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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 07-02-03, 12:56 PM   #1
doonster
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Apprehensive for the first time

Well, broke my fixed virginity this evening.

I've been planning the bike for 12 months & took about 4 months to assemble the parts. fairly cheap (for me) with a decent 70's frame from ebay and basic parts. 2 extravagances - Phil Wood BB (adjustable cups are very useful for fixing chainline) & Rivendell Ruffy tuffy tyres (the most I've ever paid for a set of rubber).

Was a bit nervous about riding it - the first cycling nerves I've had since I learnt when I was 4 years old. Strangest feeling is slowing down or going slowly - cruising along is no problem. Nearly scared myself senseless coming to a near stop for traffic - almost couldn't remember how to pedal. A fall right now would be a bad idea as I dislocated my shoulder 10 days ago.

Has anyone else found that they can ride a wider range of cadence with a fixed? I put a sensor on (temporary while I suss out the whether I've got the right gearing) and found I can do 30 - 140+ rpm no problem (and still going up) whereas all the freewhel machines I'm limited to about 50 - 130rpm - weird.

Sorry for rambling, but I'm pretty happy with the new machine. Intend to take up commuting with it in due course.
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Old 07-02-03, 01:06 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new fixie! I have found that I have a pretty high RPM tolerance too on fixed gear. I guess it could be because I keep my legs moving all the time and the rear wheel also helps because it's always moving (which helps my legs). That's just a guess though....
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Old 07-02-03, 02:22 PM   #3
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Welcome to the club! Fixed will rock your socks off

Now learn how to trackstand and never get out of your pedals again! Trackstanding and ability to control my speed with my legs make me look at my shiny cool geared bike and sigh.
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Old 07-02-03, 03:00 PM   #4
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How long did it take you guys to learn to track stand? Did you fall over often?
My static balance always seems pretty bad on the bike. I think I'll wait until the shoulders fully healed before attempting the track stands (clearly a goal, though).
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Old 07-02-03, 04:21 PM   #5
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i pinned it down in about 1 hour of practicing on flat pavement. that day i was able to hold it for about 5 minutes. on a fixie, learning is not hard at all.

since then i've gotten better and better. i still have off-days when i simply can't get into 'the spot.' it's frustrating. most of the time though, i trackstand very easily, sometimes with one hand on the bars. my 'rocking distance' (the distance you need to go back and forth to maintain your balance) is getting smaller and smaller. most of the time i can hold it to where it looks like i'm standing still.

give it a shot somewhere where you can practice freely. it's easy. you'll never fall off the bike either... when you feel like you're losing your balance just put your foot down.
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Old 07-03-03, 11:53 PM   #6
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i learned trackstands on my first SS with a freewheel. once i got on a fixie i was amazed at how much easier it was. the true test is going backwards in circles though, not that backward circles are useful in traffic or anything, they're just fun. although, being able to "throw it in reverse" if you've gone too far over the line at a stop light can be useful i suppose...
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Old 07-04-03, 07:58 AM   #7
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When I was learning the trackstand, I was always using running shoes. If you miss, yu can put your foot down. I also practiced on my road bike cause you cannot go backward, it's harder. When I come abckn the track bike, it's easier.

One thing : it's always easier for me to trackstand on one side than the other. Same for you?
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Old 07-04-03, 08:01 AM   #8
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One more thing! You can practice your balance and proprioception with a Swiss ball! There are various exercices :

1- on your knees, standing on the ball in equilibrium
2- sitting on the ball. Only your pelvis should be in contact with it. Again, in equilibrium.

It's good for working on this best friend : proprioception!

Ride you fixie no hand also!
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Old 07-05-03, 01:29 AM   #9
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riding fixed no handed is a piece of cake, easier than trackstanding to me anyway.

the real fun comes in one/no handed trackstands. useful when you've got a coffee in your hand and you come to a red light. i'm not too bad at one handed, the no handed part still eludes me though.
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Old 07-05-03, 06:04 AM   #10
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It is harder to stop with a coffee in your hand than to track stand with it. It really gets tricky when you are trying to read a book and smoke a cigarette and drink your morning coffee while riding.

-Jason
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Old 07-05-03, 01:00 PM   #11
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........and I'm still having problems chewing gum and riding at the same time!
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