Wow, just three weeks on the fixie bike and I am learning a lot.
At first it was just the basics; learning how to get on and into the toe straps or getting off smoothly (swinging the leg over the bike to stop and coast but the pedals keep moving – awkward to say the least).
Then I started to discover some of the other situations I never think about normally. Like coasting down the hall at work on my way out of the building push pedaling on one side of the bike; can’t do that any more. Or going down a curb and having to keep the pedals moving; or trying to get up curbs without being able to ratchet the cranks into position.
No more coasting down embankments, bunny hopping over bumps or cracks, stretching my legs, adjusting socks, tightening the toe clips, coasting as I maneuver through traffic or coasting when I am tired.
It has been a very interesting experience. The easy stop and starts at the lights are not what they used to be as I try to time the toe clip connection or pull a strap tight while cranks are turning (Yes, I know I should use clips instead).
What was more surprising to me was that my “track stands” at the light are harder on the “track bike” then on the road bike where I could ratchet the cranks. Once I learn how to push the bike backwards it may be a different deal but I am still trying to get used to that feel.
And of course with ONE fixed gear, I make some real weird fast downhill spins that must look really strange to someone watching from afar. It must look like I am completely out of control because it feels that way to me. I just want to coast sometimes but I know I can’t. Which brings me to slowing down without brakes:
I was able to ride to and from work without brakes already but it is very strange. I forgot at one point to estimate the reverse pedaling at a stop sign and had to make a sharp right at the corner to avoid a car in the intersection. And my legs get a whole new workout reverse pedaling to slow down which helps to give my legs more of a workout.
But overall the biggest thing I have to re-learn is to think about what I am doing. I of course was at the point where I did not have to think much about what I was doing but now I have to learn all these fixie details. Riding along requires thinking about how fast I can take a corner that may catch a pedal, about bumps that may throw my legs off balance or a readying for a quick stop and watching my pedal position.
Riding the fixie has definitely worked my cadence and given me a new level of workout. It has been a nice commuter to City Hall and work. And on top of all that it makes me think. Wow I love Bike Riding!