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  1. #1
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    First Ride on Fixed Gear

    My new Wabi came in today. Initially I intend to use it for my short 5 mile, one way, commute.


    So it's a fixed gear, you have to keep pedaling right? No big deal. This is my first time ever to ride a fixed gear and it's so different. All those years of muscle memory fight back. It actually takes concentation to not get thrown off the bike.

    The other thing I noticed is there is some kind of different feeling on this bike. I don't quite know how to describe it yet, it's like there is a quicker connection between me and acceleration. This one is going to take some practice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Sounds like you'll like it. My first ride on my fixed gear, I stupidly had flat pedals on it. The first downhill, I stood and leveled the pedals without thinking a was thrown over the bars, ipromptly ordered another set of eggbeaters. People will never leave you alone if you start taking it on group road rides, they think it is ******** to ride with just one gear. I think they are just jealous that I beat them to the top of every hill.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, wait til you get to ride in the rain, it is a blast and you can skid 30 feet at a time like you are ten years old again.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  4. #4
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    Have fun, I'm heading to a velodrome in a month and will have my first experience on SS. I couldn't use one on the group rides we do.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chesha Neko's Avatar
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    Congrats on your Wabi. IMO there is nothing better than riding fixed gear if you want to build your physical condition. Multispeed freewheel bikes allow too much coddling. A year on my own fixed gear has put my legs into a condition I have never seen before. Spin, spin, spin.
    "I stick to my basic plan of simply keeping the pedals turning."
    -- Kent Peterson, The Way of the Mountain Turtle

  6. #6
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Pretty bike.

    I LOVE riding fixed in a way I never expected. There's a simplicity and a purity to it.

    BTW, the immediate connection you describe is likely the hubs. Geared bikes have a freewheel, and it needs a slight rotation of the wheel to go from freewheel to power mode, and that can vary from a very small amount (king hubs, for example) to a relatively larger rotation (shimano). Think of it as being like a clutch.

    Because a fixed hub has only power mode, there is no "play" at all.

    You will find that it will make you a much stronger rider, and cure some bad habits. I like to stand to climb, and then coast at the crest of the hill. Try that on fixed and you run the risk of being bucked off.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  7. #7
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Lovely looking bike. I had a 'fixie' for about 10 mins when I 'started back'. I had no idea that you had to constantly pedal - I lasted about 5 minutes on it

  8. #8
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    This is encouraging! I've reached my limit of available time for cycling. My goal with the fixie is to work harder during my short commute. Where I live it's flat as a pancake. We drive 30 mile to get into rolling hills for the start of our group rides. I hoping to spin my legs into better shape.

  9. #9
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    The most fun I've ever had trying a bike was a Redline Monocog, and I still harbor some heavy "want"s for a single speed. Not sure about fixed, but a single speed is definitely on my radar.

  10. #10
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    This is encouraging! I've reached my limit of available time for cycling. My goal with the fixie is to work harder during my short commute. Where I live it's flat as a pancake. We drive 30 mile to get into rolling hills for the start of our group rides. I hoping to spin my legs into better shape.

    I see post like this quite a few times. I never understand them. Why is a fixed gear any better from a workout perspective than simplynpickingmthe same gear combination on the ten speed and not shifting?

  11. #11
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    I see post like this quite a few times. I never understand them. Why is a fixed gear any better from a workout perspective than simplynpickingmthe same gear combination on the ten speed and not shifting?
    Because the world is not flat, and because it forces you to move your legs all the time. It makes you pedal hard up hills, fast down hills, hard to accelerate, against the pedals to slow down. Try going out on your geared bike. Pick a high ratio, say one that's comfy at 17mph. Now don't shift during your entire ride. Then imagine moving your legs whenever the bike is moving.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    I see post like this quite a few times. I never understand them. Why is a fixed gear any better from a workout perspective than simplynpickingmthe same gear combination on the ten speed and not shifting?
    It's simple: on a geared bike you can coast. The mechanics of a fixed-gear bike are such that you cannot coast. Ever. If the bike is moving, you must be pedaling.

  13. #13
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    To follow up, I went on my first longish ride today. I went 30 miles and it's a tougher work out than the roadie. I've been thinking about how much tougher but it's too subjective to be meaningful. I'm completely over the quirks that riding fixed present with the exception of descending. Climbing is invigorating as I found it best to just attack our short climbs which are mostly bridges. Descending was disconcerting to the point that I rode the brakes down most declines. I feel like with time I can develop a smooth fast, non bouncing, spin. Just not there yet.

    I wonder how many folks, like me, have never given a fixed gear a spin. One reason I did it was I'm very aware of the passion folks that ride them have for their fixie, even when they have one or more geared bikes. I think another barrier is it took me more than one short ride to "get it". I'm 35 miles into my FG experience and I've got zero intention of flipping the wheel.

    I think I should mention I'm not a young athlete. I'm a 55 y/o, 5'7", 205 lb former couch potato. Tomorrow morning, early and chilly, I start my FG commuting adventure.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chesha Neko's Avatar
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    Congrats again, sounds like you are coming along nicely.
    "I stick to my basic plan of simply keeping the pedals turning."
    -- Kent Peterson, The Way of the Mountain Turtle

  15. #15
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Ascents: If they aren't that long, just attack them. It's just easier that way.
    Descents: Learn to spin. Ride the brake(s) when necessary. While you should probably learn how to fixie coast, don't make it a habit.
    Sloppy habits: It's a myth that fg will make your pedaling "rounder". If you're not careful, you'll rest on the upstroke knowing the pedal will push your legs up and over. You'll immediately notice it on a geared bike. Working on spinning will help develop a rounder stroke and you can do that on any bike. Descents on a fixed gear make it easy to learn since you have to learn.
    Extra long skids: Balls on the stem, weight forward and you can skid pretty far even when it's dry out.
    Skipping: an even better skill to have than skidding.
    Track standing: useful if you're riding on a velodrome or mountain biking or want to impress people that couldn't care less.

    Enjoy!
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    like you are ten years old again
    That pretty much sums it up. I never stopped riding since the very first ride sans training wheels at 4 years old. But 15 years ago I started riding a fixed gear, and it was the same feeling as the very first time.

  17. #17
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    I rode my first century on a Single Speed, I know a fixie would have been a more impressive feat but still in the same family. I constantly think of going back to SS.

  18. #18
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I'm a bit scared to know but what is "fixie coasting"?

    Thanks!

  19. #19
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Fixie coasting is when you take your feet off the pedals while descending. The pedals turn into spinning blades of death while you find a safe place to put your feet. I recommend having brakes if you do this.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  20. #20
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    Fixie coasting is when you take your feet off the pedals while descending. The pedals turn into spinning blades of death while you find a safe place to put your feet. I recommend having brakes if you do this.
    Okay, thanks! I think your definition says it all

  21. #21
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    Fixie coasting is when you take your feet off the pedals while descending. The pedals turn into spinning blades of death while you find a safe place to put your feet. I recommend having brakes if you do this.
    I only tried that once and it scared the crap out of me. I have found that with my feet clipped to the pedals I can just relax my legs and spin the downhills. They have clocked me at 45mph this way on group rides up near Red River. Do not try to slow quickly with your feet when spinning that fast, the back of the bike starts bouncing around and scares all your friends away.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    the back of the bike starts bouncing around and scares all your friends away.
    ...Ha, that's good. Not for me anytime soon.

    Now that I'm a 50 mile fixie genius, I'm beginning to understand some of the quirks of riding one. The gearing makes for an interesting dynamic. We all know how much better it feels to ride "on top of a gear". My bike has 44 X 17 gearing and my feel good cadence puts me about 18.5 - 19 MPH. This is a slight stretch for me but it feels so much better up there than down at 16 - 17 that I find myself pushing to stay on top of it. Then there is how I get up to speed. It's more fun, and quicker to stand up and quickly accelerate up to about 19 and then settle into the saddle and go. I realize I could do all this on my roadie or with the wheel flipped but the fixie demands more of a commitment. You either go for it or mash, no in between no coasting. Then there is cornering, you've got to keep pedaling anyway and the bike handles so much better under acceleration it encourages brisk cornering. The Wabi has road bike geometry with track bike botom bracket height. It's very happy in a fast, well fast for me, sweeping corner.

    I'm not putting in some herculean effort, my commute is only 5 miles to the shop and 8 back. But this bike is so much fun to ride I hear cowbells the last 3 miles

  23. #23
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    nice.. i've got a single speed bike with a flip flop wheel, though I've yet to flip it to the FG side. I've ridden fixed in the past which taught me how much I enjoy the ability to coast That being said, most of the time when I'm riding I'm constantly spinning as if I were riding FG because of the better traction and control.

    I definitely agree riding FG/SS improves your fitness level... since you've only got one gear, you tend to get both more of an aerobic and anaerobic workout. When you can pick the perfect gear, you're less likely to be pushing your legs or your heart.

    I've got two single speed bikes now, and find myself switching gears on my geared bikes a lot less often as well. Even on my grocery getter/trailer hauler I rarely use more than 3 of the 7 gears when pulling loads.

  24. #24
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    Welcome to the non-hipster world of fixed gear cycling. You are already enjoying the experience. If you want more information on riding (even though it has a long-distance theme), try this thread in the LD forum.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  25. #25
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Wait til you learn all about seated climbs and seated acceleration using your newly developed all-around power pedal stroke. Makes it look effortless.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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