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nervous about going fixed...

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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)

nervous about going fixed...

Old 11-01-11, 08:20 PM
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chanamagoo
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nervous about going fixed...

I just recently finished building (read: "watching my bike shop build" since I know nothing about building bikes, but would like to learn...) a new bike to replace my last one that got stolen (the jerks...). I have a Sturmey Archer 3 speed internal fixed hub that is running on a free wheel right now. I have the cog needed to turn it into a fixed gear alllllllll ready to go, but I'm just very NERVOUS about it...

First, I've always thought that single-speed and fixed gear were synonymous...I know better now, but I have never seen anyone riding a 3 speed fixed...

Second, I am worried about not being able to pedal the whole time and flipping my arse over the handlebars when I'm not paying attention...I commute from Brooklyn to NYC (at least 7 miles one way on some days, around 13 miles one way on other days) and...well....I'M JUST VERY NERVOUS ABOUT IT! gah.

Third...actually I dont think there is a third...except to say that I'm just VERY. NERVOUS. about it.

little help?

thaaaaaanks!
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Old 11-01-11, 08:26 PM
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i've only been riding fixed since July, coming from single speed cruisers. no big deal. different style, be attentive. pick a quiet area to try it out and have fun....
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Old 11-01-11, 08:30 PM
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Use a brake (or two) and you'll be fine.
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Old 11-01-11, 08:31 PM
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get veeps and start sup'in sqrls
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Old 11-01-11, 08:32 PM
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get used to using foot retention
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Old 11-01-11, 08:34 PM
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Just ride for a day or two as a SS so that you can adapt to the new frame and dial in the fit. Then set the rear hub to lock and go for a ride in a minimally populated area. You will feel very comfortable in no time, just take it slow at first.

Riding a fixie is actually quite addictive. I needed to make a 12 mile grocery run earlier today, and I reached for the fixie first thing. Even with 30lbs. of groceries on my back on the way home I had a blast.

Last edited by Stealthammer; 11-01-11 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 11-01-11, 08:54 PM
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I flipped my wheel to fixed after a few weeks on campus, and it was a little scary at first. But, you get used to it quick.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:43 PM
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Its a bike.


Ride it,have fun.

use brakes.

Or EFF brakes.


do what you want and all that matters is if you are comfy.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:55 PM
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Install the cog, flip the wheel, listen to Ride the Lightning, and get out there.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:13 PM
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I actually just went fixed two days ago, i commute 3 miles to work and 9 to school. The first ride i tried to coast a few times other then that it was wonderful. Like everyone said ride a brake and a not such a busy area and you'll be quite comfy in just a few. I already love it such a different feel from my SS which i already loved insanely.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by xavier853 View Post
get veeps and start sup'in sqrls
This is the only thing you need to do.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:37 PM
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If you're really nervous, I'd recommend going to an empty parking lot to practice or something. Don't get on the road right away because the last thing you want to do is panic in traffic.

I was nervous too, so I practiced in my parking structure. You just want to get used to what the bike feels like, and watch out for standing up on a fixed at first. Get used to foot retention, like with straps, and dismounting. Of course, you want to practice coming to a stop and putting your foot down.

Having a front brake makes learning a lot easier and safer. You'll be much more aware of traffic signals and adjusting your speed because coming to a stop sucks.
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Old 11-02-11, 04:35 AM
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If you can, ride your local MUP when it is abandoned. This will allow you get a good feel for the bike while separating yourself from angry motorists.
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Old 11-02-11, 05:15 AM
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From the description of your build, my guess is that 718 Cyclery built your bike. Awesome LBS, hands down. Go to Prospect Park and ride. You'll be doing elephant trunk skeeds in no time
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Old 11-02-11, 06:42 AM
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I have been riding a fixie since July around (live in Queens). It is my first real bike since I was younger and I am just starting to commute into the city for work (around 11 miles each way). Kilo TT setup with a front brake.

I love the fixie. First day I jumped on it, I was hooked. Once I jump off to ride the MTB, I forget that you can stop pedaling haha.

Good luck with it, I would be surprised if you aren't hooked on it.
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Old 11-02-11, 07:31 AM
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Agree With Others

After nearly 40 years of riding geared bikes, I built a fg earlier this summer. Most fun riding I've had since my teens. You will absolutely LOVE riding your fixed gear bike. Since I'm always out riding my fixed gear - for training, for long country rides, for errands, my other bikes whisper to one another, "where'd he go" "why doesn't he ride us anymore?"

Yes, use the front brake as you learn. Yes, you will forget for a few times and attempt to coast. Whoa... That habit will quickly be broken...

My guess is that you'll be very happy within the first day, even if still a bit nervous about it. By the end of the first week, you'll be confident.

Good luck,
Phil
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Old 11-02-11, 07:51 AM
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Any tips for dealing with hills? Mostly flat in DC, but I live at the top of a short but steep hill. I Haven't flipped my hub to the fixed side since I got my bike, mostly because of that hill. I'm sure going up is no different than riding freewheel. I'm concerned with going down.
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Old 11-02-11, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by BezO View Post
Any tips for dealing with hills? Mostly flat in DC, but I live at the top of a short but steep hill. I Haven't flipped my hub to the fixed side since I got my bike, mostly because of that hill. I'm sure going up is no different than riding freewheel. I'm concerned with going down.
Keep your brakes on and ride the same way you do now, perhaps with a bit more caution. You'll likely eventually have no problem resisting for the way down the hill the more you ride fixed.
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Old 11-02-11, 09:02 AM
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So many responses! You guys are da best.

I have brakes, will defnitely be keeping them on for at least the beginning...baby steps, you know...I have the 3 speed internal hub (has anyone ridden a fixed, but geared bike?), but I have been mainly using the highest gear mostly because I feel like whenever I go lower than that, I'm spinning too fast, but not really moving that fast. I feel like it's just a short jump to single speed...

BigglyPuff and BMW, I'm definitely going to try it out at the park for a bit (TODAY, maybe!)...my LBS is holding the cog for me and theyre going to teach me how to change out the freewheel, but they dont open until noon.

Phil_Gretz, your other bikes are sad. But that actually brings up a good point I was going to ask...at some point...in some other forum somewhere...I'm looking for parts to build up my very own, very first single speed bike...I'll likely keep it until forever because it will be my first one and I'm sentimental and keep everything...I know that there are bike builders who just sit and build bikes just because they love it...but what do they DO with all those bikes they build?

OH and BMW...how did you know it was 718 cyclery?? That place is literally my favorite and their new space looks bah-NANAS now...I'm thrilled for them because their other location was nice, but this is so much better for them! I'm going to check out their grand opening party on Saturday! I lurv them.

Will post progress about the ride! and about finding out what an elephant trunk skeed is!
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Old 11-02-11, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chanamagoo View Post
Second, I am worried about not being able to pedal the whole time and flipping my arse over the handlebars when I'm not paying attention...
I just made the switch in October. On my initial ride, I did what you're worried about 2 or 3 times. I didn't fly off the bike. It was awkward, but I stayed on. The worst case was pushing hard to get through a green light before it changed, which I did. Once I was through the intersection I eased up and (stupidly) stopped pedaling. My right leg fully extended, the crank came back and lifted my arse off the seat before I realized what was happening. Then I realized what was happening and started pedaling again.

In a few hundred miles since then, I've done it maybe once or twice more, no big deal.

I was very concerned about riding fixed in a group ride. It was actually easier. I was talking to folks around me and barely thought at all about my speed; my legs just took care of it, whether speeding up or slowing down.

I've ridden geared bikes a couple times since converting my SS to FG, and once you get used to FG, it is probably at least as unnerving to get back on a bike that freewheels than it was to get on a FG bike for the first time. Once you get used to FG, it really is more comfortable. I think there are two reasons for this: 1. You control speed more seamlessly. There isn't any of this speeding up by pedaling, then braking to slow down. You do both by pedaling. 2. You can use the entire rotation of the crank for balance. On a freewheel bike, you can only really lean into the cranks on the forward part of the rotation; if you lean back, the pedal "slips." And if you're in too low of a gear, you can't even really put too much weight on the forward part of the stroke. On a FG bike, you can use both legs for balance simultaneously.

Once you get used to FG, your legs begin to automagically do a lot of the thinking for you. When you go back to freewheeling, there is actually a lot more coordination to consciously think about.


One bit of advice, though.... don't depend solely on backpedaling to stop. Modulating your speed a bit? Yes. But if a car pulls out in front of you, USE your BRAKES. I've had people tell me that they can stop a lot faster on a FG bike even with using handbrakes, but I think that aspect of riding fixed is a skill that takes some time to develop.

Now get out there and ride.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-02-11, 09:47 AM
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I knew it was 718c cause they are the only shop in your neighborhood (probably the whole city) enthusiastic about working on vintage bikes and do conversions. 9th Street Cycles and the (newly opened) Bicycle Habitat sling new bikes. I haven't been to their new space. Thanks for reminding me about the launch party, I will try to stop by as well.
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Old 11-02-11, 09:55 AM
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It'll be like learning how to ride a bike all over again. You'll get the hang of it, just take it slowly. After a while your legs will get used to not having to stop. Hill climbing is a lot easier with fixed cuz there's less to think about, just beast your way up it. On the way down, you'll have your front brake and legs (or three brakes assuming you have a back brake as well) so just take your time with things.

Also you should make sure to always...
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Old 11-02-11, 10:51 AM
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It's not like you're going to snap your leg off because you forgot you can't coast and have to pedal one legged all the way home.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MattWithTwoTs View Post
It's not like you're going to snap your leg off because you forgot you can't coast and have to pedal one legged all the way home.
Well, actually it is, but we don't want to scare him
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-02-11, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by chanamagoo View Post
So... what do they DO with all those bikes they build?
Some I give to friends. Most I sell and make a few dollars, which pay for tires and consumables on my other bikes. A few, I keep.
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