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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 01-17-06, 12:57 AM   #1
bigbikerbrian
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i was reading that little hipster thread, and someone talked about how they tried out a fixed bike cos it was becoming cool, and they wanted to know what the big deal was. it made me think about how i got into this whole thing, and i thought it might be cool to share stories about how we all got into it.
i figure ill probably get some jokers, but since were a community (right?), maybe we could do some bonding over our FG memories.
me first. i was working at the bike co-op at my college, and there was a guy there who was ex-SF messenger. he rode his fixed up to campus everyday, and i always wondered what it was like. id never heard of anything like it before, and it seemed like an unnecessarily difficult way to ride a bike. then he let me try it out, and soon i was building my own little suicide fixie. unfortunately, in my ignorance and my haste, i forgot to put a lockring on before its virgin ride. dang near killed myself and a few dozen pedestrians walking around between classes. but it was fun. and from then on, i knew what i wanted out of a bike.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:06 AM   #2
curlybro
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Having my bike slide out at 20 mph tonight and sliding right into an intersection that was thankfully deserted. I was going straight as an arrow, but my bike decided it would rather be horizontal. My front wheel was probably still spinning 20 mph when I finally came to a stop. God I'm sore.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:08 AM   #3
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First fixie ride:I wanted to try racing at the track...the rental bikes are fixed...
ta da!!

I definately am not hip!!!

Scary fixie memory: I was doing a full speed 200 meter leadout and my foot pulled out of the clipless pedal with my partner right behind me.

Scars: Guess where...on the track..in a beginners session..riding behind a group of begineers with regulars(racers on their 2-4K bikes above) hear an accident happen in front, far enough ahead to thinkg(BAD IDEA) see some room underneath them and decide to pull a Nascar and go low and onto the grass...as I reach the edge of the apron, the sliding bikes catch me and I go airborne. Deeply bruised hip, asphalt arm and leg, cracked helmet.

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Old 01-17-06, 01:10 AM   #4
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no memories, just scars.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:13 AM   #5
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my first fixed ride, at pistaboy's age, testing out my big bro's GT in the hood
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Old 01-17-06, 01:18 AM   #6
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I move/ed around the world a lot growing up, as in more than a dozen high schools. If I was lucky enough to land in a town with a bikeshop I tried to work there and ride with whatever bike "scene" there was. I started out on XC mountianbikes growing up, got into roadbikes when I moved to flat farmland areas, then most recently raced mountaincross in the smoky mountians when I went to college in the south.
Moved to NYC where riding fixed is pretty huge. Most of my "bike" friends here that aren't roadies rode fixed gear. As an ex-bike mechanic, I met my current GF when she asked me for bike advice. We built up a fixed conversion together, and I had a blast riding her bike in the city when she left for a week. So yea, meeting the girlie through bikes is probably my best fixed-related memory... that and nearly mowing down 10 people in front of Madison Square Garden the first time I tried to stop without the front brake.

I kinda realized that the city was eating my roadbike alive so I decided to put some money into a citybike for non racing use. So yea, I'm a johnny-come-lately, but I've been bike obsessed for the past thirteen years or so it's nice to have some exposure to a new way of riding.

Last edited by AfterThisNap; 01-17-06 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:15 AM   #7
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i rode my friend's windsor hour and thought it was pretty cool, so then i ghetto geared my ross 10spd into a fixed and loved it, i rode that thing everywhere until it broke, then replaced the rear wheel and got a cog and lockring, rode it for a month and then got my fuji track. I liked the feeling of being connected with the ground, so to speak.

I haven't had any accidents yet really, i fell one day while turning around to talk to a friend, the front wheel got stuck in a hole and my foot got stuck in the clip. And i did get a warning from a police officer tonight for running a redlight.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:49 AM   #8
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my how I started riding fixed story isnt great, suicide to windsor hour to panasonic track 4000 all in under a year,

My best memory is my first ride in NYC on a track bike after my first reallybad accident, It was amazing I felt alive and it made me so rediculously happy, but yeah, I just love my bike.

xvx
wes
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Old 01-17-06, 04:21 AM   #9
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began as a messenger one fall season on my roadie, and as soon as snow came, i quickly realized i did not want to deal with maintenance, corrosion, etc., and built up a fixie. immediately, i felt like a kid again with no thoughts about gears, cadence, etc. and i just rode. now, the roadie is only used for long-distance training rides. plus, i felt silly (and excessive) using a full roadie for my grocery/beer/bar runs, and for riding around the city (not for work) with a full complement of gears and only ever using a couple.
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Old 01-17-06, 06:20 AM   #10
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1996 = I bought this broken bike that would not coast with a barely functioning front brake, flat metal pedals, and a newish blue paint job.

Rode the thing everywhere and the "not coasting" factor was not bothering me anymore but I prefered it.

Rapidly I became fit enough to move faster than the average speed of public transportation.

9 years later I came across the "fixed gear gallery" and fond memories of that funky elemental bike came to me. I wanted one. I got a conversion that works just fine for me.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:30 AM   #11
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last friday, while trackstanding for two light cycles and having nice ass yelled at me by a bunch of girls....or getting the your crazy, it doesnt coast and your riding in the snow? speech
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Old 01-17-06, 09:44 AM   #12
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been riding bikes since i was a kid. I got into mountain biking with some friends when I was 15. Met some roadies my last year of college, so I added that to my repertoire. When I moved to Florida the mountain bike got put in the corner and never used.
Then one day I came across bike forums and saw this thing about fixed gear. I started checking out fgg and was struck by how beautiful many of those bikes are.
The bug never went away so I converted and old schwinn this fall.
I still have a nice road bike, but I only use it for longer weekend rides. the fixie is my commuter and my errand bike. It's nice to be able to walk into work/walmart/library without slipping around on my cleats
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Old 01-17-06, 10:26 AM   #13
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Hadn't ridden a bike in years and started riding my dad's old aluminum trek roadie for a means of transportation and fitness around the city (DC). This lasted for a year and then I began noticing that the best riders--those with the most control and grace--all rode fixed. Watching messengers skip-skid-stop over metro grates and in and out of the way of pedestrians was truly a thing of beauty. Bought a second hand track bike and have ridden it everyday since for the last year. It has become an obsession.
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Old 01-17-06, 10:34 AM   #14
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The first time I was cut off by a cab and ran into the back of him. After I picked my self up off his trunk deck I removed his mirror quite gracefully and continued my way.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:16 AM   #15
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I used to race TT in the early-mid 80s and my dad helped me build up his old road bike into a fixed gear to start riding for training.

I no longer race (on the road) but ride fixed exclusively. I'm not as fast but am having more fun.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:31 AM   #16
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ridding through a large, tight group of people and weaving through them with no brake(too broke at the time, but ive got one now just in case) thats fun.

ive said it before, but it wont hurt. i was in champaign, il and at a REO speedwagon race on uiuc's quad and some guy road up on a shiny blue fixed gear i snuck a ride on the thing and didnt know what was going on after i got bucked and realized there were no brake, then after the initial shock i started having fun.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theritor
ridding through a large, tight group of people and weaving through them with no brake(too broke at the time, but ive got one now just in case) thats fun.

ive said it before, but it wont hurt. i was in champaign, il and at a REO speedwagon race on uiuc's quad and some guy road up on a shiny blue fixed gear i snuck a ride on the thing and didnt know what was going on after i got bucked and realized there were no brake, then after the initial shock i started having fun.


REO Speed wagon race??? will there be another one? it should have ended at REO speedwagon way or at least gone by there
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Old 01-17-06, 12:23 PM   #18
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way dug the look (which makes me a prime candidate for a hipster i suppose ). by look i mean the hardcore simplicity and austerity even of the bikes. i think most derailleur (see i can't even spell it!) road bikes are kinda ugly and ALL mountain bikes definitely so, what with all that sh1t comin' off 'em all over the place and weird angles and all. and then i read up on fixed gear on sheldon brown's website. i went over to harris cyclery in west newton, ma where he holds court and got one. now it's all i think about and do mostly.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:41 PM   #19
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from before i joined this board:

i was on a new bike riding up lafayette, rode past a black dude about my age or so, riding a white level, turned left onto great jones, the dude rode up behind me, told me my seat was a tad high and that i'd be more comfortable if i lowered it, then he turned north on broadway.

no-one rides against broadway traffic if they don't have to, so he'd made that turn off of lafayette just to help a neophypte. he was right about the seat height.

i said thanks at the time but in case you're reading this, thanks again ceya
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Old 01-17-06, 01:17 PM   #20
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i have ridden bikes since a child. norco mx, with the single shock. a nishiki ten speed, tons of cruisers over the years...when i was in my early twenties a friend and i used to find trashed road bikes (back when people used to just abandon old bikes) around town and strip them down to single speeds, removing brakes and all and race eachother around the city during daytime summer beer drinking. had no idea about fixed gears at the time but remember really liking the look of a stripped down bike(wish i had known then!). flash forward to 3 years ago where i was living in berlin and bought a decent road bike. loved the speed and ease of this fast little bike. berlin got me seriously riding again. got back to canada and my mechanic friend built me a single speed. he was riding a fixed gear and i tried his. loved it, went out and bought a fixed cog and have never looked back. started with a conversion and have just now got my first track frame. riding fixed has completely re-kindled my love for bikes...i'm hooked now.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:20 PM   #21
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i ususally don't remembe ra lot of my best times on my bike because they usually involve shants, juvi-kyle and LOTS of beer.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:30 PM   #22
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i remember when a friend of mine told me track bikes can be ridden backwards. cool. a remember another friend converting his bike. i asked him to stop, and he made a funny motion with his leg. i thought that was really dumb and swore i'd never ride a fixed gear bike.

moved from portland to boise, where fixed riding isn't as big. but i did happen to go back at a time when more boise kids were starting to ride bikes, including a fixie rider i made friends with. he gave me a much better description of how fxed gears work and some of the important basics, and from that point on, i decided i wanted a fixed gear.

first ride memory...being really surprised when the pedals came up on their own. really weird.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:53 PM   #23
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In mid-2005 I lost my driver's license due to a history of seizures, and realized I needed to get back into biking, a passion I had in high school when I commuted on an MTB and rode a lot of trails.

In my research about refurbing my playa-dusted old bike I found Sheldon's site and happened upon the fixed-gear section. After reading the testimonials I knew I had to give it a shot.

Travis at Freewheel on Hayes recommended I try out a Pista, saying they were a decent value and easy to upgrade if I wanted to over time. I didn't have the scratch for a new one so I found one for sale on Craigslist..

I went to the guy's house for a test ride and as I took off, he said, "have you ever ridden a fixie before?", I said no and took off. After rocketing up and down a few hills and feeling genuinely scared/inspired/etc I plunked down my cash and rode away smiling.

---

Funny fixie crash memory: Riding through a pedestrian tunnel on a wet day. Wet tires, wet tile floor. I take my foot off the pedals like a cheeky bastard, ride down the slope, through the flat, then up a small slope on the other side. I go to use the (front only) brake to stop as I can't use my feet, and whoops! There goes the only FRONT TIRE SKID I've ever experienced, and about 20 seconds later I'm picking myself up off the floor, whimpering with a banged-up knee.. lol
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Old 01-17-06, 02:03 PM   #24
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until 2001, i hadn't ridden a bike at all since 8th grade (i'm 27). the bike i had in 8th grade, amusingly enough, had no brakes. it was a Dyno BMX that my friend graciously gave me, but not after removing the rear brake for himself. i found out later he had stolen it just to replace his brake. i kept meaning to get a brake, but never did, and rode that thing everywhere for 2 years. all my right shoes had that groove in them from tucking my foot in between the seatstays. i then decided that it wasn't cool to own a bike if you were a real skater, so i sold it. in 2001 i joined a band in DC that my friend collin was in. he had been messengering since we got outta high school, and now had one of those blue cannondale alum. tracks. i would ride it around the neighborhood, and scare the **** out of myself. for some reason, i didn't bite fixed right then, but i got SS. i built myself a ss schwinn conversion, and began commuting to work and riding everywhere. a couple more ss convos, then a redline monocog. by this time, late 2003, bikes had taken over all my interest other than playing music. i ended up moving from DC to philly for my current band in early 2004, and finally decided to make the jump to fixed. i have only coasted on a bike once since then, after test riding a SS convo i had built for a lady friend...it seriously was the weirdest sense of lack of control...it felt so foreign.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:28 PM   #25
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i remember my first time riding something that wasn't the old trek mtb from my childhood. i was running an errand for a friend and using her bike. it was my first time on a single speed, first time on something with narrow tires, and as i was flying down 2nd ave i could barely believe that a bike could be so fast and effortless. since then i was hooked. did some reading, thought fixed seemed cool, haven't been able to pry me off the bike since.
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