure you've read the various accounts of last summer's Rapha Crazy Bet. Maybe you also read of Jeremy Dunn, Guy Andrews, and Co.'s attempt at another crazy bet this April. Well, it seems that I too am not immune from the lure of the seemingly preposterous. Let me explain:

Back in April, I was contacted by a wonderful French fellow named Alexandre who invited me to participate in a "project" he's hoping to accomplish next Spring. It's rather simple: he's trying to assemble a group of folks from around the world to ride the entire Paris-Roubaix race course the day before the pro's tackle it. Easy, right?

And oh yeah, he wants to do it on a fixed gear.

Yup, you read correctly. You can read more about the project here. There's photos of Alex, his bike, and of course, various sections of pavé. There's even a great video of him tackling the sector at le Carrefour de l'Arbe...on his fixed gear! Better than that, Alex tells me he rode the final 90km of the race this past April. On his fixed gear!

Have you wrapped your head around it yet?

Honestly, as crazy as it sounds, I'm intrigued. Incredibly flattered by his invitation, I might just take him up on it. (It's actually something I was facetiously contemplating with some friends over a few beers last year.)

Whether or not the plan--or at least my participation in it--comes to fruition, the project offers some terrific food for thought. Is it crazy? Yeah, a bit. Can it be done? Only time will tell. And don't forget, back in the day, it was fixed gear or nothing.

Regardless, Alex seems pretty convicted to make his dream come true. I wouldn't bet against him.


  1. As a warmup to this past years Paris Roubaix we rode 100km through swedish backroads and trails on fixed gear bikes. I ended up having to wrap my spare tube around my handle bars for extra padding. But the 260kms of french Pave is on whole other level.
    A ride report.

  2. This is great! I can't understand the text, but the roads look fantastic. Any cobblestones?

  3. Just a few streches in town of a few hundred meters. The sand was much worse on 22mm sewups, there were a few crashes that day. The nest way to ride sand and cobbles is at full speed so you can hopefully skim over the top of the ruts. If you lose any speed on a fixie on this terrain it's impossible to build up speed again, it just gets rougher and rougher.


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