How To Ride A Fixed Gear Bike

Now chris and I have come out here today with a single goal in mind, and that is to learn to ride a fixed-gear bike. I haven't ridden on fixed-wheel bike since I last raced the track in 2012 with this guy, and that was a world away from riding a fixie in an urban environment.

There are a few reasons why you may want to ride a fixed-wheel bike outside, one being the low maintenance, and perhaps the direct feel of that drivetrain straight into the rear wheel. Or maybe it's the pure thrill of riding a very basic bike.

How about we start at the beginning and start off slowly? I think that's a good idea chris. Let's go check it out. - let's do it. (Urban beats) there is one very important thing to remember when riding a fixie, and that is to keep your legs turning at all times, as the momentum in the wheels, cranks, and your legs is enough to lift you up and potentially throw you over the bars.

(Blond man groans) now before you get going, there are a few checks that you should definitely do of your fixie, and I would start by checking that your rear wheel is in straight and tight.

And this is extra important on a fixie, because it is your anchor point of not just your power delivery, but also your braking. So it's extra important.

Now I did actually do that myself, but if you are worried, then it is worth getting it checked by your local bike shop. Yeah definitely, that's good advice.

And then once you've done that, I would move on to your saddle height, because lowering it a tiny bit, so around half a centimeter, from what you would normally run on your road bike, will enable you to move around on your bike a lot more effectively, in the technical corners and any maneuvers you're making, but it will also help with the forces that happen with your braking through your legs.

So now we're set up; should we get going? Yep, if you're comfortable and happy with your bike, I don't see why not. Let's do it. (Moderate urban beats) now we know how to get going, I think it's important we look at how to stop, and i've opted for some clip-in pedals.

Yeah, and I actually think that's a really good idea, and I would recommend you try this at home as well, because it will give you the extra security when you push back on the upstroke to use the brakes.

Right, let's get going shall we? Go! (Claps hands) most countries state a front brake as a legal minimum requirement. Bearing in mind your rear brake is your legs, that means you effectively have two brakes to use, just like normal.

I would use your front brake for real braking, down a hill for example, or an abrupt stop. But for everything else, I would recommend getting to grips with your legs as your brakes. Once up to speed, you slowly need to apply a little back pressure through the cranks.

This will slightly lift you off the saddle to start with, but will become natural over time. It is completely possible to lock up the rear brake, just as it is on any bike, but I can't think of an actual reason you would need to do this.

However, skids can look pretty cool. The key thing to remember is to gently moderate the force through your legs. It takes practice to judge just how much force you need to apply, but it will become quite natural after a little while.

(Moderate urban beats) now you've mastered how to slow down and stop, now you want to concentrate on momentum. And it's not always the easiest thing to start off in this gear. No, you chose a pretty big gear there, mate.

So in fact, you want to really focus on trying to maintain that momentum by scanning the road ahead, apprehending the maneuvers that others are going to make, the terrain that's approaching, and any of the hazards that are on the road.

That's a good point, chris. Because if you know what's coming, you can slow down well before you get to it and that will help keep you rolling. Basically what we're saying is, by being a good and considerate road user, you'll easily be able to maintain that hard-earned speed.

Yeah, that makes good sense, that. But what about the hills? Ah, I have a plan for them. - oh no. Well, the direct power transfer of the bike will actually enable you to climb much tougher gradients in a like for like gear than you could on your normal bike.

These bikes really can fly uphill. But one thing that I do recommend doing that I wouldn't suggest on a road bike is to actually give yourself a little extra pace on the entry to the climbs; a good 10-second surge into a climb can really go a long way on a fixie.

(Urban beats) now we're a little more confident on a bike, perhaps we should try some basic skills. And these skills may even help you on the open road.

Yep, that's true, they could. And let's start with the track stand then. The fixed gear actually makes it a lot easier for us to balance effectively, especially when on a negative gradient, as you can push back to hold the perfect position.

Shall I have a go? - yeah. Let's do it. (Slow urban beats) riding a fixie is the perfect bike to ride backwards on. Whilst it is a completely useless skill to have, it is a real carpark pleaser.

But practice makes perfect in this scenario, so a 30 minutes' practice will go a long way. (Slow urban beats) so you've learned to ride a fixie and even dialed in some skills, but what else can you do? Well, fixies are used for commuting.

They're used by delivery couriers in towns and cities. And people are still racing them, both indoors on the velodrome, and outside. So there's a whole world of fixie-riding out there.

Some pros even use it for winter training. Yeah, it's good to mix it up I guess. (Slow urban beats) hopefully these tips have got you wanting to get out and ride a fixie.

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