I composed a long-ish intro that was unfortunately lost in the recent heat of battle against the rise of the chaos theory zealot electrons.
Being the lazy s--t that I am (when it comes to anything but cycling), I will not try to re-write that diatribe.
Instead, let me reflect a moment on my most recently discovered cycling joy: riding a fixed gear (converted road bike) with no particular place to go. I understand that riding fixed can be good training, and that fixed gear bikes can be good for commuting since their mechanically simple drivetrains leave little to go wrong.
The simple fact of the matter is that spinning the cranks on a fixie is fun. What makes it more - err- interesting? skids... direct drive track stands... fancy dismounts... (attempts at) riding backwards... skids... the laugh-at-yourself moment after you forget to pedal and the bike reminds you bucking bronco style (so long as you save it you can laugh right away)... power slides (advanced skids)... pacing your pedal input to synchronize your momentum with the traffic lights... else skidding to scrub off excess speed...
I feel like a (s)kid again. It was similar when I started riding my rigid singlespeed mtn bike. Only, that was fun mainly because of the additional challenge - as in, I had a renewed sense of accomplishment whenever I crested a climb or cleaned a technical section. There's a quality to the experience of riding w/o all the technology where the unecessary techno geeky thinking falls away and the rider has more direct access to the sensations of momentum, gravity, body english for balance and power, instant feedback on your trail reading/line picking... and whether you can hold the good line; that the perceived effort is somehow less and that feeling of flowing like water easily returns.
Riding the fixie can be like that, too. But by far the best thing is it is fun to ride just because you have to pay attention to the act of riding.
Did I mention that I get to skid?
Anybody in the SF Bay Area up for some urban/messenger-style bike polo?