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  1. #1
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    What was your path to SS/Fixed gear?

    Potential newbie here
    I looked in my garage and realized that I had too many geared bikes.

    I'm wondering about other cyclists first steps toward SS/FG (ignoring the fact that we ALL started as Single speed bikers in our youths')

    My first baby steps:

    I'm looking to convert the Dawes Galaxy (a fine old steed) to Single Speed (alas, my knees will demand a freewheel).
    But I've been timid about the whole process (cost, procedure, the idea of ripping all the old stuff off the bike). I've done plenty of research and the folks down at Revolution Cycle in Madison have given me a wealth of info.

    LAst night I decided to take a step and removed the Front Derailleur along with DT lever and cable, and the large Chain ring. Remounted small chainring (fits tight, but will need some shorter bolts). I rode the bike around as a 5-speed cruiser and it did indeed feel a bit liberating to have less 'stuff' on the bike. I rekon I should ride it and keep it in certain gears to figure which gear gives me what I need. The small chainring is a 40 so I'm leaning towards a 17-18 on the back. Bike has some straight bars, but I'm thinking some downbars will be better.

    I'm selling some old bike stuff to pay to have a wheel built right w/track hub (don't try to convince me to use what I got...) plus the cog... planning to use it as a winter commuter.

    I'm just curious about how some of you came to the lean and mean

  2. #2
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    Heard about it, read about it on this forum and others, including Sheldon Brown. Then my main road bike broke a chain stay. I found an old frame on Ebay for $20 that was I was planning to move parts over to. Then Fuji stepped up and said they would replace my frame. So the $20 frame sat and I started collecting parts until I built up my fixie.

    It will never replace my road bike, but I love it for commutes, bad weather/winter rides and the like. We often have fun rides/pub crawls, and it's my steed of choice for those, as well.

    Plus track stands & riding backwards freaks people out!
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  3. #3
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    First, I heard about messengers riding brakeless fixies. Then I found sheldonbrown.com and the FGG. Started reading about fixie/SS riding, found BF. Realised I have 28 superfluous gears. I relised I'd love a light, silent, simple, elegant, reliable bike for commuting that doesn't get stolen. I only had an MTB, so I built up my road fixie/SS when I had some money and free time. Loving it.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
    Bike on flickr and on FGG

  4. #4
    Two brakes good
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    Sheldon Brown. I was looking for info on Sturmey-Archer 3-speeds - I've never liked deraillers. Now I have 6 freewheel removal tools.

  5. #5
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    my younger brother gave me his old road bike, and when i took it into the shop to fix it up one of the guys was working on making one of his old bikes a single-speed, so he helped me through the process

  6. #6
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    I saw an old road bike with a bmx freewheel parked on campus one day back in 1997. I think I was struck by the elegant simplicity and the clean lines of that bike. Until then I had never seen a singlespeed conversion. I guess I thought that it might be fun to convert my old '82 Trek 12-speed (aka Big Blue) into a singlespeed. I bought a $12 bmx freewheel and screwed it on to my old freewheel hub. Removed the small ring, shortened the chain and I was off. I started out with a 52x16 gearing. The chainline was off by a mile, but I didn't know about such things back then. About 3 years later I stumbled upon the Sheldon Brown website while trying to overhaul an old Raleigh 3-speed that I had found found in a neighbor's dumpster. I read the fixed-gear conversion testimonials on his website. Soon after, I converted Big Blue into a fixed-gear by buying a proper (albeit cheap) rear wheel with cog and lockring.

  7. #7
    anarchy burger skelly's Avatar
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    Every geared bike I ever owned stayed in the most comfortable gear the whole time, maybe I'd change it if i hit a steep hill but most of the time I'd just forget about the gears. Why keep all these parts on my bike that I don't use, singlespeed just made sense.

    As for fixed, I just wanted to try fixed gear just to see what it was like. I never met anyone who had one so I just built my own. Of course now I see them everywhere, I guess I just didn't notice them before.

  8. #8
    Senior Member auroch's Avatar
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    I broke the derailler hanger on my old MTB. I still can't figure out how to fix it.

    jeff

  9. #9
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    About 5-6 years ago I was in NYC for my birthday, walking around. I saw a bunch of messengers. At this point I was just getting into road cycling. While looking at some knock-off stuff being sold out of a garbage bag, this guy rides up and skids right up to the "Seller" and starts talking to him. I ended up talking to him about his bike and he explained the whole fixed-gear concept and stuff to me. Guy's name was Matt, he was riding some kind of un-marked lugged steel track frame. Had bullhorn bars, twisted spokes, etc. I thought it was really cool.

    Then I kinda forgot about it for a while. I got into road cycling. I got back out of road cycling. A little over a year ago I picked it up again at college and started racing. My campus bike was giving me crap and I remembered Matt. I began to talk about maybe building it into a FG with my buddy who now is my roommate. He ended up building one first (a sweet vintage Motobecane), and I rode it a few times and knew for sure it was what i wanted. I made my campus bike into a fixed gear. The bottom bracket shell ended up cracking on that frame. I got my current frame and built it into something I really like and enjoy. I'm not planning to build up another one with a bike I recently aquired.
    Checkmate Cycling Products, LLC
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  10. #10
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    I was a dork when I first got into it. That hasn't really changed, but my taste in frames has gotten MUCH better.

  11. #11
    Better than you since 83! junioroverlord's Avatar
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    My deralier exploded on my department store schwinn moutain bike, so I kinda had no choice. Then my friend's friend came over with his wacky bike that could pedal backwards and had no brakes wearing a bag on his back with a seatbelt buckle as a quick release and the rest is history.
    "Riding bikes on the street is the fuggin jam!" Juvi-Kyle

  12. #12
    heliocentrist cicadashell's Avatar
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    30 years ago, in high school, a couple of the older guys i idolized had track bikes and i thought they were the coolest thing in the world (to be sure, i thought everything these guys did was the coolest). 25 years later i found a track bike at a garage sale down the street from my house (my son was looking for a skateboard) and i recalled, in a flash, those old days i had forgotten. once i got the bike up and running, i fell in love with it; there was no turning back. after a couple of years i began to research the bike on the web; that's when i found fgg, and sheldon, and the rest of y'all. who'd a thunk it?

  13. #13
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    I became curious after seeing someone I used to cycle with on a Bianchi Pista. I searched around on the web, including here & Sheldon Brown. I figured it would be fun & a great training tool for road racing. Now, we have acquired 3 (a Bianchi Pista, IRO Mark V, & a Kogswell Model G) since February. I built the Kogswell for my girlfriend who started cycling less than a year ago. My son rides the Bianchi. He did 35.5mph a couple times & won the sprint with a group of road racers (on their muti-speeds) the other day. He was riding with 48/18 gearing. That translates to a cadence of 170. And, I'm riding the IRO. That's pretty much all I'm riding now & I'll save my Litespeed for racing.

  14. #14
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurdd50
    I'm looking to convert the Dawes Galaxy (a fine old steed) to Single Speed (alas, my knees will demand a freewheel).
    That seems like a non-sequitur to me. I know of no evidence that suggests fixed gear is any harder on your knees.

    I do know that it is more FUN! Try it before you reject it. Your Galaxy would make a very nice fixer.

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed

    Sheldon "Fixed Is More Fun" Brown

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    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
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  15. #15
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    In deference to Sheldon, perhaps I should say:
    I'm looking to convert the Dawes Galaxy (a fine old steed) to Single Speed (alas, my knees MAY demand a freewheel).
    Alright, alright... mebbe you are right... I think I just need to creep into it slowly, with a freewheel and brake. If they load a flip flop track hub on the wheel, mebbe I will have the option of a fixed gear on the other side... and then I can try the skippity-dee-doo dah. I'm an old over-fifty-geezer with multiple knee operations and all the rot.

    I broke the derailler hanger on my old MTB. I still can't figure out how to fix it.
    reminds me of one comment the Rev Cycles boy said...
    "there are hundreds of bikes around Madison with rusted derailleurs... they are single speed by default they just don't know it"

  16. #16
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    A former roommate of mine had an old trek conversion. I only lived with the guy for a couple months, but I rode his bike a couple times and it was fun. I've been thinking about getting a ss/fixie for a while now. I think I'll actually buy one by christmas time. I'm not sure if I should buy one off the rack or fix up an old road bike yet.

  17. #17
    Senior Member umpadumpy's Avatar
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    I converted my Schwinn Traveler to S/S merely to find out why someone would want only one gear. Did it with spare parts and bargain basement new stuff. In the process I have come to appreciate the silent running and the cheap repairs. I get more enjoyment out of my <$200 investment than I ever did with my more expensive Cannondale. In fact, I sold the C-dale last month.
    "Somewhere in the world, someone is quoting something you don't even remember saying."

  18. #18
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    Read the SS/Fixed forums for the last couple months, ran into 3 folks that have fixies here, got to ride them (two of them) and the realization that 'geared' is only fun when I am sick or feeling lazy.

    So...I'm ordering an IRO Rob Roy (with a flip flop hub hopefully) and the rest will be history...until I save up enough to buy an IRO Angus next year sometime. My geared bike will be demoted to backup bike, or set up for touring perhaps, either way - it'll become numero dos. I can't stand the idea of parting with any bike really anymore, with the mileage and the time spent with them, I feel like they've got souls now; how pantheonistic of me.
    THE DEVIL

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    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  19. #19
    psn
    psn is offline
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    When I was a wee lad, I had a Huffy BMX bike that I rode the **** out of before moving on to an early Giant mountain bike. Then I stopped riding in high school and college...never saw the messengers in downtown Baltimore while I was there. When I got to Boston last summer, I picked up my current Giant, but I also saw a bunch of fixies/singlespeeds on the streets (probably some of you guys before I met you) and got interested.

    After figuring out what the hell those bikes were, I checked out sheldonbrown.com (just like everyone else) and started to learn about them and get psyched. So this summer, noticing that I was lagging on my "ride everyday" plan, I threw down and got my Jamie Roy off eBay, figuring that if I didn't ride and had two bikes sitting around, I'd feel like a real *******. Sure enough, that worked, and now I've offloaded the Giant on my better half, while building up The Steamroller of Doom (just got the fork cut some more).

  20. #20
    Straight outta the SF Bay sucka free's Avatar
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    Two things.

    1) I moved to Alameda CA from San Francisco. If you aren't familiar with the San Francisco Bay area, it's a flat island in the middle of the bay. I didn't think I needed gears to get around and a fixed gear hit the spot.

    2) Read sheldon brown's site on fixed gear bicycles and was sold.

  21. #21
    dances with bicycle 46x17's Avatar
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    "If you aren't familiar with the San Francisco Bay area, it's a flat island in the middle of the bay. "

    Could have sworn there were some hills here this morning...
    Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
    -- Soren Kierkegaard

  22. #22
    The King of Town manboy's Avatar
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    I tried a friend's. Strangest thing I ever rode, but I had to have one.

    Any possibility that fixed would be better for knees? It seems that with a low enough gear and a good set of brakes, it might help strengthen the knees even more in a low-impact sort of way.

    I'm not trying to shoot anyone down, just sayin'.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    As I was getting into biking and bike repair I was reading lots of websites (this one, sheldonbrown, various others) naturally I saw a lot of stuff about fixed gear also. Some time passed and I got a nice new geared bike, then decided I wanted to convert my old bike that I learned repair on to fixed gear. However I quickly realized that it wouldn't work super well (/real/ bad toe overlap (it's a small frame and has fenders), bottom bracket that is in bad shape, bent fork, just not worth it). So I started looking at getting another bike to build into a conversion. I rode (geared) the Chicago Century with some of these folks and got more excited about it, and soon after got a good deal on an old Colnago perfect for converting. I'm still a fixie newbie, I've only got a bit over 100 fixed miles on me so far. Oh, and I rode solostyle's Pista like the day before I finished my build, but only for a block or two.

  24. #24
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    raced (competitive) and track (fun) in the early 90's
    exploded my knees, had surgery and stopped riding

    wanted to start riding again 10 years later, but was broke and the only one of my bikes left was an old fixie conversion i'd left in my mom's basement.

    as soon as i got on it i remembered why riding fixed was so great (and geared too, but fixed is more, purer fun).

  25. #25
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manboy
    I tried a friend's. Strangest thing I ever rode, but I had to have one.

    Any possibility that fixed would be better for knees? It seems that with a low enough gear and a good set of brakes, it might help strengthen the knees even more in a low-impact sort of way.

    I'm not trying to shoot anyone down, just sayin'.
    dunno about fixed being better for knees, but i DO know that trail-running has done wonders for my stapled-and-glued together knees, it's like having brand new ones.

    ymmv.

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