Interview: Andrew White

fyxomatosis

If you’ve any interest in track bikes, classic road bikes or velo photography, you’ve no doubt heard of fyxomatosis. It’s the journal-style website of Andrew White, one of Melbourne’s most passionate cyclists. He’s known for his immaculate restorations and builds of classic Italian frames, his fine photography and recently, for the organization of events such as the Melburn Roobaix.

How long has fyxomatosis been online for? ‘Since forever’. The website started in 2003.

You’re located in Melbourne. Is it Australia’s greatest cycling city? What’s the cycling scene like down there? How does it compare to other international cities you’ve ridden in? Melbourne has great depth and diversity to its cycling. Other cities have charms that make them better than Melbourne, but the people in Melbourne make it special. I’m happy to call it home.

How has the cycling scene in Melbourne evolved over the past decade? Is the interest in classic frames waxing or waning? More people ride now than ever before. That’s all the evolution cycling needs right now. Fads come and go, but classics remain for good reason. I haven’t lost interest in the slightest. My cycling era for inspiration is the thing that changes.

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You have worked extensively as a bike messenger, what has it taught you? To not complain, and that the only things that travel faster than a courier are the rumors they spread. Oh, and never let another courier fix your bike.

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You regularly restore and build up some of the world’s most glamorous frames. What do you think is the most beautiful frame ever built? The next one. I look back at what I was cobbling together 10 years ago for friends who wanted cheap bikes, and even then my aim with each build was to refine and do it better than the last. With my site, photography, events, bikes, and even t-shirts which I made by hand in the beginning there is obvious evolution. Particularly for those who have shared the journey since the start.

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What sort of bicycle do you despise? Some bikes don’t get my blood pumping. fyxomatosis has always been about what I find interesting and passing on that passion. I celebrate the bikes I like. Picking apart bikes has always been Bikesnob’s domain.

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Andy White is also a talented photographer. Do you have the same passion for cameras that you do for bikes? No. Like a courier needs a good bike, a camera is merely a vehicle I use for expression. That includes what I do on fyxomatosis, weddings, events, commercial work. I have my grandfathers Leica M5 which is a very sought after camera, but it doesn’t see much use. I used to watch him shoot his engineering equipment as a 6 year old. I spent 3 months working in SF and NYC for peanuts, sleeping on friends couchs, scrounging and saving and bought my first DSLR with all the cash I had in my bag back in 2004. Then it’s been a case of upgrading my tools of the trade and a lot of practice.

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Another project you’ve been involved with for a few years now is the Melburn Roobaix, a take on the cobblestoned classic. How long has the Roobaix been running, and how do you see it developing over the next few years? Since 2006. Every year I wonder how on earth I can make it better than last years. The energy at the end and the rider reactions is amazing. Nearly 1000 people will ride in 2011. I’m humbled by how far people travel to ride it. From every state in Australia and New Zealand. Eddy Merckx couldn’t make it this year, but hopefully in 2012 he will come along for the ride.

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We’ve seen a few cooking features on FYXO, is there a possibility of a cook book in the future? It’s on the cards, like many a thing that passes between my ears.

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You’ve been known to knock out a few multi-mile rides around the Victorian state. What’s your favorite route? I am a sucker for the long and longer rides and the roads that I don’t know. I can tell you that from Melbourne to Warrnambool along the freeway in gale force winds is as much fun as hemorrhoids and was even less fun at the time. Riding back the next day was slightly less painful as I got to sleep in my own bed. 600km weekend. I’d do it again for sure.

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