Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

500 fixie miles

I've now commuted 500 miles on my fixie. Riding with a single gear and no freewheel has proved to be more fun than I expected. I've managed to stay on the the thing despite it having a pretty good attempt to throw me on three occasions:

  • Trying to “freewheel” as I went over a speed bump.

  • Trying to “freewheel” going round a roundabout. Very exciting as I got lifted up at the same time as the rearwheel stepped out.

  • Going down hill and letting the speed build up and my legs not being able to keep up, in the wet all went very wobbly.

All these happened on the first two commutes since then I have mastered not freewheeling and can control the speed going down hill and spin at a rate that I previously thought impossible although it is much easier to use the brakes.

  • Track standing is harder on the fixie than on a freewheel bike. I think this is just lack of practice as it is getting better.

  • Gettting too close to the kerb is frightening as that pedal is going to go down relentlessly so narrow gaps are narrower.

  • Judging whether there is room for another turn of the pedals before you have to stop is more important than I relised. If you get it wrong then your foot is stuck at the bottom of a pedal stroke so starting is really hard.

  • Getting your foot clipped in once you are moving is impossible, better to get clipped in before putting the power down. Another reason to perfect that track stand.

  • I've not scraped my pedals going round corners, Yet.

Thursday Jul 27, 2006

Wet does not do it justice

Just got a proper soaking, the wettest I have ever been on a bike. I suspect that the flooding will get on the local news as “Flash Floods” with some reference to the lightening. Even having waited for the rain to stop before I left the rain started again and never really stopped all the way home but that was not the problem. The standing water and floods. Being hit by the splash from on coming and overtaking cars that could not think beyond their rush to be where they had to be to think of others.

However for every one of the unthinking there were many who stopped and let me through. Once you are in 8 inches of water you don't want to stop. If the water covers you side of the road you ride on the other side to avoid being in the water. Mostly the motorists let me do what I had to do.

I had to “close shaves”. One was a man hole cover covered with standing water that was more slippery than a slippery thing that had been made more slippery with the addition of slippery juice. I was doing a left and accelerating and the rear wheel spun and stepped out. No real risk of being off but was interesting. The other was earlier on in Farnborough going through a flood. This was a deep flood, 10 to 12 inches, which was deeper than I expected but it was the bow wave from the car coming in the other direction that almost had me off. Not really their fault although very inconsiderate I was 80% of the way through the flood at the time. Unknown to all all this was the deepest part.

What I really did not like was the lightening. Like a previous occasion in France there was lightening all around me. I suspect the odds of being struck by lightening would make being knocked off by a motorist a certainty, but for some reason it made for a nervous ride.

All of this was my fault. I had breakfast with Chris and I mentioned how rarely I get rained on. Then when the rain was coming down I said that my only time that I was rarely scared on a bike was in a lightening storm in France.

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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