My main commuter bike is my Redline 925, its a fixed. But I also have my Ibex/Xtracycle when I need to carry a big load.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather commute on my fixed gear than my Xtracycle which in its core is a mountain bike.
Here’s why I’d rather ride a fixed gear bike than a 26″ mountain bike:
1. Mountain bikes are heavier.
The Ibex/Xtracycle is about 40lbs all together.
2. Mountain bikes are slower
The gear ratio on it isn’t mean for me to get some fast speeds. Smaller wheels, 26″ vs 700c…26 would lose. 700c wheels roll faster and smoother.
3. Less clutter. My fixed gear has one cable coming out of the bar, thats for my front brake. My mountain bike has 4 cables, 2 shifters and 2 brake levers. Fixed gear bikes have less hassle to deal with when riding.
So for me, I’m sticking to my fixed gear as my main commuter.
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.
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.
On Saturday after my kids’ birthday party. My brother Randy, My brother in-law Dave and Moe decided to ride our bikes to do a liquor run.
I busted out the KHS Tandemania and demonstrated my smooth skillz by riding it solo, from the back.
Here’s Moe doing his skid stops with the Swobo Sanchez.
Randy and I challenged Moe to a race. Moe was to our right. We let Moe win because we knew it would make him feel really good about himself.
In the next posting I’ll be doing I’ll show you all the great stuff we came back with. If hadn’t noticed, I’m wearing the Banjo Brothers Commuter Back Pack. I’ll demonstrate how versatile this back pack really is! Stick around.
Most of you read my post about my new Brooks B17 Saddle that I purchased for my Swobo Sanchez. One thing that I didn’t care for is the breaking in period, 3-6 months seems too long for me. It also may take me longer since the Swobo Sanchez is not my only ride, I have to constantly switch rides since I’m a bike tester. I was reading Sheldon Brown’s method of breaking in a leather saddle, the fast way:
The easiest and fastest method to break in a new saddle is with a liquid leather dressing, such as neatsfoot oil, Lexol, seal oil (a French favorite) or baseball glove oil.
You can just pour the oil on and rub it in by hand, or for a more drastic approach, you can actually soak the saddle. The easiest way to soak a saddle is to turn it upside-down on a sheet of aluminum foil, then form the foil up around the saddle for a snug fit. Pour in a whole 4 ounce can of Neatsfoot oil or whatever oil you prefer, and let the saddle soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Pour the remaining oil back into the can, and wipe the excess oil off with a rag or paper towel.
Does anyone else have any other methods to speed up the breaking in process?
Yes, it’s fixed gear Friday!! Check out my new acquisition for my Swobo Sanchez:
A beautiful Brooks B17 Saddle:
I wanted to customize my Swobo Sanchez with a retro-modern look so I added the faux leather grips and the real leather saddle.
I also bought their care kit, it comes with a tension wrench, a nice polishing cloth and the proofide. According to the instructions, it takes 3-6 months for the saddle to break-in, but once it has broken-in, it should mold to my ass nicely.
The Swobo Sanchez is quickly becoming one of my favorite bikes, not because it’s so cool, but I really enjoy the ride.