Riding a fixie for the first time

I don’t consider myself a Fixed Gear Rider expert, but I want to share some of my first time experiences riding a Fixed Gear bike to work.

The first Fixed Gear I ever ridden was a Bianchi Pista that belonged to Steve Boehmke, at that moment I knew I had to have one. Last November I received a Raleigh One Way to review for a previous site that I used write for, although it was a little big, I decided to ride it to work fixed gear style. Here’s what I quickly learned that nobody told me:

*Be mindful while turning. There’s no coasting thru the turns, so if you lean too much, your pedals may scrape causing you to fall.

*Use your brake to slow down on the downhills, if you don’t the super high cadence will cause you to bounce up and down or your feet will fly off the pedals making you look a little goofy.

*Be mindful of your pedal position when stopping, if your pedals are not in the position that you are used to while re-starting, you will have to push the bike or do a rolling start until your feet catch up with the pedals. This is not easily done while riding in traffic.

*Keep in mind that there is NO coasting, a habit that is really hard to break. If you forget, (and I guarantee that you will) the shock to your legs will not be pleasant.

Swobo Sanchez

After a few miles of riding you will get the hang of it, you will either hate it or love it. If you hate it, don’t give up, riding a fixed gear bike is fun and it will improve your endurance and riding form.

6 Comments

  1. nick July 31, 2007 2:44 pm 

    I want to add, because of what I see in your pictures: fixed-gear bikes are meant to be ridden with the rider’s feet attached to the pedals, by a clipless system, or by clips and straps. Riding without pedal retention is a bad idea, even if you have a brake. Pedal retention solves two issues you mentioned: feet flying off the pedals at high cadence, and starting pedal position, since you can put your weight forward and pull up with your strapped in foot to get it where you need it

    Basically, my feeling is that if you’re not comfortable having your feet strapped in, then fixed-gear is not for you, the same way a person not comfortable driving stick stift shouldn’t drive a vintage muscle car.

  2. Moe July 31, 2007 3:17 pm 

    I will have to disagree with you on that one… Granted, being attached to the pedals may solve the issue of the feet flying off the pedals, but I’ve ridden the One Way and the Sanchez for awhile and I have to say that I haven’t had the need for clipless pedals. However, I do ride my non-fixed gear bikes with clipless pedals. I guess it depends on your comfort level.

  3. Ghost Rider July 31, 2007 4:03 pm 

    I think what Nick is saying is that with a clipless pedal system or with traditional toeclips and straps, you can more effectively (and safely) use your legs as “resistance brakes”…without some type of retention system for your feet, the pedals will tend to try to “buck” your feet right off ’em when you apply backpressure.

    It’s traditional to be strapped on to a fixed gear bike…that being said, I see LOTS of people running BMX platforms on their fixed gears (I’m guilty of it on occasion), but it really does make better sense to use straps, clipless or even Powergrips, even if you have handbrakes.

  4. Moe July 31, 2007 5:48 pm 

    I understand what Nick is saying and I agree with you, and I eventually will install clipless pedals on my Sanchez. I just disagree with “my feeling is that if you’re not comfortable having your feet strapped in, then fixed-gear is not for you,”

  5. Nick July 31, 2007 7:33 pm 

    I maintain that if you’re riding fixed-gear with platforms, you’re not even getting half the experience. If you don’t need your feet strapped in, it means you’re relying on your hand brakes far more than you need to. There’s a lot more to it than just not coasting, and I’m not only talking about slowing down. Without your feet strapped in, you can’t accelerate properly either, since you’re can only push through a quarter-turn of each crank.

    Just go clipless or strap in. You’ll see the difference.

  6. RL Policar August 1, 2007 7:43 am 

    Yeah Moe go clipless…what’s a matter…you schikhen?

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