Friday, March 26, 2010

From Hardcore Punk to Fixed: Chula Vista Gets Up

Marcus Aguirre makes Chula Vista proud.

As a kid from the Castle Park area of Chula Vista myself, I will certainly testify to that.

Fixed gear circles around the U.S. (and some parts of the world) have the impression that Chula Vista is a place w/ an exploding fixed gear scene. The construction of that impression is due to Marcus aka El Marcs and his blog Chula Vista Fixed.

Since Chula Vista started about 6 months ago, Marcus has put out a handful of short video edits including a piece on Cult Classic 2, the Downtown Showdown in Long Beach, and a teaser trailer for Revoked. Each of the edits have been featured on Prolly Is Not Probably, the most respected fixed gear news source to-date, run by NYC-based fixed-gear booster and architect John "Prolly" Watson.

My favorite Chula Vista Fixed edit so far is from the Downtown Showdown trick comp that went down in Long Beach a couple weeks ago:

CVTV : Downtown Showdown Highlights from CVF on Vimeo.

Marcus has also been featured in a couple Matt Lingo-shot photos that ran in COG magazine. Most recently, Pedal Consumption threw up a few Matt Lingo-shot photos taken at a trick session near San Diego's Velodrome:

Marcus' passion for fixed riding runs as deep as his pride in being from Chula Vista and as deep as his love for Chula Vista hardcore punk.

If one passed through Chula Vista, a neighborhood in South San Diego County, it would be very hard find any evidence of a fixed gear scene or a hardcore scene. Chula Vista's most tremendous period of growth was immediately after World War II. As such, the urban plan was modeled after privatism, suburban, cul-de-sac, sprawled, low-density, auto-centric ideals. Chula is not a friendly place for cyclists. The city was designed to be auto-dependent. (I know this as fact because I, too, grew up in Chula).

One of the most obvious demarcating characteristics between pre-WWII and post-WWII Chula homes are the garages. Not only were the streets designed to accommodate cars in this era, but so were homes. Post-WWII homes were garage-centric. Garages became the face of post-WWII suburban homes. You could literally drive a car inside your house.

Ironically, garage-centric post-WWII homes designed for the nuclear family helped facilitate a type of scene that intentionally and sometimes unintentionally subverted the status quo and mainstream culture--that being punk rock music. Many garages, designed to house cars, became spaces for bands to jam.

The most well-known punk band from Chula Vista are The Zeros (circa late 70s). In the 90s, Chula established itself as a premiere location for hardcore punk. Chula bands such as Amenity, Unbroken, The Set Up, Forced Down, and Run For Your Fucking Life put San Diego, and more specifically Chula, on the map for hardcore. The above-mentioned bands have reached legendary status among hardcore enthusiasts.

Chula hardcore pride runs deep. Marcus' favorite contemporary hardcore bands include Impulse, Down Again, Take Offense, Deadlined, and Cold Stare. Marcus has brought that hardcore passion into the Chula and SD bike scenes.

Still, fixed gears in Chula aren't too common. Before Ocean Bikes opened up on the outskirts of the city lines near the salt factory about a year and a half ago, there wasn't a single shop selling fixed gear bikes. The amount of fixed gear riders who currently live in Chula is rather modest. According to Marcus, there are about 10 - 20 kids riding fixed that he knows of. Nevertheless, the number is growing. And w/ a booming scene to the north (i.e. San Diego), with Ocean Bikes in town, and with Marcus pushin' the Chula Vista Fixed name, that number is bound to multiply.

Keep a close watch at Marcus' Chula Vista Fixed.


  1. The Zeros were absolutely great at last year's Adams Avenue Street Fair. Jolie and I have known them for thirty years. We rode with Hector Penalosa (and 200 other motorcyclists) on the Mods Vs. Rockers ride in January.

  2. That's awesome. The Zeros definitely killed it at the Adams Ave Street Fair last year. I didn't want it to end. Hector is a great guy. His other band, The Baja Bugs, played at Bike Prom last year. It was a blast. I wrote a little bit about that nite here: