My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

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2Tubs
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My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby 2Tubs » 4 Jun 2009, 11:02pm

My Pearson's Hanzo arrived yesterday.

So I put it together and took it for a test ride (somewhere quiet).

All seemed OK, a bit strange but OK.

So I took it on the road.

I've never been so scared in my life. For a short while it seemed that the bike and I fell out and it tried to throw me off.

I've been out a couple of times since, used it for a couple of shop runs and to vote this evening.

And it still scares the living poop out of me.

Before I use it in heavy traffic I need to work on the technique until it becomes 2nd nature.

Gazza
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Dean
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby Dean » 4 Jun 2009, 11:23pm

It does give you a sharp reminder not to stop pedalling, doesn't it?

When I first built one, my knee was a bit crocked, and I had my mate play Igor. I'll always remember seeing him pogoing up and down the lane when he forgot that the pedals don't stop going round.

The next test will be going downhill. That is interesting.

Have fun! One more of us, one less of them :mrgreen:

thirdcrank
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Jun 2009, 11:37pm

2Tubs wrote:Before I use it in heavy traffic I need to work on the technique until it becomes 2nd nature.


I'd be very surprised if it takes you long. It's so long since I first road fixed that I could not put a time on it but I'm sure it was only a couple of rides.

More recently, I've had the same sort of thing with a coaster (back pedal) brake and then clipless pedals. I forgetfully backpedalled once at slowish speed and was thrown forward but still upright so I landed in a surprise on my feet. With the clipless pedals, I was too slow once, fell over, and never got caught again.

For extra fun when starting, use toeclips and in winter, those plastic Bernard Hinault toe clip covers which are a bit like the toes of a pair of plastic wellies. Probably the strongest incentive to perfect your track-standing technique known to the world of cycling (especially since the UCI has banned it. :wink: )

2Tubs
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby 2Tubs » 4 Jun 2009, 11:44pm

I'm using SPD's on the fixed at the minute and might consider sticking some flats on there until I'm more comfortable with the bike.

As for going downhill, already done it. Fortunately I have front and rear brakes, let's just say they get used!

Gazza
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glueman
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby glueman » 5 Jun 2009, 4:44am

After a while you learn to divorce what your upper body's doing from your lower half. Like a duck, above the plimsoll line all is serenity, below furious paddling. I found the hardest bit to be tearing into sharp corners legs spinning while subconsciously trying to pause the stroke - and skip the back wheel. Once you're confident you won't ground a pedal - easier now fixed bikes are made with higher BBs - you'll gain confidence.

I still find pedestrians stepping out more alarming on fixed than freewheel even though you probably have more braking power, because it's hard to unlearn that approaching a danger while still pedalling hard is a bad idea.
It's easier to learn if you ride fixed exclusively for a while. When you go back to a freewheel you'll still pedal continuously!

kevinn123
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby kevinn123 » 5 Jun 2009, 8:56am

just gone fixed a few weeks ago, I echo everything already said

- going down steep hills is interesting (expend all that energy getting up the hill and there is no rest on the may way down)
- forgetting to keep peddling round corners is interesting too

But sticking at it at the moment
- speed and cadence are definitely getting better
- concentration and anticipation around juctions is getting better too

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Si
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby Si » 5 Jun 2009, 9:00am

I learnt fixed on the track at Manchester....being up the top of that bank concentrates the mind wonderfully :P

The hardest thing that I found on the road is in slow stop-start traffic (although I'm fine with track standing on a FW I'm still rubbish at it on a fixed) where you keep having to put a foot down and rock the bike forward to get the pedals in the right position. Apart from that I found that everything else came really quickly. Cornering was interesting: I normally use the MTB technique of leaning the bike rather than the bike and rider - not something I'd reckomend on fixed!

But, yeah, just stick at it for a while on quietish roads and it'll soon come to you. And down worry about the excrusiating lower back pain when you start doing sprints up steep hills - that'll go away after your first few weeks. But...remember to take a bit of spare chain, a chain tool that fits the chain (1/8th) and a spanner to release the rear wheel with you when out.

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby EdinburghFixed » 5 Jun 2009, 10:26am

Stay with clipless - nothing frightens me more than the idea of riding fixed without some kind of foot retention!

I came off my Touche big-style on the first day, when I thought I'd see how fast I could spin down a hill (answer, about 35mph on 72") and then when I reached for the brakes, subconciously tensed and it threw me off like a crazed bull... onto the verge, phew!

Since then I've been okay. You will learn to keep spinning subconciously, even when desperately evading a drunken driver...

glueman
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby glueman » 5 Jun 2009, 12:36pm

If you want to know the true nature of fear take an upright trike out onto a hilly main road for the first time. I used to ride one for up to 60 miles a day but was convinced the next camber would be my last. Never really got the hang of the thing. Sometimes thought it wanted to throw me off while stationary!

thirdcrank
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Jun 2009, 3:01pm

I saw somebody in the middle of Leeds today, riding fixed* and whipping along at a fair clip. Wearing a suit. No brakes. Flat handlebars so he cannot have been wondering what had happened to the sprinters' line :wink: I do know it's possible to ride fixed and avoid using the brakes. Once upon a time, bike brakes were so rubbish that they provided little in the way of stopping power. OTOH, I tend to think that 25 mph + on somewhere like Boar Lane in Leeds might require sharper stopping than you get with your legs only.

* I could be jumping to conclusions - I suppose it might have been a single freewheel, but surely, nobody would be that daft? :shock:

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Dean
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby Dean » 5 Jun 2009, 6:51pm

thirdcrank wrote:I saw somebody in the middle of Leeds today, riding fixed* and whipping along at a fair clip. Wearing a suit. No brakes. Flat handlebars so he cannot have been wondering what had happened to the sprinters' line :wink: I do know it's possible to ride fixed and avoid using the brakes. Once upon a time, bike brakes were so rubbish that they provided little in the way of stopping power. OTOH, I tend to think that 25 mph + on somewhere like Boar Lane in Leeds might require sharper stopping than you get with your legs only.

* I could be jumping to conclusions - I suppose it might have been a single freewheel, but surely, nobody would be that daft? :shock:

Something to do with this, possibly?

Watch yourselves in Leeds on Sunday!

thirdcrank
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Jun 2009, 7:13pm

I was going to say 'Well-spotted, Dean' 8) but I presume you are a regular visitor to that forum as a fixed rider. I'll watch out on Sunday. :shock:

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gaz
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby gaz » 5 Jun 2009, 8:28pm

I try not to remember my experience of riding fixed - it brings back the nightmares.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby EdinburghFixed » 5 Jun 2009, 8:48pm

I honestly don't understand how people can bear to ride brakeless. I've tried it on mine and it's just not possible to have a gear which lets you ride fast, and one that gives a sane stopping distance (unless you think a skid counts as slowing down quickly, which I don't).

If you're just going to pose around at jogging speed, fair enough. Leg braking at that speed is better than the brakes of many of my "non cyclist" friends' actual bike brakes...

But to work traffic at 25+mph, I just can't imagine doing without a brake. Not a week goes by when I don't need to slow sharply for one sort of motorist or another!

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Dean
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Re: My First Thoughts On Riding Fixed.

Postby Dean » 8 Jun 2009, 1:48pm

thirdcrank wrote:I was going to say 'Well-spotted, Dean' 8) but I presume you are a regular visitor to that forum as a fixed rider. I'll watch out on Sunday. :shock:

Nah. My mate in Leeds told me about the alleycat - and that was the only reference I could find on the interweb which didn't refer back to Facebook.

That forum's a bit London-centric for a provincial like me :mrgreen: