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Techs-Mechs: First time on a Fixie.. What was your's like?

I have apparently become a tad obsessed with the whole single speed thing (see my last post), but I have felt like I still haven't fully felt the true experience while free wheeling, I needed to try a fixed gear. I have in my possession a White Industries Eno hub laced to a Ritchey Aero rim, and have been waiting for the chance to try it on the Fixie side.

This Saturday, I woke a bit early for my regular club ride, so I decided to give the fixie a try after which I would switch over to a geared bike to meet up with the club. There is a 6 mile loop that I live on which has some gentle rollers, smooth pavement and all right turns with no need to stop. Not pancake flat, but the downhills are typically 25 mph while coasting, perfect for a Fixie (I thought). Why not...

The bike, Pinarello Steel frame, campy 42 t crank, and the Fixie has a 16t cog. Front and rear record calipers. Speedplay pedals.

First challenge, mounting and rolling off. Ok, folks warned me of this, and the speedplay cleats are a bit old and fussy, but no problems. Kicked the right leg over, stepped in, pushed off with the left, clipped in and I was engaged. Just like the reg bike... Ok I got lucky on my first try. Off I went.

When you first start rolling off it feels like you are strapped to a machine with a mind of it's own. Yeah, it's pedaling a bike like we all have done a million times, but it doesn't really want you to stop. You quickly learn who's in charge and it ain't you... Then I rolled faster as I approached my first down hill. To say the bike did everything in its power to seperate my legs from my hips would be an understatement. As a self described masher, I was way out of my comfort zone rolling downhill at 24 mph while my legs were trying to do 130 rpm. I squeezed both brakes to slow down, and I managed to get this bucking bronco under control, along with my heart rate.

Quite the wake up call. The rest of that ride (2 laps or 12 miles), was conservative and cautious, although my speed and cadence were both pretty good for me (18 mph, 85 rpm). I breathed a sigh of relief when I was done, but also smiled as I rode for 40 minutes without crashing. Jumping on my regular geared bike felt funny and it took me a few miles before I could trust coasting again.

On Sunday I took it out again only this time 5 laps plus an extra spur for a total of 32 miles in @ an hour and 50 minutes. Much less eventful although my mount was less graceful. I did have one tiny brain cramp after cresting a hill and trying to coast, but was quickly reminded coasting wasn't an option. I learned though that you can slow your cadence before a hill, or just feather the brakes to provide some resistance. Each lap I braked less. By laps 4 and 5 I never touched the brakes. Little crazy feeling but fun in a sick way,

what was your first time on a Fixie like?

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