Rollin’ with breakless, the gearless and, oooooh yeah, the fearless…

As an XC rider, generally, I like the idea of more gears. When they came out with an 18 speed, I traded in my 10 speed. Then when they came out with a 21 speed, I naturally upgraded again. To me, having multiple gear choices means better riding, so I found the concept of the single-speed bike intriguing; last summer I got beat in an 80km XC race by a guy on a single-speed – nuff said about that. But, as foreign an idea as a single-speed was to me, the FIXIE is something else all together…

Sam's fixie

One gear, no breaks and no freewheel. These bikes are built based on the velodrome concept of less is more, less is lighter, less is faster! Why complicate a bike with things like multi-gear cassettes, derailleurs, hydraulic breaks and rotors when you don’t have to? Sometimes complete with spoke cards, and flashy frame designs, the Fixie popularity, sparked in the urban bike-courier community and Alley Cat races through the early 2000’s has grown into a bike phenomenon. This has brought major brand bike builders on-line with pricey models gleaming on show room floors everywhere, including right here in Edmonton. But, at the core of the Fixie revolution lies a search for simplicity and therein is the original allure of this unique and purest style of bike.

Fixed-gear

Simplicity of design aside, the fixie is not something anyone can just hop on and ride though… With a fixed gear set-up and no breaks, you really have to know what you’re doing, if you value your physical wellbeing. When I met with my friend Sam, I got to try my hand on his bike, and getting used to not being able to coast is really hard – and skid stopping, or skip stopping is not-so-surprisingly, tricky to say the least. If you don’t throw your body weight far enough forward while you put reverse resistance into your pedal stroke, you essentially just thrust yourself forward off the bike! Good times, good times…

Once a rider gets the hang of it though, there is a real skill, and beauty to the riding style and the appeal quickly becomes clear.

Here is another link to a particularly great example that I found – Enjoy