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  1. #1
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    Newbie: Fixed, freewheeling or ?

    am a very fit 61 year old. My bicycling will be limited to level-ground rides to and from work (eight city blocks each way) and to and from the local shopping street (twelve city blocks each way. I have not ridden for 40 years. I was interested in a Bianchi Milano, but they look clunky. How about a Bianchi Pista with a front brake for freewheeling first and fixed gear once I am more comfortable with bicycling again.

  2. #2
    jerk store mathletics's Avatar
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    Troll?

    Otherwise, what? Go to a shop and test ride. We can't tell you what you're going to like.

  3. #3
    end of biters curiousincident's Avatar
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    For the kind of riding you're talking about, a pista with the setup you described should work just fine, although you may want a rear brake for riding single speed, just a matter of what you're comfortable with. I would suggest heading to your local bike shop and test riding a few different models to make sure you end up with something that's going to work for you.

  4. #4
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    San Jose. Run both. Might have to get a new rear wheel, though. Dunno if the rear hub is fixed/free this year.

  5. #5
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    Thank you . . .

    Thanks for your help, especially matheletics's kind words. Very welcoming.
    Last edited by Larry Guzin; 09-10-07 at 11:16 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chrysiptera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Guzin View Post
    Thanks for your help, especially matheletics's kind words. Very welcoming.
    The general rule of thumb is that you want two independent ways to stop the bike. So with most bikes you have a front and rear brake. Bikes with coaster brakes only have one system and you can't stop if that fails(ie your chain falls off). That is why you'd want front/rear if you are running single speed with a freewheel.

    The prevailing wisdom is that you don't need a rear brake when you run fixed because you can use the pedals to stop the bike. Honestly, if you haven't ridden a bike in years you shouldn't rely on this technique. I know it goes against what the cool kids are doing but even with fixed I recommend running front/rear brakes for some time. At least long enough for you to learn how to stop the bike reasonably quickly with just the pedals. Afterall, if you are riding fixed with just a front brake but you can't stop with the pedals you are really riding with only one way to stop.

    Jer
    ... I'm the center of attention in the walls inside my head ...

    1984 Fuji Berkeley: Fixed conversion build thread
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  7. #7
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    OP says he's 61... doubt he's concerned with what the cool kids are doing.
    A Pista should work fine, and I'd second the recommendation that you look at the San Jose also.
    If you're going to run a freewheel, it's a good idea to use both front and rear brakes.
    Since you said it's been 40-odd years since you've done any serious cycling, try a single-speed first.
    Just my opinions, of course.
    Alex

  8. #8
    jerk store mathletics's Avatar
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    Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a dick, just trying to be frank. I don't know what it's like to go 40 years without riding, and I also don't know what it's like to be 61. In any case, the trips you're talking about riding are shorter than the distance you would want to go to test ride a bike, so in the end it really doesn't matter what you get.

    I do think that you should get a bike with front and rear brakes, and I definitely still think that you should go try several bikes before deciding on one.

  9. #9
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Guzin View Post
    How about a Bianchi Pista with a front brake for freewheeling first and fixed gear once I am more comfortable with bicycling again.
    I highly recommend it (fixed & SS in general), although I would suggest having both front and rear brakes when freewheeling.
    Last edited by roadfix; 09-10-07 at 01:10 PM.

  10. #10
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    I am 51.8 and like you fit. I started single-speeding a month or so ago, riding mostly with the freewheel (including 100 miles yesterday in the TA century). I've been riding all my life. I'd recommend a bicycle with both fixed and free, and two brakes. I start with the freewheel on the city streets and save the fixed gear for a ride in the park, preferably a flat one. It is not that I don't think you can do it, and it is not that it isn't great fun. It is exciting, challenging, fun. But it takes some getting used, and until you get used to it on city streets it is dangerous (especially but not only without brakes). It can also be very rough on SOME people's knees and backs. You may have noticed that the vast majority of fixed gear urban riders are young. There are several reasons for that, all simple. Young people consider themselves immune from mortality. I know I did when I was young. Even when faced with it--a near accident or even an accident--they bounce right back. Second, their bones are much soften, much less brittle. Even though they are wrong to think that they will never die, they are right to think that they can take some pretty nasty falls and get right back up on the bike. You and I are much more susceptible to broken bones or strains and sprains that take months and months to heal. My worst fear is not being able to exercise, so I make some compromises to ensure that heavens willing every single day I can, including today, after 100 miles yesterday. The final reason: kids are nuts. (Just kidding). Go get a bike and enjoy it, and if you have additional questions you are embarrassed to ask the kids, feel free to ask me. I bought a Sputnik, and I am having the time of my life. I am unlikely ever to buy a bike with gears again.

  11. #11
    some new kind of kick Suttree's Avatar
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    If you want to go for a bike with a taller stem and front and rear brakes check out
    The Quickbeam fixed-gear made by Rivendell. It converts to a freewheel on the other
    side of the hub and has nice lugwork--but it is a pit expen$ive.

  12. #12
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    No problem. Blink an eye and you'll be sixty-one. Twenty-five years and four 180 mile treks to the base of Mt. Everest are seen in the rear-view mirror quicker than you would imagine, or want!

  13. #13
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    I'll make a hat-trick for the San Jose. I have one, and I love it. It comes with 2 brakes (and nice Cane Creek levers), okay wheels (that are flip-flop) and has a comfortable, lively geometry. Streets for about $600.

    Unless they've changed the design for '08, you'll want a new saddle ASAP. Unless you like being uncomfortable. (And it's leopard print! Yugh...)

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