Fixed again

As is usually the case when I go fixed, it’s because something’s broken. In this instance it’s the back brakes, another victim of the poor weather we’ve had over summer.

I’m a little bit better prepared for riding the fixie this time than I was last time and my experience of being fixed is a happier one. Gotta say though, I’m not a young fella and being fixed is a young person’s thing. Riding a fixie seems to take so much more out of me than riding with a freewheel. Is that good for my fitness or just bad for my cycling?

This pic is from Why is it here? Is it my bike? No. But if I didn’t give you at least one pic nobody would read a word of the blog.

The real problem are hills. I used to quite like hills. I didn’t mind climbing them, I had an easy rhythm that could see off the little fellas round here, and once on the downhill I got the opportunity to coast and recover.  Now I peddle like buggery down the hill struggling to keep up with the flailing peddles, flail across the flat bit trying to maintain momentum, run out of puff somewhere before the point my momentum would normally carry me up the next hill and then plod to the top of the hill and repeat the process. After a few of these I start looking at the downhills like a man with lap-band surgery looks at a box of KFC.

This fixie thing is definitely a young man’s pass time. Too much riding and I need a cup of tea and a nice lie down. Skidding is just one more area that requires far more effort than it should. I know it’s partly technique, like bunny hopping, which can be surprisingly easy when you do it right, but at the moment skidding requires every muscle of my legs and my torso, and my arms are at full stretch too just hanging on. All this and the peddles still dance up and down during my skid, not your locked down power-slide you see from those kids on the interwebs. Compared to the gentle squeeze of the brakes previously required to stop my bike the fixie skid business is magnifying my stopping effort a thousand-fold.

I have improved my fixie skids, many thanks to the kids on the interwebs. Which is to say I can now skid my fixie comfortably on any loose surface or wet grass. At this rate, if I persist, I’ll be skidding on the road within decades. It’ll be a long time before I run without brakes though (as in, never) and I’ve still got the rear brake connected (but if I use it I have to stop and reset it by hand). The chances of me using a fixie skid when required is farcical. Let’s say I take my brakes off, some kid runs in front of my bike, they’re now my brakes. A 4WD pulls out in front of me, I’m now its hood ornament. I’ve got more chance of pulling Scarlett Johansson than pulling a fixie skid while flailing away downhill.

Not my bike either. This one from

Strangely though I’m quite enjoying riding around town on the fixie this time round. Last time the bike tried too often to throw me off and after I’d nearly catapulted over the handle-bars a few times I started to feel a growing resentment toward the bike. I’m now a bit more prepared for the fickle nature of the fixie and so far I haven’t had anything more than a little wiggle or two, like when my friends tooted me hello from their car and I trying to stop peddling for just a moment. Sure I looked like a dick in front of my friends but it was more of a kink than a genuine effort to throw me off.

What’s amusing about being fixed are the looks I get from other hip young wannabes. At first I flattered myself that the open-mouthed slack-jawed stare was about them being astonished by my ultra-cool cycling flair. But I think it was something more akin to the realisation that if I was doing it then fixed was no longer cool. Yes folks, riding fixed loses its edge when I start to do it.

One Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Given the proximity of May Day, the proletariat need to reclaim the fixie from the bourgeoise clutches of the wannabe hipsters. I encourage you to maintain your fixie rage, wear more flannelette and corduroy and allow them youngsters to root their metaphorical boots. I heard of a WW2 veteran mustering sheep on a single speed in the harsh saltbush country of SA in the 40’s and 50’s. He had a below knee amputation. His prosthesis was modified so it slipped over the the round metal tube in the centre of old fashioned pedals. He’d ride 8-10 hours a day over country that would cause a 4WD to shit itself. Once again, pedal on, even if most of the skid marks are in your undies rather than on the road. Washing powder is cheaper than tyre rubber. David.

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