Today my gear came for my SE Bikes Draft. I thought I had an idea what it would be like to ride a fixie for the first time. Thankfully, I didn’t kill myself!
The way it works on my Draft is that I have a free wheel gear on one side and a fixed gear on the other. If I want the ease of the free wheel, I put that side on the chain. When I feel like the fun of the fix wheel, I just turn the wheel around and here we go.
In my first ride I headed up to Sunshine Cycle Shop to have them take a look at it. It started out no different than with the free wheel. I had been warned about the way the cranks can throw you if you relax your pedaling motion.
Things got interesting when I started down a hill for the first time. I hit about 25 miles an hour and my legs just couldn’t keep up with the pedals! I ended up lifting my feet and letting the cranks go mad. It was time to figure out how to control the bike in a decent.
I kept practicing to keep control. I found that I could “walk the bike” down. You really had to think ahead. It was okay to go fast, as long as I didn’t go too fast. So, I would start off down a hill slowing the rotation. At a point where I felt I could keep the revolutions manageable, I would just let it go.
It was fun. I can see why people say it is a more “organic” kind of riding. There is never a time when you stop thinking about the feeling of the bike. You use your legs not just to propel the bike forward, but to slow it. Really, your body becomes the gearing.
As a commuter, I would probably prefer the free wheel. The fixed wheel makes for some interesting fun. I think I’ll keep it.