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Just finished building the fixed

ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
edited May 2011 in Commuting chat
After weeks of pratting about, I've finally finished the fixed-wheel project. Sat on it in the house and rocked back and forth. It's weird. I think I'm going to need sustained practice before hitting the streets with it.

Anyone got any tips on how to become a bit more proficient, save: ride it? Quite frankly, it feels downright weird. What usually trips up newbies to the art? Or should I just go and find out for myself like a new-comer to the art of clipless pedals, for example?

Posts

  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    bunny hops. curbs, any time you may think of "lifting" the wheels.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • hatbeardhatbeard Posts: 1,087
    I just got on and did it with mine, expect a day or two of it catching you by surprise when you slow and forget to keep pedalling before it becomes second nature. just be more wary of where the pedals are when you stop as it's nasty pulling up and being 'flatfooted' because of the pedal angle being off.

    also watch your filtering as you will be constantly pedalling and where you could fit through a wafer thin gap before beside the kerb by putting the pedals at 3 & 9 o'clock doing that fixed will now result in a nasty kerbstrike that will bunny hop you and the bike and make a horrible noise at best or throw you into traffic at worst. something that most geared riders overlook when they get arsey when I refuse to squeeze through some miniscule gap.

    before long it'll be second nature, the fun comes when you go back to a geared bike for the first time when you have to slow down and it feels like your chains snapped.
    Hat + Beard
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    Do a few laps round Herne Hill (you'll probably need to hire a proper track bike but much cheapness). Hatbeard has already given a couple of reasons why fixed not ideal for commuting IMO, but if you can do it safely then worth giving it a try.
  • graham.graham. Posts: 862
    Is there a big Sainsbury's car park, or such like, to go and have a practice?
    Graham.
  • Blue MeanieBlue Meanie Posts: 495
    Try some decents where you control speed only with the pedals. Long and not to steep will build muscle and develop how you 'retard' the pedals. Took me about a year to be able to cycle everywhere without using the front brake, these days when I take a freewheel bike out I suffer from 'free-moments' where I try to modulate speed with pedals and the bike just doesn't slow down!
    Oh, and keep the gear small to start with, don't worry all the hipsters are running 88", i'd keep it around 70" or smaller for a while.
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    Think ahead. If you see a set of lights on green, will they be red when you get there? You want to avoid braking where possible and try to control speed with pedals and anticipation. The bike will remind you not to stop pedalling. Remarkable how you find yourself riding and thinking how many gear changes you would be doing on the same ride on a geared bike
    M.Rushton
  • ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
    Cheers all.

    I've been trying as best I can to replicate the feel of fixed riding on the geared bike, like constantly pedalling and going uphill in a reasonably big gear (50x19), but I'm guessing that's really only half the story.

    Still need to fit the front brake, though, so can't really get out on it yet. May take it for a spin round the block this evening, though.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    I'm pretty new to this fixie malarky but I think its pretty cool.
    I would suggest you find a carpark and just ride around a bit, then a quiet road then start playing in proper traffic.
    I would suggest you learn to trackstand just to avoid clipping out/in at lights (and coz it looks cool, ennit) but try to learn to do it with either foot forward as it doubles your options at lights.

    I second what Hatbeard says about the 'chain snapped' feeling when you go from riding fixed onto a geared bike and coast. You get used to riding fixed quite quickly, but like riding clipless, at some point you will forget that you're on a fixie and try to stop pedalling. The bike will remind you bloody quickly and try to spit you off. A couple of those moments are great for drumming in the fact that you must not stop pedalling!

    I have to say that fixies are really good for around London, but my ride from NLondon to Portsmouth was a MISSION. I don't think I'll be attempting any long rides on it. I now have even more respect for the people who do the Dunwich Dynamo on fixies.

    What gear are you running?
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
    46x17 at the moment, which according to Sheldon Brown works out at 71.1".
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    With a gear like that someone as fit as you (assuming you still have some residual fitness left from last year's exploits) will have no problems with the London 'hills'.
    I run 73" and can do Bromley Hill seated.

    Just get out there and ride it. You get used to it very quickly.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    The biggest hurdle is to lift the front wheel over curbs - takes mental rigidity to power the front wheel up with a pedal downstroke rather than hoiking it up with your arms. Do the latter and the odds are you'll land on your face!

    Riding fixed is INSANELY DANGEROUS for the first few days as you tune in your body, but I think actually safer once it's second nature as you seem to have so much more control.

    It really is addictive - I've used my roadbike exactly twice since building the fixie :D
    FCN 5 belt driven fixie for city bits
    CAADX 105 beastie for bumpy bits
    Litespeed L3 for Strava bits

    Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,035
    So now all you need to do is whip that fixed cog off, throw it in the bin and get yourself a nice white ind single speed sprocket and forget about spinning downhill in fear of your life, having to filter through traffic because you CANT stop and not being able to bring your bike to a 100% stop without tearing muscles in your legs.

    Fixed FFS :roll:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    @ITB

    There is fixed and there is brakeless. The second is bloody stupid anywhere apart from on Norwegian pine. The first is not.

    How can you expect the man to take advice from a guy who wheels his Belling gas range outside when he wants to cook al fresco?
    FCN 5 belt driven fixie for city bits
    CAADX 105 beastie for bumpy bits
    Litespeed L3 for Strava bits

    Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
  • MeddersMedders Posts: 152
    I have just started commuting fixed.

    I did a couple of miles in the park then just bit the bullet and starting commuting 30 miles a day on it. A couple of hairy moments - and v slow to start with - but its fine now (I was pretty much used after the first week). But what hatbeard said on everythig - particularly filtering. As for jumping up kerbs etc - not tried that yet and havent actually needed to.

    With hindsight the park wasnt good practice - long clear flat stretches dont get u used to slowing, stopping and downhills which is the challenge with the fixed gear.

    Fixed has reinvigorated the enjoyment I get from my commute - making it a bit of a challenge again rather than just a fairly mundane daily slog. And I am hoping it will increase my leg strength and get me used to significantly increased cadence (I am running it at low GI).

    Riding:
    Canyon Nerve AL9.9 2014
    Honda CBR600f 2013
    Condor Fratello 2010
    Cervelo RS 2009
    Specialized Rockhopper Pro 2008
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,035
    @SAH

    SHUT IT :P
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    Mwah Mwah xxxxx

    :D
    FCN 5 belt driven fixie for city bits
    CAADX 105 beastie for bumpy bits
    Litespeed L3 for Strava bits

    Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
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