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Thread: Fixed Gear Fear

  1. #1
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Fixed Gear Fear

    I've been trying out the fixed gear setup for a few weeks now. I still sometimes forget that I can't stop pedaling and the bike rudely reminds me.

    Even though this has not caused a crash or serious issue, my concern is that it easily could. Like maybe my feet could come detached and my ankles/shins get chopped up by the whirling pedals... or the pedal lifts my body and catapults me flying over the bars.

    Tell me some calming stories of how you avoided fixed gear death and destruction to help ease my mind...

    Or how you and everyone you know bit it big time at least once, so I can sell my bike before it's too late.

    Oh, and I recently borrowed "Premium Rush" from the library... to hopefully get some helpful pointers on how to safely ride a fixed gear.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  2. #2
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Are you running brakes?

    In the case that you forgot that you can't coast on a fixed gear, you could use your brakes to control that ankle breaking momentum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Night_shift View Post
    NICE! But my quads destroy wheels with less than 32 spokes.

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    Senior Member 50voltphantom's Avatar
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    I'm a big ***** and just ride SS. Don't feel bad if it's not for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Huffandstuff View Post
    Freds gonna fred.

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    To be continued Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    I've been trying out the fixed gear setup for a few weeks now. I still sometimes forget that I can't stop pedaling and the bike rudely reminds me.

    Even though this has not caused a crash or serious issue, my concern is that it easily could. Like maybe my feet could come detached and my ankles/shins get chopped up by the whirling pedals... or the pedal lifts my body and catapults me flying over the bars.

    Tell me some calming stories of how you avoided fixed gear death and destruction to help ease my mind...

    Or how you and everyone you know bit it big time at least once, so I can sell my bike before it's too late.

    Oh, and I recently borrowed "Premium Rush" from the library... to hopefully get some helpful pointers on how to safely ride a fixed gear.
    Wrong movie to borrow to learn how to safely ride a fixed gear.

    Haven't had many issues, biggest was getting hit by a SUV, but that can happen with any kind of bike. You could put a note on you bike to remind yourself to not to try to coast when on your fixed gear.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  5. #5
    Pirate/Smuggler jlafitte's Avatar
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    MSPaint your mishaps

    Hard experience is a great teacher.

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    Senior Member 50voltphantom's Avatar
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    ^Epic thread right there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Huffandstuff View Post
    Freds gonna fred.

  7. #7
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
    Are you running brakes?
    Yes, front and rear. Traditional cages and toe straps too. (which I've used for years, so very accustom to)

    Quote Originally Posted by 50voltphantom View Post
    Don't feel bad if it's not for you.
    Oh, it's for me... just not all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
    Wrong movie to borrow to learn how to safely ride a fixed gear.
    I know, thanks. That was just a joke. (I checked out the movie for entertainment purposes only)

    Quote Originally Posted by jlafitte View Post
    MSPaint your mishaps

    Hard experience is a great teacher.
    I remember that thread! It's been years since I've looked at it. Must revisit!

    ---------------

    Are my fixed gear safety concerns valid? Can it really throw me off the bike? Any tips?
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  8. #8
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Just keep riding. You'll get used to it with time.

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    You'll get used to it. It was a little weird for me at first because I switched back and forth between SS and FG, and took me longer to get used to FG. Now going to SS feels weird, I keep thinking "I'm pedaling slower but why am I not slowing down?!" I know it's tempting to coast over bumps, but that's one of the biggest things I had to get over.

  10. #10
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    This occasionaly happens to me, since I ride both fixed gear and freewheel bikes and sometime forget that I can't coast. I takes my brain less than a second to correct this mental mistake and release my legs so that they continue to turn with the pedals. I've never come close to losing control or high siding. Provided you have decent foot retention, your feet should not accidentaly come off the pedals.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

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    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Riding FG on the road is not for everyone.
    It takes a dedication to technique and a proper set-up, club cyclists have been at it for well over a century using the same common sense as any other road ride.
    Proper foot retention firmly cleated in is essential.

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 05-02-15 at 08:36 AM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    This is where toe clips, straps and cleats pay off. Pulled tight with good deep slotted cleats and quality straps in good condition, your feet don't come off.

    My advice to newcomers to fix gears is to place a piece of tape on the seatpost 1/4" above the top of the seat tube then lower the post that 1/4". THe additioanl knee bend, while far from ideal will mean that your first "oops, I forgot and coasted" will hurt you far less. After a couple of wakeup calls, you can put seat back where it belongs. I did n;'t do this, I won't tell you what happened.

    Ben

  13. #13
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Every couple of years I end up on a geared bike for some reason and every time I get panicked the second I try to control my speed by back pedalling. There are three things that you have to be aware of fixed: pedal strike, spinning out, and toe overlap issues. Forgetting about not coasting is a problem that will go away quickly. The other problems are almost always recovered from quickly as long as you have a brake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    I've been trying out the fixed gear setup for a few weeks now. I still sometimes forget that I can't stop pedaling and the bike rudely reminds me.

    Even though this has not caused a crash or serious issue, my concern is that it easily could. Like maybe my feet could come detached and my ankles/shins get chopped up by the whirling pedals... or the pedal lifts my body and catapults me flying over the bars.

    Tell me some calming stories of how you avoided fixed gear death and destruction to help ease my mind...

    Or how you and everyone you know bit it big time at least once, so I can sell my bike before it's too late.

    Oh, and I recently borrowed "Premium Rush" from the library... to hopefully get some helpful pointers on how to safely ride a fixed gear.
    So I am 61 was very intrigued with fixed gear but friends said I would wreck my knees at my age. So I watched many many hours of fixie videos including Premium Rush. I just couldnt take it any more and bought a fixie. That was 2 years ago. I have many kinds of bikes and always switch off. But when I started riding fixed that was all I rode for 3 months and thats about how long it takes to no longer try to coast over pot holes and down hill lol. So Ihave rode about 5000 miles fixed and it is like I am one with the bike now and only time I ever try to coast is after I been on a Schwinn cruiser for a couple days maybe cause of bad weather.

    So my suggestion is get on your fixed and no other kind of bike for at least 3 months. Dont go to fast in case you forget try to coast and the bike breaks your leg or throws you off the bike. Soon you will be an extention of your fixed gear bike (-:

    I have rode almost every style of bike and nothing is near as fun as riding fixed. I just love it and my knees are fine.
    Last edited by howeeee; 05-02-15 at 09:22 AM.

  15. #15
    Junior Member pitbullfan's Avatar
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    I too initially forgot I couldn't coast. I never crashed due to it, but it took some time to get used to. Be careful making sharp turns to avoid pedal strike...that was the scariest thing that has happened to me in 3 years of riding fixed.

    But stick with it. I find that now when I ride with a freewheel I almost NEVER coast. Which I can only assume makes you a better cyclist.

    Cheers,
    Pit

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    wish I could tell you you won't get hurt. Here is my experience. I used to be a track racer and competitive road skater. I was at Eldorado Park in Long Beach California one Saturday. I was 46 years old btw. I had skated 10 k as my morning skate workout and a bunch of fast short track guys showed up on their inline skates and wanted to be bike paced. I had my track bike with one front brake and agreed to pace them at 20+ for 10 k and then take them into a sprint at 28. We did the 10 and I took it up to 28. They were all hanging on in a pace line behind me. Suddenly the resident flock of geese moved in mass across the road in front of me. I tried to slow myself with legs and front brake. I went over the bars into the ground at 28 (it was shown on my speedo as max speed for that ride). I was knocked cold. My helmet was cracked. I had temporary amnesia. I lost the use of my right arm for 7 months due to severe brachial nerve plexis damage. My rear wheel was potato chipped.

    When you ride on the road with a fixed gear you never know what is going to come at you. Racing on the track is safer. No geese. No cars. not kids riding the wrong way. When you are going fast and you have to panic stop all that stored energy goes right up your leg and rockets you over the bars. It may never happen and just because you have been riding a fixy for years with no incidents is no guarantee.

  17. #17
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    ^^^ Even riding with a freewheel, this can happen if you panic grab the front brake. Bad accidents can happen on any type of bicycle, and I totally disagree that a fixed gear is any more dangerous than any other setup. Your mistake was not anticipating the danger in the first place.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JeremyLC's Avatar
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    Well... My first fixed gear experience was at the Superdrome. I bought a (track legal) fixed gear bike of my own shortly thereafter*. What helped calm my nerves was a good set of brakes and time in the saddle.


    *) I have yet to have the time and opportunity to take it up there to ride, though.

  19. #19
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyLC View Post
    Well... My first fixed gear experience was at the Superdrome. I bought a (track legal) fixed gear bike of my own shortly thereafter*. What helped calm my nerves was a good set of brakes and time in the saddle.

    *) I have yet to have the time and opportunity to take it up there to ride, though.
    I quit track racing 2 years ago, and haven't ridden at the Superdrome since then. It would cost me $20 in gas and tolls to drive there, plus another $10 to ride the track for a couple of hours, so I just ride on the road now. All my fixed gear bikes have a front brake and comfortable bars. Oh, and I also have a water bottle cage so I can ride more than half an hour without getting dehydrated. So far no accidents, but then I don't ride at 28 mph with wild geese in the road.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  20. #20
    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    I freaked out the first time I took mine out with the hub on the FG side. Stop pedaling, see what happens, that will be a wake up call. Just start off easy, some neighborhood rides and easy short distance rides. You will grow accustomed to it rather quickly. It isn't for everyone, but once I became comfortable on a fixed gear I fell in love with it. Never thought I would do it, was scared, couldn't imagine not being able to coast. Now I take a geared bike out and coasting seems like a wussy thing to do.

    One of the things that I love about riding fixed is the control you have over the speed of the bike using just your legs. Put a brake on there, but as you ride more, you will see that your legs and amount of pressure you pedal with really can control your speed. Pedal strikes are my biggest fear closely followed by a bad habit I brought on myself of always coasting and leveling my feet out to hop over stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
    You wouldn't skid in your tidy whiteys, why would you skid on your bike?

  21. #21
    Senior Member JeremyLC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    ...$20 in gas and tolls to drive there, plus another $10 to ride the track for a couple of hours...

    Yeah, that and the fact that I'd have to drive to work (I normally bike), then spend a good 2+ hours on the round trip to and from the place AFTER work. :-/

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    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    I take the Dori approach..."Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling..."

    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

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    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
    Just keep riding. You'll get used to it with time.

    True dat! It'll pass over time
    // Martin
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/tuxxdk

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    Junior Member willhenry's Avatar
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    When I first converted to fixed, I rode happily around town for 2 weeks. Just when I though I was pro, I sped down a big hill and my feet slipped off the pedals. I got into a crazy speed wobble and saw my life flash before my eyes.

    Anyway, after a harrowing few seconds the hill levelled out and I regained control. I stopped and tried to regain a shred of dignity by pretending to check my wheels and brakes (as though it was some mechanical glitch and not my lack of experience that caused the near crash!)

    Anyway, after that I learned to manage my speed more effectively. I think speed management is essential when riding fixed... gotta keep things nice and smooth. Like you, I still get nervous now and then.

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    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    @willhenry No foot retention?

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