I'm getting a fixie in a couple weeks from my brother-in-law that I'll be using the commute. Any tips getting used to riding fixie, esp. in city traffic?
If you ride a fixie anywhere other than a velodrome, I would recommend a $1,000,000 Lloyd's of London policy because a fixed gear bike does not permit coasting; when the bike is rolling, the pedals will turn; and generally they don't have brakes (shamelesly stolen from Sheldon). [b]I'm just bustin' your chops. Have fun [/b]on your "single speed" (which is usually understood to have a freewheel, where you can stop pedaling and coast, and at least a front brake.)
Edit: Now that I think about it . . . the utter simplicity and purpose of a single-speed is that it eschews any and all 'tips.' Want to go faster? Pedal faster. Want to slow down? Apply the brakes. You just ride it. I need to get one . . .
watch your fingers. Fixie chain setups don't have a spring loaded tensionner like geared bikes do so if you get something caught in the sprocket, it's getting mangled.
I converted my mountain bike commuter into a fixie commuter and ride it on shorter trips now. It was fun to put together and fun to ride. If I've been riding my road or tri bike a bit and then get on it, I forget that I have no ability to coast. Also, going over bumps or even turning while pedaling (where with a freewheel I might have coasted and leaned more) takes some getting used to. Going downhill is probably the biggest challenge - if you get going too fast, you can flip your legs right off. This happened to me when I was not clipped in and thankfully I still have my front brake, so I used it to slow me down.
In general, and for riding in traffic, I'd say just don't expect to go as fast or come up to intersections and coast through. Just be more careful initially. And, when you do maintenance, it can be a little scary - don't get your fingers too close to the rear cog (or let your daughter turn the pedals ... ).
Does it have a flip/flop hub? If yes then I would suggest riding on the freewheel side in heavy traffic until you get the hang of riding one gear. I ride my single speed to work at least once a week (sometimes fixed sometimes free). Just be extra cautious approaching stoplights and stop signs, until you get used to stopping on a fixed gear (plan ahead). I would recommend a front brake if it doesn’t already have one (will really help you slow down faster). Overall it’s great fun though. You will get the hang of it really quick, especially when you forget to pedal and you get a nice little launch out of the saddle.
you'll be fine...ride it on side streets on the weekend before your commute and you'll be good to go! your own sense of self preservation will keep you from getting into trouble
only good tip: spin faster to stay in control on downhills...don't let the bike spin you
oh, and ride ironically
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