Alright, so what started as a quick ride of my old bike for sh!ts and giggles is turning into a serious re-discovery of riding fixed. I had forgotten I actually like the bike, even if it kills my butt, back, neck and wrist. I even bought it a proper chainring (one that runs true) and a nice BMX chain, and installed my old Brooks saddle on it.
Back when I rode this bike as a teen, I used to slow down essentially by honking backward. For stopping in a hurry, there's the brakes, but being a tightwad, if I just have to slow down on a safe road, I tend to use my legs to save the pads. Never in my wildest dreams did I think of skidding back then, as tires are expensive when you're a penniless teenager.
But since I keep reading about skid stops in this here forum, I decided to give it a whirl on my local cycle path. After an hour practicing, I could do it pretty good. I could even load the rear wheel hard enough to make a convincing stop.
Trouble is, it's not all that convincing: I stop faster with the normal method of honking in reverse, hard but nice and round, and keep the rear wheel turning. This sounds logical to me: if you try to backpedal with as much gusto as you can manage, you exert the maximum deceleration force your muscles can muster. If you skid, you exert less than the maximum deceleration force, else the rear wheel would regain traction and start spinning again. Not to mention, the rear-end fishtails all over the place. Finally, it's a surefire way to kill my knees, which are already shot and really don't need that.
So, is there more to skidding than just style? I admit it looks pretty damn fancy, but I fail to see how this is a better way of slowing down without using the brakes. Am I missing something here?