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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 09-04-04, 08:09 PM   #1
Smorgasbord
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You'd better put on rear brake...

I was out casually riding the neighborhood, killing time before going to Saturday Ultimate pick-up and warming up my muscles. Some guy comes by at around my pretty slow pace and tells me, "You know you'd better put on a rear brake or you're going to die." This guy was in his 30s, wore a cycling cap, and jersey. I cannot recall if he had on cycling shorts, but his bike seemed pretty nice - not just a casual cyclist. (Just to give you an idea of his possible background). He said his comment with obvious distain and criticism.

I thanked him and let him get ahead of me, musing over the incident. I realize that I noticed the cycling cap because he was not wearing a helmet. Now, I wear a helmet by my choice and I won't ride without one. However, I try respect the choices of others to not wear helmets, and do not attempt to convert experienced cyclists who make this choice. Interesting that he would criticize me for not sporting a rear brake. He approached my bike slowly from the rear, so he would have noticed my single gear. I wonder if he knows what a fixed gear bicycle is...



I found this encounter interesting, thought I'd share.
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Old 09-04-04, 08:14 PM   #2
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What is the term for having a witty retort, but only after it is too late to deliver it? I know there is such a word/phrase in both French and German, but English lacks such a idiom.
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Old 09-04-04, 09:17 PM   #3
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Surprised he made such a comment with a bare cranium. Either way, his dick is loose. Just have to brush that one off, man.
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Old 09-04-04, 09:21 PM   #4
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What is the term for having a witty retort, but only after it is too late to deliver it? I know there is such a word/phrase in both French and German, but English lacks such a idiom.
l'esprit d'escalier -- or staircase wit.
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Old 09-04-04, 09:59 PM   #5
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Not being a fixie rider, I wouldn't know. But say I'm doing about 25 mph and all of a sudden I notice the car in front of me jams on its brakes and I brake hard as I swerve and notice that there's a line of pedestrians at the crosswalk and I'm in that gap with cars to the left and right of me. If I grab my front and rear brake hard and slide my ass back, would I stop faster if I have brakes or no brakes?
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Old 09-04-04, 10:16 PM   #6
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You'd probably "stop" faster. But the fixie rider would have already sensed the braking car in front of him ahead of time and would've switched to another lane and already be blowing through a gap in the pedestrians in the crosswalk and across the intersection by the time you stopped.
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Old 09-04-04, 10:17 PM   #7
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You'd probably "stop" faster. But the fixie rider would have already sensed the braking car in front of him ahead of time and would've switched to another lane and already be blowing through a gap in the pedestrians in the crosswalk and across the intersection by the time you stopped.
Oh that's right, the 6th sense. Hehehe I completely forgot, I should've known.
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Old 09-04-04, 10:22 PM   #8
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...or you don't get yourself in such a situation. don't ride that close behind a car if you're going 25mph, and watch for peds. there was something i learned in drivers' ed. about knowing your stopping distance and looking ahead something like 10 seconds. following distance is about 1 second per MPH.

of course, sometimes, situations like that are unavoidable. but if there are peds in the crosswalk, you should've seen them already and been slowing down, or aiming for a gap.
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Old 09-04-04, 10:32 PM   #9
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...or you don't get yourself in such a situation. don't ride that close behind a car if you're going 25mph, and watch for peds. there was something i learned in drivers' ed. about knowing your stopping distance and looking ahead something like 10 seconds. following distance is about 1 second per MPH.

of course, sometimes, situations like that are unavoidable. but if there are peds in the crosswalk, you should've seen them already and been slowing down, or aiming for a gap.
I was hoping to be humored in that 0.1% of the time when your powers of perception only go so far as to not being able to see through a parked car blocking the view of the sidewalk.
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Old 09-05-04, 01:20 AM   #10
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I agree that two brakes will probably stop me faster than one. I try to take this into account with my riding - just as you might alter your riding style in rainy conditions. With only a front brake and on a fixed gear I can still stop very quickly, though. I did not mean that this man was wrong, merely that it was an interesting situation. Personally, I think riding fixed with only a front brake and a helmet is safer than riding geared with two brakes and no helmet. I made (and reaffirm) my riding choices based on this opinion. This man seems to think otherwise. I suppose I am wandering into the helmet safety debate somewhat, and I would like to avoid this thread re hashing this overdiscussed topic.
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Old 09-05-04, 01:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by NYCpistarider
l'esprit d'escalier -- or staircase wit.
I knew it had to do with steps, I kept googling for French idioms with steps and the like (obviously not stairs...)

Thanks.
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Old 09-05-04, 05:24 AM   #12
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l'esprit d'escalier -- or staircase wit.
I was looking for something like this, thanks. Now comes the hard part. How to pronounce this french stuff?
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Old 09-05-04, 06:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by slvoid
Not being a fixie rider, I wouldn't know. But say I'm doing about 25 mph and all of a sudden I notice the car in front of me jams on its brakes and I brake hard as I swerve and notice that there's a line of pedestrians at the crosswalk and I'm in that gap with cars to the left and right of me. If I grab my front and rear brake hard and slide my ass back, would I stop faster if I have brakes or no brakes?
heh, my wrestling coach would always show us these moves to use on people, and it always seemed that I was the demonstrator, becuase I was the only guy that was about my coaches height and weight. He would have me in all twisted up like a pretzel, and when he was done, I'd ask, "ok...how do I get out?" and he would say, "dont get in it...". reminds me of the replies here...
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Old 09-05-04, 06:22 AM   #14
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I was looking for something like this, thanks. Now comes the hard part. How to pronounce this french stuff?
lespree deskalyay

(emphasis on the kal -- although I'm an anglo pig, so I may have screwed that up somewhat).
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Old 09-05-04, 08:57 AM   #15
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Man, that guy would have hated to see my bike without even the front brake...

What I think is similairly funny, though is seeing people riding at night with no lights, but wearing a refelctive vest. They obviously want to be more visible and safe, but they don't have lights? I don't get it, and ride by wearing all black on a mostly black bike, but with my lights blinking.
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Old 09-05-04, 09:18 AM   #16
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I agree that two brakes will probably stop me faster than one. I try to take this into account with my riding - just as you might alter your riding style in rainy conditions. With only a front brake and on a fixed gear I can still stop very quickly, though. I did not mean that this man was wrong, merely that it was an interesting situation. Personally, I think riding fixed with only a front brake and a helmet is safer than riding geared with two brakes and no helmet. I made (and reaffirm) my riding choices based on this opinion. This man seems to think otherwise. I suppose I am wandering into the helmet safety debate somewhat, and I would like to avoid this thread re hashing this overdiscussed topic.
Unless you have poor brakes, the front brake is all you need for the shortest stopping distance. As you apply the front brake, your weight distribution moves forward. With enough front brake applied, the rear wheel will start to lift off the ground. The rear brake does not contribute to braking at that point.

On a freewheel bike, the rear brake is neccessary mainly as a backup to the front brake since a front brake failure would leave you with no brakes at all.
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Old 09-05-04, 09:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by progre-ss
You'd probably "stop" faster. But the fixie rider would have already sensed the braking car in front of him ahead of time and would've switched to another lane and already be blowing through a gap in the pedestrians in the crosswalk and across the intersection by the time you stopped.
Quote:
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Oh that's right, the 6th sense. Hehehe I completely forgot, I should've known.
Correction. SPIDEY SENSE.

DUNA NA NAAAAA NA! SPIDA MAN!!!
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Old 09-05-04, 10:59 AM   #18
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German
I believe, for me, the German reply would have been "Arschloch."
coasters...bah
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Old 09-05-04, 12:48 PM   #19
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Unless you have poor brakes, the front brake is all you need for the shortest stopping distance. As you apply the front brake, your weight distribution moves forward. With enough front brake applied, the rear wheel will start to lift off the ground. The rear brake does not contribute to braking at that point.

On a freewheel bike, the rear brake is neccessary mainly as a backup to the front brake since a front brake failure would leave you with no brakes at all.

Ah, yes. I must be riding my tandem too much.
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Old 09-05-04, 02:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by progre-ss
You'd probably "stop" faster. But the fixie rider would have already sensed the braking car in front of him ahead of time and would've switched to another lane and already be blowing through a gap in the pedestrians in the crosswalk and across the intersection by the time you stopped.


HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS..............
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Old 09-05-04, 07:31 PM   #21
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The original guy was a bike rider... not a cyclist.

Front brake = three times braking force than on the rear. But you fixie riders have your legs that are just as effective.
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Old 09-05-04, 09:10 PM   #22
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I wouldn't pay him much mind, just another mindless face on the trail attempting to mandar a todo el mundo. He probably is completely whipped by his wife at home and doesn't get to choose so much as the color of the panties he wears, f'em.

Phil
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Old 09-06-04, 11:29 AM   #23
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Unsolicited advice is worth less than you pay for it. I've had a bunch on run-ins with people offering advice that I don't need (usually about sailboats, not bicycles) and it is almost always crap. I try to smile, wave, say "thanks", take a moment to consider their advice, and almost always (very much like you did) disregard it as crap.

As others have said, the front brake is the one that provides the bulk of your braking power, and the rear is mostly useful as a backup for front brake/wheel failure or for very slippery or bumpy terrain.
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Old 09-07-04, 06:03 AM   #24
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"following distance is about 1 second per MPH."

better have a talk with your drivers ed teacher; following DISTANCE increases with speed, trailing TIME does not (speed is a function of distance and time).
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Old 09-07-04, 06:29 AM   #25
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There is a general ignorance amoung cyclists as to the sheer variety of rear brakes, largely because of the predominace of a couple of kinds of brakes. Certainly a fixie is a very effective, if primitive, brake, and works well. The most effective rear brake, by far, I've ever had was a hub (drum) brake on the rear of an old beater/commuter. It would stop you fast, no matter what the conditions. Truly a phenomenal thing, and I would recommend it strongly to any newbie in traffic. Some cyclists would not recognize it as a brake, however, so accustomed are they to caliper and disc brakes.

I doubt the passing rider understood the mechanics of the fixed gear. Too used to a freewheel.
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