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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 04-26-06, 10:02 PM   #1
MrCjolsen
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Railroad tracks are evil bike eating monters from hell

Ok, I didn't crash, but almost. And it would have been my fault. Today I rode my first full commute on my fixed gear bike. For over two years I've done the same route on a road bike. On Industrial Blvd near Harbor Blvd. in West Sac. is a really bad diagnol RR crossing. What I always did was hopped the front wheel over the sections and my rear would follow.

Well, today I tried the same strategy on my fixed gear. I'm not sure if my rear wheel got air, or what but something really bad happened. I felt like my bike suddenly turned part bronco and decided to try and throw me off. My left clip came undone, and the pedal smacked me in the ankle. The whole thing pushed me forward and I just barely manage to maintain control.

This particular track is very wide, very deep and very diagonal. There's no shoulder and even if I take the lane and try to cross it at 90 degrees, I can't.

So how do I get around this track. If I slow way down, then I can't really take the lane safely. I don't mind slowing, but if I did and went straight across (straight in relation to the road, not the tracks) would I be Ok crossing? Can I hop my front wheel if I slow down?
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Old 04-26-06, 10:06 PM   #2
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Most tracks are not a big deal but some of those diagonal ones are really sketchy. I just slow down and do it carefully. Theres one near my house thats semi-diagonal and has 3 sets of tracks. it sucks.

edit: and yeah, you should be able to hop most of your weight over it, you probably just timed it wrong or something.
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Old 04-26-06, 10:07 PM   #3
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Maybe on your roadie, youre better at unweighting the rear wheel, which takes some time on a fixed. I hop the front wheel too, and the rear follows without a problem for the most part, unless it is wet. Does crossing at 90 degrees bring you into traffic? If the tracks are really bad, you may just have to wait for a clear spot in traffic to swing out a little wide.
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Old 04-26-06, 10:07 PM   #4
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yes they are, i went over 4 tonight (8 if you count coming back) ouch.
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Old 04-26-06, 10:19 PM   #5
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my daily commute involves me going through an intersection clogged with 3 different roads turning in on each other full of tracks (litterally about 15' of tracks all at different angles) Just have to take it slow. Theres another part of my commute where I have to take two tracks comming from perpendicular turning into parallel to me in opposite directions. I take the first one from the outside of the lane towards the inside, then back again, sort of making an S. Just gotta hit it right. It's not worth bunny hopping with the front wheel, its more important that your back wheel isn't gonna hit it at a direction where itll get stuck.
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Old 04-26-06, 10:32 PM   #6
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I cross a diagonal set twice a day. They look harmless enough, but it sucks in the rain with a car bearing down on ya.
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Old 04-27-06, 08:41 AM   #7
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my ride home every night crosses a set of tracks that Y together, when I first started riding I managed to put my wheels into them twice in a month. The first time I somehow managed to ride it out, the second time I flipped over my bars and trashed a bagful of groceries that was on my back. For those of us in boston, it was the tracks by the packard's corner T stop where comm ave and brighton ave split off from each other, anyone else ever been taken out by them?
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Old 04-27-06, 08:47 AM   #8
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gotta love 12th street in philadelphia!
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Old 04-27-06, 08:59 AM   #9
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gotta love 12th street in philadelphia!
IMO west philly/ucity is far worse... more trolley lines that like to turn in all kinds of directions (like at 40th and spruce where there's a crafty combination of a three way trolley intersection and really, really ****ty road condition)
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Old 04-27-06, 08:59 AM   #10
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I bent the **** out of a steel 27" rim riding over a railroad bridge once. Bumping over those ties is murder on road rims. Never had a problem on 26" MTB rims. Oh well. I Straightened it with a hammer and a vice, and rode it slightly lumpy until I found a good Arai aluminum replacement.
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Old 04-27-06, 09:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by celephaiz
IMO west philly/ucity is far worse... more trolley lines that like to turn in all kinds of directions (like at 40th and spruce where there's a crafty combination of a three way trolley intersection and really, really ****ty road condition)
Amen brotha!
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Old 04-27-06, 09:26 AM   #12
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Just practice hopping your wheels on a fix. Since you can do it on a freewheel and use clipless, it is not too difficult. I learned in a couple of weeks, maybe practicing 2 hours all put together. Railroad tracks are no problem now. (I also hop curbs on my fixed, up to 1 foot high as well. Not as easily as on a freewheel, and I still don't have the balls to try an all-out bunny hop with both wheels in the air at the same time. I have to slow way down for higher hops as well. With a freewheel, I could just attack a curb at 20mph and fly up... I don't think that will ever happen on a fix.)

Just practice in a parking lot.
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Old 04-27-06, 09:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blu3d0g
my ride home every night crosses a set of tracks that Y together, when I first started riding I managed to put my wheels into them twice in a month. The first time I somehow managed to ride it out, the second time I flipped over my bars and trashed a bagful of groceries that was on my back. For those of us in boston, it was the tracks by the packard's corner T stop where comm ave and brighton ave split off from each other, anyone else ever been taken out by them?
i can't say i have, but i could see how that would get hairy if one was not paying attention. especially with the odd way the road splits. the tracks down by bc can be pretty treacherous too. the ones in mission hill past brigham circle are some of the more devious ones, but that whole stretch can turn into one big cluster****.
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Old 04-27-06, 09:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~stella
gotta love 12th street in philadelphia!
i live on 12th and porter, so on my daily/nightly voyages from center city i ride 12th.

i've become the lord of the tracks. track master flex. luke trackwalker.
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Old 04-27-06, 09:45 AM   #15
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Today I was on my road bike and I tried slowing way down. I was able to turn my wheel enough that my front crossed the track at almost 90 degrees. I didn't need to hop a all.
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Old 04-27-06, 10:25 AM   #16
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You are brave to ride thru West Sac daily, I hate that ride. As for RR tracks, I usually just lift my front tire a bit as I go over them as you do. I've never had that kind of issue. Do you think you tried to coast? That would give you that "bucking" feeling.
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Old 04-28-06, 07:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blu3d0g
my ride home every night crosses a set of tracks that Y together, when I first started riding I managed to put my wheels into them twice in a month. The first time I somehow managed to ride it out, the second time I flipped over my bars and trashed a bagful of groceries that was on my back. For those of us in boston, it was the tracks by the packard's corner T stop where comm ave and brighton ave split off from each other, anyone else ever been taken out by them?
I almost got eaten by them, but somehow I was able to pull out. Good thing too because there was a trolley right behind me.
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