Fix, Burn, and Kiss The Carpet.
OK - a bit of a departure now from all that cycling in tweed I’ve been writing about of late.
Fixed gear bikes.
Yes I have one, and yes it’s lots and lots and lots of fun. I don’t know why.
It. Just. Is.
There’s just something about it that wires up my brain differently, and makes everything just a huge blast. Riding on the flat, you really get to feel the momentum of the bike, descents are just an adrenaline rush (that might be fear induced though), and climbing is a whole lot easier than you’d think. It turns out that being able to use the bike’s momentum eliminates the dead spots in your pedal stroke that you never even knew were there.
Oh, and all the time I’m riding her, I have ‘No Cars Go’ by Arcade Fire playing inside my head, which is just great music for when my lungs feel like they’re burning up because the bike made me ride further and faster than was ever going to be sensible.
Unlike some people, or in fact a whole bunch of people, you’ll notice that I do have brakes on my bike though. This is because I’ve no desire to kiss the carpet / eat gravel / die. And also because I could never do decent skid braking (with a fixed gear bike, there’s no freewheel, so if you stop pedaling with determination, the back wheel locks and you skid to a stop).
Actually, now that I mention that, how do people do skid braking? I’m reasonably strong in the legs, but if I try this on my bike, it makes a very spirited attempt to throw me off. Is it just a matter of gear ratios? I ride 42:15 (I think), so do the young hipsters you see cruising to a stop ride something more like 32:16? Or is this getting too bike geek for words?
Anyway. My reason for mentioning all this fixed gear irresponsibility is this video posted on the Bicycle Diaries. Filmed in and around London Fields (the start of the Dunwich Dynamo - wooo!), it features all the usual fixed gear high-jinks, chat and people not quite getting it right. But somehow it’s a cut above the usual look-its-a-fixie-isn’t-that-cool video:
And one last thought. I’ve just realised that there’s nothing un-tweed about fixed gear bikes. After all, they were invented before freewheels were around weren’t they?