Fixed for the first time

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Garry Booth
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Fixed for the first time

Postby Garry Booth » 1 Dec 2014, 11:33am

I've been riding my single speed happily on the freewheel for a while and I'm tempted to start riding fixed. I know it isn't as easy as it looks. Does anyone have any advice about how to make the transition safely? I ride with spds and, apart from riding fixed, I'm an experienced rider. But being nearer 60 than 50 I'm wondering if I've left it too late to learn a new trick.

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NUKe
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby NUKe » 1 Dec 2014, 12:02pm

Its strange at first but its easy to get used. I would however go somewhere quite first and try. Cliping in and out needs a bit of work to get used. Keep your legs fluid and you will have no problems. Just give it a go.
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Si
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Si » 1 Dec 2014, 1:32pm

Once you are used to it it's fine, and when you are starting and still concentrating it's fine. It's the middle bit that gets you: when you suddenly, subconsciously, decide to freewheel and find yourself hoisted out of the saddle. But never fear, although alarming at first you are not likely to come off when this happens.

The other issue that you might get is trying to stop at a give way line with your pedals in the correct position to restart. Simple answer: roll up to the line, stop and put one foot down, hold front brake, rock bike forward so that rear wheel comes slightly off the floor, spin pedal with foot that is still clipped in to the correct position to restart.

Also, probably worth keeping front and rear brakes on the bike - leg braking can tire you out a bit until you are used to it.

Garry Booth
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Garry Booth » 1 Dec 2014, 1:38pm

Thanks chaps. G

Ljaydee
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Ljaydee » 1 Dec 2014, 5:41pm

Give it a try, but chain alignment and tension are more important on fixed. I use double sided MTB SPD's as they are easy to clip into.

Once you have served your apprenticeship, you will enjoy riding fixed. I'm 67 now and regularly ride a 70" fixed, and have no problems switching between fixed and free. My best TT times were on 81" fixed in the 70's.

drossall
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby drossall » 1 Dec 2014, 11:31pm

Si wrote:Once you are used to it it's fine, and when you are starting and still concentrating it's fine. It's the middle bit that gets you: when you suddenly, subconsciously, decide to freewheel and find yourself hoisted out of the saddle. But never fear, although alarming at first you are not likely to come off when this happens.

+1. It's unsettling but not that dangerous.

The time I did nearly hit a car was when I went back on gears and tried to slow down with the pedals :roll:

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Redvee
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Redvee » 2 Dec 2014, 12:20am

I rode fixed when I was 5 years old and hurt my head big time. The bike was a 16" kids bike with solid tyres and a front brake only, I went down a small hill in front of my mum and she screamed at me to slow down so I grabbed the front brake with the inevitable consequences being tears and a 2" bruise on my forehead.

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TrevA
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby TrevA » 2 Dec 2014, 12:10pm

The other issue you may have is descending steep hills. Obviously, you can't stop pedalling so you have to learn to relax your legs and let the momentum of the wheel and pedals carry them around. You can end up pedalling very quickly, depending on what gear you have on. The wheel/pedals can act as a 3rd brake so you can slow yourself down by applying backward pressure on the pedals. Even on the flat you can fine-tune your speed without having to use your brakes, by pressing back on the pedals.
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Garry Booth
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Garry Booth » 2 Dec 2014, 3:56pm

Thanks, this all encouraging!

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jonbott
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby jonbott » 2 Dec 2014, 10:43pm

I used to ride a fixed back in my youth! Raced did audax events too!haven't tried it again til recently.........cycled to work one day and frightened the life out of when the chain came off on along down hill,I'm back on gears now.my issue is its hilly to work....so the gear was too low for the downhill bits and to for the uphill bits....
I`m def too old for this!

Biketyke
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby Biketyke » 3 Dec 2014, 6:52pm

I have ridden for many years on fixed especially for commuting and found SPDs to be a great advantage over flat pedals. However for the first few rides using flat pedals with no toe clips or just flat shoes on SPDs is a wise move. It will give you time to get used to the feel of it but able to quickly take your feet off if the pedaling gets too frantic.

andy65
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby andy65 » 3 Dec 2014, 7:44pm

While bunny hoping is not impossible, but very difficult. So any potholes that you can't avoid have to be rolled through by shifting your weight aft then forward - all while continuing to pedal. This is a time where you are likely to forget that you are on fixed and stop pedalling.

Not being able to stop pedalling has some problems. You have to watch your speed going around corners to avoid pedal strike. Toe clip overlap can be a problem.

Watch your speed on descents. You can hurt your knees if your legs start being dragged by the bike. Things can get bouncy at high revs causing the back wheel to bounce/hop which is very dangerous if you need to brake or turn. This is also when you chain is most likely to come off if there are any problems with your chain alignment and tension.

This all sounds very difficult, but the challenge is part of the fun. This also benefits your riding greatly because it forces to think about position and speed.

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TrevA
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Re: Fixed for the first time

Postby TrevA » 3 Dec 2014, 9:13pm

Use a 1/8th chain and don't have it too tight (but not too loose either). 1/8th chain is more forgiving than 3/32. I used to race on the track on a fixed wheel bike with no brakes. Nothing like whizzing around a track in a bunch of 30, at 30mph on 88" fixed!
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com