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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-28-05, 08:30 AM   #1
Aeroplane
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Fixed + Railroad Tracks = ?

I've been riding my bike to work for a few weeks now, and even running some errands on it. It wasn't until yesterday that I first rode to the library on it. On the way there, there are some old railroad tracks that cross the road.

If I were on a freewheel bike, I'd just coast with my butt off of the seat. But the fixer (obviously) prevents this approach. I'd imagine this same problem occurs with people who ride fixed offroad. How do you approach it? Just stand up and charge through?
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Old 06-28-05, 08:36 AM   #2
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bunny hop?
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Old 06-28-05, 08:39 AM   #3
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Does that work for clearing both tracks, or just one?
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Old 06-28-05, 08:39 AM   #4
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i usually get out of the saddle a little bit, and skip the rear wheel over the tracks.
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Old 06-28-05, 08:43 AM   #5
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You learn to "coast". You just sort of unweight the saddle and continue through. Or you could bunny hop if you want style points.
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Old 06-28-05, 08:45 AM   #6
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i usually do a combo of just sucking in the bumps and standing over the seat. also with pot wholes i tend to let go or loosen my hold on the handle bars to avoid having all the hits transfer directly to me

I think your tires, size and air pressure will also add variances. i just switched from armadillos to some michelins and its so much smoothers. there is still a jolt, but i don't worry about my forks breaking off as much.

and obviously it will depend on how much the tracks raise above street level. they just redid the pads/ground around the tracks i ride over and its more even than it used to be.
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Old 06-28-05, 08:50 AM   #7
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I'll agree with everyone who has posted about hovering just over the seat while you keep pedaling. For the least chance of crashing, you should also approach the tracks from as close to perpendicular as possible. Otherwise your tires could slip on the slick metal.

I was hoping this would be a thread about riding fixed ON a railroad track. I've been pondering a rail bike since I was about 5 years old. That would be awesome.
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Old 06-28-05, 09:18 AM   #8
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A word of warning on trying to clear train tracks with a bunnyhop: watch out you don't come up short. I wrecked a rear wheel in a most spectacular fashion casing a train track.

My method for getting over tracks is one wheel at a time. Of course, this all depends on how short your wheel base is. You can come at them from an angle if you can't fit both wheels down between the tracks.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:01 AM   #9
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I think the act of taking your rear off the saddle while continuing to pedal is called "posting." It's effective.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:06 AM   #10
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word to the "posting" post. DO approach with at least the front wheel at perpendicular angle or you're toast.

the danger of railroad tracks has produced one of our loveliest yellow-diamond caution signs to date--that one of a bicyclist going ass over teakettle, about to incur a radial fracture. i think it's someone's avatar.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:51 AM   #11
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I usually pull a face plant. it's also effective as a braking method.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
bunny hop?
I would never rely on a fixed bunny hop. Unless you skip a bit to control your pedals, they are usually not optimal for hopping. Not that it can't be done, but I save hopping for emergency use only... after doing a face plant in a freak accident when I miscalculated the same bunny hop at a construction zone that I had successfully navigated daily for weeks, to the point of complacency.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:59 AM   #13
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Typically I will just get a bit out of the seat. If I am trying to be a bit complicated or the bumbs look rough, I will try to unweight the front then rear wheel. I am not sure how to explain this, but I think it ends up looking kind of like a rocking motion.

As for bunny hopping on a bike with a several inch drop from the seat to the bars, my hat is off to those of you who can do it. I have no idea how that would be done.
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Old 06-28-05, 11:30 AM   #14
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my fixed tends to roll over tracks as well as any other bike I've used. don't know what the big deal is....
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Old 06-28-05, 12:08 PM   #15
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You've got a good point there. The only other bike I've ever ridden is a fat-tired front-suspension mountian bike. That tends to take a lot of the shock out of bumps. My fix probably rolled just as well, it just let a lot more shock get to my hands. Looks like I'll be posting (haha) from here on. Thanks all.
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Old 06-28-05, 12:47 PM   #16
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just ride over it hit it headon what?
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Old 06-28-05, 02:52 PM   #17
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I ride over three sets of tracks twice daily, one is particulary rough. Just unweight your seat briefly over the tracks and keep a loose grip. Just make sure you hit them square when its wet.
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Old 06-28-05, 02:53 PM   #18
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are tracks not recessed in CT?
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Old 06-28-05, 04:37 PM   #19
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if you're "crossing" the tracks, you don't have much to worry about as long as you're at least 45* to perpendicular to the tracks. simply unweight the front wheel. the rear wheel can't "turn" into the groove and should follow right over with you. when riding parallel, i just make sure i have enough room to turn my front wheel to about 45* with the tracks, unweight the front, then unweight the rear as i go over.

some secondary advice, make sure you have good speed. the longer your wheel lingers over the groove, the better possibility it has of slipping in. i've crashed once on train tracks because it was raining and i was riding slowly across the tracks. i was kind of distracted and didn't fully unweight the front wheel and didn't anticipate rubber tires on wet steel. as soon as it hit the the rail it just slipped itself sideways right into the groove and i went right over the bars. thankfully i wasn't going fast, and i had a leather jacket on so i just slipped across wet pavement.
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