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.