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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 02-16-07, 12:08 AM   #1
quanfer
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Converted to Fixie and quite scared.

So I just flipped my hub on my Redline 925 to fixed. I had my expectations, but I was pretty surprised at what I experienced. I had to resist so many impulses to coast, and sometimes I'd act on one of those impulses, and would be carried away by the pedal force. I live in Berkeley, and I bike to campus. Sometimes I have to avoid people in some of the more populated squares on campus (ex. Sproul Plaza). Normally I coast, and I switch pedal positions according to which direction I need to weave in to pass by peopole. Except now, I forgot that I had to keep pedaling, and its really hindering my turning ability.

It was all really a shock to me, and I'm sure it'll get better once I get used to it. Also, I'm using toe clips, does anyone recommend clipless instead, considering the hills at Berkeley?
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Old 02-16-07, 12:19 AM   #2
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If you're used to clipless already, try it. You can always switch back to clips and straps later.

Try practicing standing and pedaling and moving from sitting to standing.

If you're dealing with a lot of crowds, get a bell. Seriously. It's geeky but it gets the point across.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:22 AM   #3
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Stick with it, once you get used to it it's crazy addictive. Bonne chance!
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Old 02-16-07, 12:23 AM   #4
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Yeah, it was the same for me when I converted... but then you get used to it. Now I feel weird on a bike with a freewheel. I just feel so much more in control on a fix.

Just keep it up. It will come.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marqueemoon
If you're dealing with a lot of crowds, get a bell. Seriously. It's geeky but it gets the point across.
If by geeky, you mean awesome, and by gets the point across, you mean gets completely ignored.
I love having a bell and just bring-a-dingin the **** out of people stepping in front of me. But they don't care, they are too busy on their cell phone, listening to their ipod, eating a hoagie, and trying to get a cab while checking their email and checking out the cute guy/girl across the street.
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Old 02-16-07, 01:10 AM   #6
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I wore a bell for a while. It was spectacularly awesome and ineffective. The best thing I've found is to pick out a notable characteristic of the ped and call it out with a hearty 'STOP!'. I.e. HEY! BLACK SHIRT! STOP! I don't know what it is about the stop command that people respond to, but it easily surpasses YO!, OI!, HEY!, DING!, or any other supposed attention getter in terms of getting them to stand still for safe navigation.
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Old 02-16-07, 02:55 AM   #7
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Yeah I have clipless pedals, probably going to switch to them soon. One of the main sellings points for changing to fixie was after reading Sheldon's little blurb about how to dismount off the rear of the bike and keep walking. Seemed pretty cool. Anyone do this on clipless?
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Old 02-16-07, 03:09 AM   #8
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I find screaming "oh f---!" works pretty well at getting people attentions. be sure to smile as you whizz on by. have fun with the fixed, you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 02-16-07, 03:53 AM   #9
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ACHTUNG! for the win. I've never tried it myself, but I'm sure it'd work better than OI!, HEY! or ding...
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Old 02-16-07, 03:55 AM   #10
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clipless yes bell yes me love mine and lower gear even yesser berkeley is purdy hilly gear down and spin like its goin outta style
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Old 02-16-07, 07:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quanfer
One of the main sellings points for changing to fixie was after reading Sheldon's little blurb about how to dismount off the rear of the bike and keep walking. Seemed pretty cool. Anyone do this on clipless?
yes, it can be done clipless, it's not much harder. but i dont do it, if something goes wrong you're liable to end up on your face and look like a total ass. i reserve that feeling for ****ed up trackstands.

and +1 to OH ****!

gets the job done.

edit: oh yeah, hang in there. there are lots of other selling points.

Last edited by dirtyphotons; 02-16-07 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 02-16-07, 07:23 AM   #12
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Keep working on it. Takes some time to get used to, but once you do, you're addicted. As said above, any time I get on one of my geared bikes, I feel weird. What is this coast thing?
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Old 02-16-07, 07:51 AM   #13
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If you don't do anything fancy with your fixed gear like skid, trackstand, or ride backwards, then clipless is better.

For me, all I do with any of my bikes is ride them as fast as I can.

I tried clips and straps once, and I found getting out of them too difficult for the precision required for fixed gear stops.

And for the record, I once rode my fixed gear with clipless pedals through the Berkeley hills and campus. My bike did not melt, disinigrate nor did it burst into flames.
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Old 02-16-07, 07:56 AM   #14
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I switched back to clips. I am just not that good of a rider yet.
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Old 02-16-07, 09:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyphotons
if something goes wrong you're liable to end up on your face and look like a total ass
True. As a precaution, I ride on the underside of the pedal for a couple rotations before dismounting this way.
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Old 02-16-07, 09:26 AM   #16
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in hindsight, i love that shock of riding a fix for the first time. i remember going down a pretty mild hill and hitting some rough patches in the pavement - i also had very little experience with skinny tires. i thought i was going faster than fast and would get bucked off and die. it was great.
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Old 02-16-07, 09:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Becker
True. As a precaution, I ride on the underside of the pedal for a couple rotations before dismounting this way.
oh for sure. with clips and straps it's not a problem, i meant it's sketch with clipless. possible both ways though.

everyone says to watch quicksilver to get an idea, but i think kevin bacon's dismounts look kinda sloppy. mike dee does a good one at the beginning of red light go though, nice and smooth.
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Old 02-16-07, 09:46 AM   #18
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Quanfer: If you are commuting to campus then clipless cleats would be a hindrance to walking. Toeclips and straps are best used in conjunction with street shoes.
If you are riding for fitness or just fun (where you seldom get off the bike) then clipless is the most efficient way.
Once you get proficient you may find that FG allows you to come to a stop while still in ypur pedals, turn sharply and ride away once a gap opens up in the crowd.
BTW When did the rules allowing riding bikes on campus go into effect. Back almost 3 decades ago when I was an undergraduate you could only walk your bike on campus. You could ride only during summer school when it was less crowded. Also there was a guarded bike lot next to Moffet library so you merely had to show your 1/2 of your ticket to retrieve your ride, thus saving the weight of a lock and chain. There was also a very cool bike shop co-op in lower Sproul Plaza called the Missing Link. Gerry
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Old 02-16-07, 10:02 AM   #19
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To the OP: Ride around in a parking lot for a while, doing circles and riding at slow speeds. The best thing about fixed gear is the handling at slow speeds. Total control.
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Old 02-16-07, 10:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeraldChan
Quanfer: If you are commuting to campus then clipless cleats would be a hindrance to walking. Toeclips and straps are best used in conjunction with street shoes.
If you are riding for fitness or just fun (where you seldom get off the bike) then clipless is the most efficient way.
Agreed... since I commute to work right now, I can just change shoes-- but I got annoyed with my Sidi's for class so I switched to toe-clips. I definately prefer clipless, though.
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Old 02-16-07, 10:10 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quanfer
Yeah I have clipless pedals, probably going to switch to them soon. One of the main sellings points for changing to fixie was after reading Sheldon's little blurb about how to dismount off the rear of the bike and keep walking. Seemed pretty cool. Anyone do this on clipless?
I can (and do) do the rear dismount with clipless on a freewheel. Just make sure you are NOT going to clip back in when you press down on the pedal to jump off.
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Old 02-16-07, 10:50 AM   #22
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My advise is to just keep it slow and use a front brake. You will become accustomed to it in no time. But do not go flying around out of control near people.
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Old 02-16-07, 10:52 AM   #23
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Just be careful in crowded areas.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:07 PM   #24
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When I was an undergrad at Cal, way way way back when the big campus issue was whether the Regents should divest from S.Africa to protest apartheid, you couldn't ride through Sproul. Not that you'd want to -- it's just way too packed full of self-involved and clueless people.

Anyway, what gearing are you riding? Those hills are surprisingly steep!
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Old 02-16-07, 12:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetwentyeight
I find screaming "oh f---!" works pretty well at getting people attentions. be sure to smile as you whizz on by. have fun with the fixed, you'll get the hang of it.

I love how ineffective "I am passing you on your left, please do not veer suddenly to the left" is these days. Unless my point was to have somebody veer left and weave/wobble all over the road as though they'd been hit with a tranquilizer dart; then it would be totally effective.

I think somebody in the Commuting forum put an airhorn on their bike.
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