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500 fixie miles

June 23, 2009

I’ve now commuted 500 miles on my fixie. Riding with a single gear and no freewheel has proved to be more fun than I expected. I’ve managed to stay on the the thing despite it having a pretty good attempt to throw me on three occasions:

  • Trying to “freewheel” as I went over a speed bump.
  • Trying to “freewheel” going round a roundabout. Very exciting as I got lifted up at the same time as the rearwheel stepped out.
  • Going down hill and letting the speed build up and my legs not being able to keep up, in the wet all went very wobbly.

All these happened on the first two commutes since then I have mastered not freewheeling and can control the speed going down hill and spin at a rate that I previously thought impossible although it is much easier to use the brakes.

  • Track standing is harder on the fixie than on a freewheel bike. I think this is just lack of practice as it is getting better.
  • Gettting too close to the kerb is frightening as that pedal is going to go down relentlessly so narrow gaps are narrower.
  • Judging whether there is room for another turn of the pedals before you have to stop is more important than I relised. If you get it wrong then your foot is stuck at the bottom of a pedal stroke so starting is really hard.
  • Getting your foot clipped in once you are moving is impossible, better to get clipped in before putting the power down. Another reason to perfect that track stand.
  • I’ve not scraped my pedals going round corners, Yet.
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From → Cycling

4 Comments
  1. Booker Bense permalink

    If you have a front brake, there’s a handy trick to get the pedals ready at a stop.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html
    Go to the section on Mounting Technique.

  2. I do indeed have a front brake and have used that technique. However it relies on having time to do it which in traffic is not always the case.
    I miss Sheldon:-(

  3. Peter Harvey permalink

    Chris, as a bike "newbie", can you explain the benefits of a fixie? It seems like you’re giving up a lot of benefits of a traditional style bike?

  4. [Trackback] Why a fixie 1 ?
    A few people have asked
    me this so here are the reasons for a fixie:
    They are alleged to improve you pedaling.
    They are supposed to make your legs stronger.
    People say you are more in touch with the bike on a f…

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