Honesty.

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Like most people who get into riding a bike with a fixed gear I got one because I thought it was ‘cool’ and fashionable and unashamedly so might I add. Call me a hipster if you like, I have been branded many things in my life so I guess another label wouldn’t matter.

Having ridden a bike for pretty much my whole existence and mostly BMXs or Mountain bikes I wanted something faster, lighter and much simpler without the plethora of gears, brakes and suspension I was so used to. So I got what some people like to call a ‘Fixie’.

So I have been riding a fixed gear bike for quite a while now and specifically a track bike but unlike some who progress and mature into something else like trick riding or ‘700CMX’ (as it was coined by John Prolly) I instead now find myself yearning to simply go faster, further and for longer… with all the trappings and yes by that I mean; gears and brakes, the whole shebang. My friends, I am talking about Road cycling, I absolutely love it!

I sit here writing this on my dining room table after having just returned home from another Sunday afternoon cycle with my good friend Kieran and his brother Andy out in the Warwickshire countryside. We generally do a minimum of 50 miles with a good average speed and in good time but sometimes it hurts, and I mean HURTS. There have been points on some occasions when I felt utterly spent, like I can go no further, not one centimetre more but that is the beauty of it. The sense of accomplishment when you return home to know that you did it is huge and it is at times like this that the glass of wine some like to drink or that marijuana cigarette some like to smoke has been earned and earned good. Whatever your vice is you know you have worked hard for it so gone on, enjoy it.

This is not a fixed vs. free argument, nor is it a gears vs. none debate. There for me is no comparison… they both do their jobs perfectly, to a tee. Now with the option of a road bike I could not again do silly miles riding fixed, there is no need. At this point I would like to say that I fully respect and commend the people who ride for a good amount of miles without the aid of a freewheel or the option to change gear. Take the early riders of the Tour de France for instance. Over 2000 kilometres in nineteen days on a fixed gear without a brake, boom! I doff my hat to them. I however can no longer do it, my knees just cannot take it, but what they can take is a bit of bombing and spinning around the city, where the single speed, low maintenance, no nonsense bike comes into it’s own, for that it is unbeatable.

Back to road bikes! The ability to be able to comfortably travel a certain distance solely under your own steam is amazing. The practice of taking in some of the best countryside your local area has to offer is also a draw, as is the socializing with pals or being able to simply get out in the quiet and mull something over in your head on a solo effort, to conquer a certain hill that has been giving you nightmares, to meet a personal goal (for me that is currently to do 100 miles in a day), to fix a puncture on the side of the road although no one likes a puncture. As Kieran put it “You get a great sense of achievement to know that the thing, the problem, the flat tyre that halted your progress has been fixed, sorted, and dealt with by you and your gone again, on your way”. It all adds up to being one of the things I now enjoy most.

I was such a terrible snob a while back, I really was…”gears are for losers,” I said once jovially, what was I thinking? If I could go back and speak to myself at that point I would have asked myself to go wash my mouth out with soap!

It is simply about appreciating a machine for what it does best and nothing more.

To seasoned road cyclists please forgive me for my novice tone here but I am new to this by a few months so I am still just a beginner and that is another thing, how many others like me have discovered road cycling through the purchase and use of a fixed gear bike?

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11 Responses to “Honesty.”

  1. Blacksmile Says:

    Oh and fear not… Spinwell will not be turning into a road only blog! It will remain neutral to all manner of cycling goodness as per.

  2. James Says:

    Riding long miles exploring the countryside is a joy and for me there is great pleasure in the simplicity of doing that fixed! 100 miles (I remember my first 100) makes a whole load of great roads accessible from Brum. If you fancy an extra riding partner drop us a bell.

  3. hardy Says:

    Keirans gay.

  4. Blacksmile Says:

    Fight!

  5. hardy Says:

    That was a hideous display of jealousy, I must apologize.
    Although Keiran does have some effeminate traits.
    Hands and eyes.

  6. monkey Says:

    i am new to the fixed wheel, i am just about to finish my first build and yet so eager to get on the road to feel the burn as such. i too have only ever ridden mountain bikes and recently got back into bike when i started to commute to work. my fellow commuters found me a frame and from there i decided to build a fixie after seeing one on the train. i have to admit my want was more to do with the style and unique look and ride and i have been critisized for this but truth be bnown its been more about the build now i just love that iv made this bike mine from someones junk. Moreso i have a BSA fram in the shed now waiting my next project.

  7. Anon Says:

    It’s all about performance, that’s the name of the game!

  8. kieran Says:

    Hardy (h*rd-on) you posh little fa**ot, im going to wring your neck. YOU HAVE G*Y HAIR AND BALLS.

  9. Edward Scoble Says:

    What you’ve experience is the whole point of having a fixed wheel road bicycle in the first place, when I got my first road bike (old peugeot) when I was 17, I didn’t get on with it, changing gear is a bit strange, not sure what cadence I should be pedalling at (thinking if i want to go faster, drop it on the smallest cog and try your best to turn the pedals), going upwill mean dropping the cog to the biggest and the smallest ring spinning like madly.

    then, I started riding fixed wheel when I was 21, partly because it was cheap, my legs developed better, going uphill is fun because the bicycle force you to keep a rhythm, I learn to developed a good cadence, not too spinny or too ‘whirly’, just perfect.

    Then I got back on an new road bike, my father’s, and I fell in love with it, because of riding fixed wheel, I learn which gearing should I set it up, I was able to keep a constant cadence no matter what speed, and that alone won it for me, if you keep a good cadence, you can do limitless miles until your body quit on you, now I know why people enjoyed their road bike (well, some).

    All the professional cyclists ride fixed wheel for that reason you mentioned – to get better at riding their road bike.

  10. Edward Scoble Says:

    Another thing I’ve forget to mentioned on my original post – in the end, it’s just a bicycle, all that matter is enjoying the ride.

  11. Fixup Says:

    ALL bicycles suck. Well except BMX’s. Actually no, INCLUDING BMX’s.

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