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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 08-04-05, 09:21 PM   #1
dougbock
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from unicycle + road to fixed gear

Hey,

I live in Atlanta where there seem to be few fixed gear riders that are not delivery guys...but just got back from a week in Portland where they seam to be everywhere, and I admit that my initial attraction was simply that the bikes look so cool. I was not interested because I am 42 with a 6 year old and a wife that I prefer to come home to every night w/o anything broken...I assumed they were inherently dangerous, and my bike shop looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested I might convert my 1980 trek 460 road bike to a fixie. But all I have read from fixie riders has very been very positive, and I now also see not only the asthetic elegence, but also the potential riding elegence as well.Bla Bla Bla, enough background, here is my question.

I ride a unicycle quite well, and it is obviously fixed gear, I can do so up big hills, backwards, with one foot, down a few stairs, etc. My guess is that this skill would serve me well going fixie, and would probably mean that I could/should go straight to no brakes/no free wheel. Any comments or advice from vets, and especially vets who ride unicycles as well?
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Old 08-04-05, 09:38 PM   #2
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hahaha... I love it, "I am 42 with a 6 year old and a wife that I prefer to come home to every night w/o anything broken" from the uni rider thinking about a fixed gear.

Hilarious.

No really, get that show out on the road. Sellout crowds, dude, sellouts.

You're like a trapeze artist worried about getting hurt on the playground swings.
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Old 08-04-05, 09:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the encouragement, but remember that unicycles have a 1 X 1 cadence ratio...kinda hard to get going fast...

One more question. Ever seen someone riding a fixie backwards? Why? Why the f*%#*not is what I say, but I am told by many I am a strange man.
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Old 08-04-05, 09:56 PM   #4
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Sure, it's not uncommon. My own backwards riding skills have gone downhill. I used to be better and it seems like the more I ride forward the worse I get at backwards. I have no explanation apart from, "I suck." http://www.oldskooltrack.com/files/images/june360.avi

Cycilsts have been riding fixed gear safety bikes for over a century, it's hardly uncharted territory. You'll be fine.
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Old 08-04-05, 10:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bostontrevor
You're like a trapeze artist worried about getting hurt on the playground swings.
well put. apply some of those insane unicycling balance skills to fixed-gear riding, throw in some mileage (experience), and you will be the master of your machine. ...and your trick skillz will 0wn.
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Old 08-04-05, 10:24 PM   #6
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A fixed gear is just a unicycle with a second wheel. What size uni do you ride?

I think you'll adapt just fine! Put a brake on it for when you get your speed up, and have fun.

peace,
sam
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Old 08-05-05, 07:06 AM   #7
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I just started riding fixed this spring. I rode a unicycle a little bit in high school (5+ years ago) and I can tell you the following challenges that will still come up, minor as they may be:

1. Pedal strike. Is nearly impossible to do on a uni, but I did it on the way to work this morning. Just be careful.
2. Toe overlap. Again, with no front wheel, it can't happen. Just be careful when turning at slow speeds.

That's it. You'll probably be doing no-handed trackstands, backwards figure-8's, and wheelies for blocks now.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:27 AM   #8
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Thanks...Pedal strike? Is that when you smash you pedal on your shin? I definitely figured out how to do that on my Uni...will try to avoid that, as well as backwards figure 8's.

Take care.

Doug
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Old 08-05-05, 09:29 AM   #9
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Pedal strike is when your pedal strikes the road on high speed turns because of serious lean. It all has to do with your pedal being at the bottom of the rotation when you are in the middle of your turn.

I read somewhere that the guy who won the track stand comp this year at the mesenger worlds did so because he was a unicycle rider and it translated really well into track stands.

Wish I had some of that experience. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 08-05-05, 09:33 AM   #10
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pedal strike is when you smash your pedal on the road (or curb or whatever else is below it). Its only really an issue with certain frame geometries. if you buy a frame designed for fixed and don't increase the crank length you probably won't need to worry about it. Just be careful on high speed turns, but really that's true for any cycling...
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Old 08-05-05, 12:14 PM   #11
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Hey Doug you should come see me at Bicycle South, I wont look at you like your crazy.
We love to help people with conversions. We also have a weekly fixie ride thursday nites at 7:30.
peace,
Joshua
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Old 08-07-05, 09:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrOrbea
Hey Doug you should come see me at Bicycle South, I wont look at you like your crazy.
We love to help people with conversions. We also have a weekly fixie ride thursday nites at 7:30.
peace,
Joshua
Thannks Joshua...I will stop by...almost bought merlin from you guys a few years ago...bought a Klein instead, sorry.
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Old 08-08-05, 06:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dougbock
Thanks...Pedal strike? Is that when you smash you pedal on your shin?
Good Lord, I still have the scars.
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Old 08-08-05, 07:08 AM   #14
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"... go straight to no brakes/no free wheel..."

dude, and everybody else. there isn't a progression or continuum with fixie riding. it's not like, first you flip to the fixed side of yr hub, then you take off the back break,then you take off that flop.freewheel side, then you go brakeless. it's not like each step is indicative of how good you are as a rider. there's no static set of criteria that determines what class of rider somebody is in. it's just their preference and their needs. please can we blow this "best riders = no hand brakes = huge testicles" bullsh.it out of the water?
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Old 08-08-05, 07:25 AM   #15
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Hey Doug.

I once could ride a unicycle quite well. I'm a 44 family man and built up my fixed gear bike last year. I don't think the unicycle helped me any with riding the fixed gear, but riding fixed was not hard at all. Then again, I have a front brake and I use it.

Me and several other summertime roadies rode fixed together all winter and it was very good training.
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