Over four years ago, a group of young men in Salt Lake City grouped into a “bike gang” of sorts, tearing through the streets on bright, bold track frames, inciting terror and chaos as they raced through red lights in a blur of color. Evan Service was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed high school freshman during the BFC’s reign over the bike lanes of downtown SLC, drawn in by fixed-gear’s lawless nature and creative possibility. He began to ride with his own crew of “young guns,” the little brothers of the growing fixed-gear scene across the nation.
The days of fixed-gear glory are long gone in Salt Lake City: The BFC dissipated as its members either defected from the city for places like San Francisco and New York, devolved into padded spandex and derailleurs, or simply grew out of the “hobby” and moved on with their lives.
For Service and his pack, FOAD, this is life.
Like many cyclists, Service boasts a lifetime of rollin’ rough: “I’ve been riding two-wheelers since before I was three,” he says. What sets him apart is exactly what reeled him into the world of fixed-gear freestyle, though. “I always thought it was cool, something different,” he says. “No one did it at the time that we all started doing it.”
You see, trackstands, keo spins, over-the-bar skids––the ballerina aspects of the “sport” (I’d argue that around ’08, FGFS spilled more over the line of art than athletics) found in films like Macaframa and Fast Friday—those tricks have all been tossed aside along with the flashy track frames used to execute them. Service and his band of brothers pedal a different breed of bicycle these days, characterized by smaller, more sturdy frames and forks that are easier to handle and can take a beating. The FGFS community now borrows more from BMX with the implementation of ramps and jumps, but maintains its own disposition and direction. Service describes his personal style as “Big, like my muscles. Feebles and 180s, that’s what I like to do,” he says. “I try to get inspired by the stuff I’ve seen and try to get creative with the place I’m at, think of stuff that other people wouldn’t think of doing there.”
Obviously, when you’re seeking out similar spots to hit as BMX kids and skaters, things can get tense, especially when you’re competing for time and space at the park. Service keeps it friendly, joking, “[BMX] kids like riding their little sister’s bikes. It’s cool, though, I like it, but they don’t like fixed-gear freestyle,” he says. “Haters are gonna hate and they can just keep on hating. [I] do it and don’t sweat what people say.”