Riding Fixed - Initial Thoughts
Well, yesterday was only a short trip - about three miles each way. The route out is mostly a gentle climb (into the wind - wouldn’t you just believe it) that left me thinking I’d made a dreadful mistake.
Perhaps fixing isn’t for me after all. Or maybe I just need to track down a larger sprocket - say, 16T. Or a smaller chain ring. Something like a 38. Or maybe both.
And then the pool session was only one that I’d rank as “OK”. My technique is obviously still far from right, with only marginal progress on speed. Interestingly enough though, it’s easier slow progress through the water, so I must be doing something right - I get out at the end not feeling exhausted.
But then I did the route back. Mostly flat, or gently downhill, with some wind assistance. All I can say is there’s definitely nothing wrong with the gearing! Any lower and I’d be running out of legs. On this part of the trip, I think I got a glimpse of what fixing’s all about. Before I do any other riding on this bike though, I need to:
- Re-dish the rear wheel, and sort out the hub spacers better. At the moment the rear sprocket’s about 1/4″ off from exact alignment. So there’s a little noise when you turn the pedals over with the bike off the ground. More to the point, there’s more risk of the chain jumping off. Which I don’t want to experience.
- Sort the bike geometry better. The frame’s still basically set up for the tri bike section, even though I’ve taken the aero bar extensions off (I figured I’d have enough to worry about with everything else). The saddle’s slightly too high, the handlebars too low, and at too much of a downward angle.
- Replace the crank / just take off the big chain ring.
- Change the pedals from the Look clipless numbers I have on now, to SPD, so I can ride with my more sensible shoes on. The dismount with my road shoes is too alarming at the moment, as they’re too slippy to either unclip and carry on pedalling, or safely put a foot down without it sliding away from me.
- Track down another pair of handlebars anyway. I’ll be riding the bike with the existing bars for now, but want to put something more ‘blade-like’ on, like those pictured right. These are £25 from the Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative, but I’m sure I can do better than that on Ebay. I could just take the existing bars, chop ‘em down, and turn them over, but in common with the theme of FixieSpotting, I’m hoping to collect a whole garage full of bikes and bike bits . . . .