Tuesday, November 21, 2006

fixin' it...

Alert: Bike talk ahead.

In comments to the last post, tjl says "I've got serious fixed gear envy today. "

Why would he say this to me? Cuz I've got a fixie, as of last Friday evening!

More specifically, I got a new Bianchi San Jose this weekend, and rode fixie both Saturday and Sunday. The bike comes with a flip-flop hub, and I expected it to come with a freewheel, since the specs say so. Generally, I was looking for a relatively inexpensive single-speed bike that I could take to the grocery store (and feel comfortable locking outside) and train on through the winter. Ultimately, this is a cost-saving move: spend a little now on a bike designed to a) limit use of my "good" bikes in foul weather and on fouled winter roads (do not ask what it cost to get my good CX bike back on its feet after I rode it all last winter--oy), and b) reduce short-distance car errands. But it came with the fixed cog, which was like getting a whole other bike. And instead of saying, "Hey--I thought this bike came with the freewheel--gimme the freewheel!" I decided to try out the fixie, and buy the freewheel in a few days.

Granted, buying an all-new single-speed flip-flop fixie-free Binky doesn't quite mesh with the whole hipster d.i.y. scrounge-it-together single-speed ethos. So I won't get a lot of points when I'm hanging out wherever the hipster d.i.y-ers hang out (see, I'm so square I don't even know where to go!). Plus, I figure the big baby-carrying monstrosity that'll be clipped onto the hub for most of the next five or so years won't do much for me, either. In my defense (see, deep down I sometimes really do wish I could be a hipster, but that's a whole other post--or a book), I looked around a bit, and the SJ is priced nice, even nicer since it comes from my LBS. And it's kinda sporty lookin', I think.

And you know what? After 4 hours of riding the bike this weekend, I can say that riding fixed is great, and I think it's only going to get better as I get better at reading the bike, reacting to it, and learning its quirks.

And tjl, if it makes you feel any better, I'm really sore! Regular fixed gear riders know this, but reverse pedaling to reduce momentum or come to a stop uses muscles most cyclists don't even know they've got--but I do!


At 12:28 PM, Blogger turk182 said...

riding fixed will make you a lazy pedaler, no need to work on pull...the bike pedals it self.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

i like fixies because they teach muscle memory.

but as long as you don't over-do it ... you won't get lazy. riding the geared bikes 'fixes' that ... no problema.

enjoy. but let's see some pics.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger tjl said...

You think you're sore? Try an hour and a half of dryland with R&G.

BTW, I'm riding out from the shop between 1 and 1:30 tomorrow...

At 12:26 PM, Blogger shannon said...

turk182: lazy, shmazy--it's a lot of work, and it's not like i'm going fixed full-time (once you go fixed, blah blah blah). In fact, bought the freewheel yesterday and did my a.m. pre-gluttony turkey-day ride on it.

oV: so demanding! okay, pix after turkey day.

tjl: sorry i missed y'all. looked like you were on the way for a nice ride on a beautiful day.


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