Hot and Sandy

Travel writing, pictures and stuff for people I know. Quite a lot of cycling talk, and some semi-controlled ranting. Hiking, outdoor and two-wheeled stuff, perhaps a little computing when it's worth talking about. Meandering thoughts.

Wednesday, August 30

Wow. A graph.

This is a quick doodle to explain how I feel about fixie riding. It's a sketch of a ride, which starts at "a" and finishes at "f". The top diagram is the route, second graph is road speed and third is rider work-rate.

Before going further, I'll just have a ramble. There is a perception among the cycling mainstream (or possibly just the press) that riding fixed is somehow hardcore, and requires more commitment than ‘regular’ cycling. This is far contrary to my experience. When I ride my free-geared bikes I am amazed -and a little dispirited I suppose - by the sheer volume of technology that it involves. Achieving the utopia of a silent bike is a challenge with modern gears. Something always seems to tick, clatter or rub so I have to tinker a lot more. I can be a lot more laissez-faire with my fixies. There are no pawls or ratchets and nothing is under spring tension. So perhaps the laziest option is, after all, a fixie with a single front brake…

My bike uses a fixed gear of 42x15 on 700c wheels with 28mm tyres. For each pedal revolution I can therefore progress 6m, which means each pedal-stomp is around 3m – three times further than I could manage with legs alone. Wheels also eliminate any up / down movement, removing me from the clutches of gravitational inefficiency, a hindrance if I was walking or running. Finally, I can assist the stepping leg with the ascending leg by pulling on the rear-most pedal. Obviously this isn’t possible when walking. All of this offsets the few kilos of weight my bike adds to the moving package. There are six bearing-sets in a fixed-gear bike, exempting the chain. One of those is the headset, which doesn’t really contribute friction to the ride. So five. Two pedals, bottom bracket, two wheels. Done. Simple, efficient machine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i concur. fixed is for slackers! it's softcore. *trackcvnt

09 September, 2006 09:30  
Blogger Lewis said...

You know it! Thanks for your comment dude. Remember, it's not broken, it's fixed.

13 September, 2006 12:56  

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