The other day, the free coaster on my everyday bicycle, the Creme Cycles Vinyl Solo, broke. I had to run some errands and the weather was okay, so I really wanted to take the bike for that. The only quick fix for that problem was to flip the rear wheel and start riding on the fixed gear and that’s how I got into riding fixed gear bicycles within five minutes.

So far, my entire knowledge about riding fixed gear consisted of watching other people riding fixed gear bikes in YouTube videos and they make it look so easy … well, of course it’s not that easy:

The first problem hit me, when I tried to jump on the bike to start riding. The bike stopped immediately and nothing happened: I jumped on the bike when the pedal had just passed its lowest point, which is basically the perfect way to hit the rear brake.

Once I had that figured out, I still looked like a noob on a bicycle whenever I had to stop or start again (which is definitely the reason, why so many fixed gear riders try to avoid getting stopped in traffic – including myself…) However, at least I was able to get the bike going after all, although it didn’t take long until the next problem showed up:

Usually I like to let the bike roll whenever there’s a slight downhill or there’s not much going on and I’m not in a hurry. Stop to pedal and enjoy the view, that’s how simple it is. Did you know how hard it is to get rid of such behaviour?
Stop pedaling is not a great idea on a fixed gear bicycle, because the pedals won’t stop spinning unless the rider kicks and pushes the pedals back into the opposite direction with an unreal power and strength effort. I learned that the hard way when the pedals almost knocked me out of the saddle…

However, right now I’ve already spend a few hours on the fixed gear and sometimes these problems still bother me during the ride. Nevertheless, I already feel way more comfortable riding fixed gear, than I did in the beginning. Actually I think, that this is possibly the coolest and most chill way to ride bicycles in a city or on a commute to work.
I left the rear brake and the rear brake lever on the bike, just in case I didn’t like the fixed gear at all. Right now, I don’t see a reason why I should keep it on the bike any longer, because I’m absolutely hyped about riding fixed gear.

-Dennis

The singlespeed conversion of my Creme Cycles Vinyl bicycle took weeks until everything looked like how I wanted it to be. Of course, my excitement level to take the bike out for a first ride went straight through the rooftop…

I decided to go on an easy spin through the neighborhood to see, if everything works as it should. I was especially worried about pretty much the whole brake system and the positions of the brake levers on the handlebar in detail. Everything used to work on the bike stand, but that doesn’t mean anything for on-road use. So, the first few times I hit the brakes were very exciting moments to say the least.

Somehow though, the brakes were working just fine and I’m happy about that.

On top of that, the way the bike looks made me even happier. The chrome-like brake levers on the black handlebar, the velcro on the toptube holding the brake cable and of course … the pizza saddle! Everything looked exactly the way I imagined.

However, looking at the bike as a whole, I think I would maybe go with two rims of the same color next time. The new rim at the rear looks great for itself…but the rest of the bike is black, so the silver of the rear rim looks a bit weird…

I don’t know, next time I would probably try to get a black rim or two silver rims. But in times like these I’m happy that I got a single new rim at all. Ordering and waiting for the new parts took way longer than I thought. The local bike shop almost ran out of spare parts and looking for parts online proved to be a nightmare too. This rim was basically the only singlespeed hub – rim combination available, so I’m pleased with what I got right now…

Besides of this, the customized version of the bike is running so smooth, I sometimes have to look twice to see that this is the same frame as before. Of course, the 47 – 17 gearing has its pros and cons. My first impression is, that it’s perfect for riding on city roads. I’ve got a nice acceleration, so that I can easily flow with the traffic.

Unfortunately, this city ain’t too big… As soon as I hit the suburbs, I find myself fighting on every climb. I just hope to get some nice training effects out of this…

After all though, I’m pretty satisfied with the result of my work. The bike is far more fun to ride than it used to be and I learned a whole lot of new things about the mechanics on a bicycle.

Plus, I’m already thinking about a next project…

-Dennis

In case you’d like to see a bit more of the customized bicycle, here’s my YouTube video about it:

Thanks for reading, watching, liking and visiting!

Hey everyone,

I spent a decent amount of time during the last few weeks working on my “everyday” bicycle, the Creme Cycles Vinyl Solo Black. I’m using this bicycle since two years to go shopping or visiting friends or whenever I’m outside with my camera, looking for the next great picture…However, the longer I kept riding the bike, the longer got the list of things, that I’d like to change about it. Parts like the saddle or the rear hub and the backpedal break suddenly used to freak me out everytime I took the bike out for a ride.

It was about time for a little customization…

I had something like a clear plan in my head. First of all, I wanted to change the internal gear box in the rear hub against a singlespeed hub…a loud one to be exact. Second of all, the saddle basically felt like a wooden plate, which is not quite comfortable when the streets of your hometown are a best-of collection of the greatest potholes ever.

It was clear that those changes would cause a couple of additional changes. Adding a singlespeed hub for example meant I’d no longer have a backpedal break, which was a good change, I just needed to add a second rim break.

The most difficult thing about all of this was looking for new parts that would fit the bike. Some measurements on the Creme Cycles Vinyl seemed a bit extraordinary to say the least, but after all I got lucky and found some singlespeed bike parts by a local BMX brand / shop. Great looking parts and effortable at the same time, it didn’t take long to decide whether or not to buy them.

Another quick fix was the saddle problem. My order at the BMX shop brought back memories of my old bmx pizza saddle… I instantly knew I had to add this saddle to the bike, though it proved to be some extra online research time until I found an adapter that would fit the 25,4mm bmx seat post to the 26,6mm bike frame. For some reasons these parts are rare…

Adding a new rear rim break was another difficult part about the whole work on the bike thing, as I never did that before. Figuring out the right length of the cable and how to make the break actually stop the wheel took some time. All in all, I installed the whole rim break system about a dozen times until it finally worked out pretty well.

What I like most about the customized version of this bike, beside of the pizza saddle of course, is the sound of the rear hub. Adding a singlespeed hub to the bike, finally got me a roadbike, that not only looks like one, but sounds like one, too. Plus, I don’t need to use a bell or yell at people anymore, which is definitely a huge advantage…

I could write a lot more about this bike build, however, I thought it would be fun to make a video about it, too. And that’s exactly what I did. Of course, talking to a camera and looking for a nice angle extended the whole process of the bike build even more, but making videos is something I enjoy a lot, so taking some extra time for the camera was not much of a big deal…

So, in case you’d like to actually watch me working on the creme cycles vinyl, too…

What do you think about the result? Would you like to know more about the bicycle? Feel free to tell me in the comments below…

-Dennis