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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 11-06-05, 12:08 AM   #1
abeyance
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Why did you "get fixed"

When I was in college about six years ago, i rode my gary fisher mountain bike to parties. Inevitably, some drunk frat boy would ask if he could ride it. I usually relented, but on many occasions it would result in a pinch flat or a broken spoke. I wanted a bike that most people can't ride.
I had read about track bikes somewhere and decided I wanted one. I went to a local bike shop in my hometown in Maryland and asked if they had any. they happened to have a 56cm viner from the 70's with a bent handlebar (standard steel track drop). I guess someone had a really bad fall and decided track bikes weren't for them.I rode it around the block, forgot about the nonfreewheeling nature, and promply got thrown from the saddle. I regained control and decided the bike was for me. $250 later it was mine, plus another $120 for a clincher wheelset.
I started riding it to parties. When someone asked me to ride it, I would say "Sure, but it doesn't have any brakes and you can't stop pedalling" I don't think people grasped this concept when they were inebriated. I got an severe case of schiendfreud ( german for "happiness at the misfortune of others". leave it to the germans to have a word for that) when I would see someone bust their ass or ride into a parked car or curb. I even say an old black guy steal it and when he tried to ride away, he clipped his pedal going around a curve. I walked up to him as he was laying on the ground bleeding, took the bike, and said " You dumb prick, you got what you deserved".
I had the only track bike in my college, and it commanded respect. Even the bmx'ers gave me props when i took it to their track ( no jumps, just rolled with it). One asked me if he could give it a try. He rode it through the track and said "dude, you're nuts for riding this thing".
Track bikes are for me. A true 1 percenter I am.

Why did you "get fixed"?
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Old 11-06-05, 12:34 AM   #2
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i have never driven (never got a liscense or anything) and i eventually started realizing a mountain bike wasn't the best way to get around so i started looking into road bikes. i started browsing thrift stores and pawn shops and bought some road bikes that i thought were decent but the components sucked @ss and i eventually just stripped them off and started riding single speed. one of my friends moved down from milwaukee and had a fixed and it just made so much sense to me. i built up a conversion and then got a track'ish bike. no looking back since then.
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Old 11-06-05, 12:47 AM   #3
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A friend of mine had this bike, it looked like *****. The frame was like 4 different colors, it had these weird bars that pointed forwards, and only one brake. He took his wheel off and spun it, and that Phil Wood hub just spun and spun, so smoothly you could feel the weight shift when the valve went by. I thought it was awesome. I didn't ever think I could afford something like that. A year or two later I asked a different friend (who was my upstairs neighbor) if I could ride his fixed gear to the meeting we were going to. He said I could if I would clean the chain first. I said sure, he hopped in the shower, and I proceeded to cut the end of my index finger off. I told him we had to go to the hospital, he called a friend who had just been over, who graciously drove me to the ER. I lost my job (I couldn't lift boxes). I spent $80 on a Van Dessel wheel, another 40-50 on a cog/lockring, $20 on the cheapest (performance) tires I could find. Once the wheel finally came in (a month? two months later?) I put it on and started riding and LOVED it. My girlfriend and I got serious because she wanted to take care of me and my jacked up finger. We'd have broken up long ago if it hadn't been for that. I got a job at a bike co-op, then at a bike shop. I lost the bike co-op job, and now I'm a full time mechanic at the bike shop. I have other bikes, and I ride them, but there's just something special about the sort of bike that can change your life so drastically in 1 second or less.
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Old 11-06-05, 01:53 AM   #4
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He said I could if I would clean the chain first. I said sure, he hopped in the shower, and I proceeded to cut the end of my index finger off.
nice.
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Old 11-06-05, 03:49 AM   #5
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So I could ride a beautiful simple machine... after riding for the first time, I was in. That was 5 years and three fixed/track bikes ago...
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Old 11-06-05, 10:43 AM   #6
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How do you cut the end of your finger off cleaning a chain? Were you using a really sharp rag, or did you spin your finger into the chainring?
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Old 11-06-05, 11:54 AM   #7
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Oh, those old black guys. When will they realize that fixies are not for them?
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Old 11-06-05, 12:16 PM   #8
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How do you cut the end of your finger off cleaning a chain? Were you using a really sharp rag, or did you spin your finger into the chainring?

Sharp rag... heh. that made me chuckle. Actually, it was the cog what done it. I had the bike upside down, the wheel was spinning pretty quick, and the rag just got sucked into the cog and so did my finger. REALLY FAST. You don't even have time to think about it.
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Old 11-06-05, 01:52 PM   #9
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schadenfreude
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Old 11-06-05, 01:57 PM   #10
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Because it narrows my anger down.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:02 PM   #11
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....because no one else rode fixed in my bario.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:04 PM   #12
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... so I wouldn't pass on my genes.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:07 PM   #13
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...because i'm a hipster.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:26 PM   #14
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Cuz they're easier to maintain! Oh, and they look cool and give you "hardcore" cred with your non-riding friends.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:45 PM   #15
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Because I needed a bike for commuting and it was cheaper than a road bike. Before I rode it out of the store I had never been on a track bike and I didn't really know anything about them.
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Old 11-06-05, 02:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abeyance
I had the only track bike in my college, and it commanded respect. Even the bmx'ers gave me props when i took it to their track ( no jumps, just rolled with it). One asked me if he could give it a try. He rode it through the track and said "dude, you're nuts for riding this thing".
Track bikes are for me. A true 1 percenter I am.

Why did you "get fixed"?
Hahaha...damn dude it's just a bike.
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Old 11-06-05, 03:22 PM   #17
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because I already had 2 children.

Oh and I got a fixed BIKE because the simplicity appealed to me. I'm a bike nut, and I was looking for something different. Ever since I tried it I've been hooked.
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Old 11-06-05, 03:54 PM   #18
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I wanted a simple bike for commuting around campus and it looked like something that would fit the bill. I started with the idea of a conversion but then I realized I couldn't build anything for the price I could get a KHS complete through my school team. I just decided to buy it on the spot since it was so cheap. I had never ridden a track bike before I got my KHS. What a good decision.

Two years later, I like to pimp out my fixed more than I do my road bike. And it has really helped out my road game which is probably since I was riding fixed for a year in Copenhagen and not switching between the two. I like the feeling of riding a fixed gear since you can totally control it all through your legs and actually feel all the power rather than the derailleur and other parts taking away power.

It's one of my most favorite displines of cycling because you got to learn how to ride a bike all over again but this time I was fully aware of everything going on and can recall it all. I do remember riding in my childhood in the neighborhood but have no idea when things like the training wheels coming off occurred.
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Old 11-06-05, 04:44 PM   #19
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it made sense.
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Old 11-06-05, 05:57 PM   #20
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Oh, those old black guys. When will they realize that fixies are not for them?
Yeah, those old black guys, always with the bike stealing.
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Old 11-06-05, 07:31 PM   #21
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For me it all started with a singlespeed mountain bike. After getting addicted to that I decided I wanted the same simplicity and ease of maintenance in a bike dedicated to commuting, running errands around town, and just generally bumming around on.

Built a beater conversion from an old steel Nishiki frame, rode it for a while before upgrading the frame to an IRO Jamie Roy 'cause the Nishiki wasn't really comfortable enough for a 30 mi. r/t commute.

Recently re-built the Nishiki and it's back in its original role as a beater, around-town bike. Due to upgradeitis I wasn't comfortable leaving the IRO locked and unattended at various places around town for long periods of time, so it's been relegated to commuting/recreational riding.

-Trevor
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Old 11-06-05, 07:40 PM   #22
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I rode my friends track bike and had far too much fun to not get a fixie of my own.
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Old 11-06-05, 07:55 PM   #23
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Between Sheldon Brown & this forum, I thought getting fixed would be fun. My Fuji frame broke where the chainstay welds to the rear dropout. I was commuting a lot on the Fuji and getting ready to take a LCI seminar. Before I even contacted Fuji, I shopped Ebay and found an old Bianchi frame (that even fit me) to replace the Fuji. Got it for $40, including shipping.

However, Fuji came through and provided a new frame (lifetime warranty on steel frames), even though it took them three tries to get an intact frame shipped to me. You would think bike company would know how to package a frame for shipping.

So the old Fuji components went on the new Fuji frame, leaving me with the Bianchi frame still bare. I used parts I had on hand and bought others, building up the Bianchi frame as a fixed gear. I'm not totally pure of heart, since I run a front brake and have a dummy brake lever on the right.

The fixie is the bike I use for my short (5 mile one way) commute, using the Fuji for the longer (17 miles one way) commute (I work out of several different facilities). The fixie is also the ride of choice for shorter solo rides, rides with my younger son & parades.

The wife calls it 'Half a Bike', since it lacks many components in her eyes. I call it a fun ride.
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Old 11-06-05, 08:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiebrannan
schadenfreude
The peasant's prayer:

Lord, my family has been starving all winter. We toiled in the fields all summer and fall, and brought in as much food as we could. We rationed carefully throughout the snow storms and blizzards, and still we find ourselves running out of food with spring nowhere in sight. Our neighbors have suffered a similar fate; but they have a large pig. When their food runs out, they can kill the pig and eat well for the rest of the winter. My family has no livestock to slaughter.

Lord, if you would please... kill my neighbors' pig.
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Old 11-06-05, 09:21 PM   #25
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simplicity
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