A fixie or fixed-gear bike is a single-speed bike that comes with a fixed drive train. It has pedals that move at the same rate as the rear wheel. The rider cannot coast and most of these bikes do not have brakes, making it more challenging to use. Riding a fixie can be intimidating for most beginners.
If you want to learn how to ride a fixed gear bike, we got you covered! From pedaling to stopping, this short article will let you know some of the fundamental skills to make the most out of your bike.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Ride a Fixed Gear Bike
For the uninitiated, riding a fixie can be difficult. Especially when the fixie has no brakes, you will have a hard time controlling the bike and you might end up in an accident. Below are some of the most important things you need to know.
Get on the Bike and Position Your Feet
The first thing to do is to hop on the bike and sit comfortably. Like you would in a regular mountain bike, assume the right position. Hold the handlebars properly and sit without crouching your back too much.
Position your feet in the bike pedals. It would be best to have clips and cleats, which will secure your feet. Most fixies will have toe clips. If there’s none, then you can consider installing one. It will help to keep your feet on the pedal since the movements of the bike will depend on your pedaling.
Once you are on the bike, start pedaling. The key here is to keep on pedaling. If you stop pedaling, the wheels will stop turning. The bike will also stop. You cannot leave your legs in a stationary position. Find your balance, and once you are comfortable, pedal continuously.
Find your cadence as you pedal. Do not try to pedal more than what you are comfortable with. While you must keep on pedaling, you should not exert more pressure than what is necessary. Otherwise, you will end up overusing your leg muscles and you will get fatigued sooner.
Choose Your Route
As you pedal your bike, think ahead and think of where you are bringing the bike. One of the most important is to stick to roads with dedicated bike lanes. Do not ride against the traffic. This is important to keep you safe since you do not have the luxury of control when you are on a fixie.
When choosing your route, you should avoid those with obstacles. It will be difficult to perform tricks like bunny hopping a bike when you have a fixie. The lesser the obstacles are, the easier it will be to maneuver the bike.
Control Your Speed
While you are pedaling, one of the most challenging is to control your speed. This is especially the case when you are going uphill or downhill.
To control your speed, you need to find the right rhythm when you are pedaling. Pedal with more intensity if you want the bike to go faster. For it to be slower, you also need to minimize pedaling intensity. Regardless, the most important is to not stop moving your legs.
Stop the Bike
Aside from controlling speed, braking is another important skill when it comes to how to ride a fixed gear bike. If the bike has a brake, gradually apply pressure on the lever as you approach the stop. Keep your eyes straight on where you are going so that you can slow down the bike before hitting the brake.
If the bike has no brake, then you will need to lock up the rear wheel to stop the bike. Press the back pedal down or pedal the bike in reverse. If the bike has slowed, then you can use your feet by pushing it on the ground to stop the bike.
Q: What is a fixed gear bike good for?
A fixed gear bike is good for those who are looking for simplicity. You don’t have to deal with complicated brakes. The bike will not also require too much on your end when it comes to maintenance. It is also a good bike for those who would like to improve cycling cadence, as well as for enhancing resistance and strength.
Q: Is riding a fixed gear bike good exercise?
Yes, riding a fixed gear bike is good exercise. It is more challenging than a regular bike, and hence, your muscles will be working more. You will be constantly pedaling, which means that your leg and muscles will be engaged throughout the ride.
Q: Can you coast on a fixed gear bike?
You cannot coast on a fixed gear bike. Your legs have to keep moving as long as the bike is also moving. Instead of coasting, what you can do is to pedal backward as a means of controlling the speed of the bike.
Q: Can you stop pedaling on a fixed gear bike?
No, you cannot stop pedaling on a fixed gear bike. This kind of bike has a direct connection between the rear wheel and the pedals. This means that the pedals will spin as long as the rear wheel spins, and hence, you need to pedal. Once you stop pedaling, the bike will also stop since it cannot coast.
Q: Are fixies dangerous?
Yes, fixies are dangerous, although, this will depend on your handling skills and the specific type of bike that you are using. To prevent safety problems, keep on pedaling when the bike is moving. You should also learn proper techniques when it comes to stopping the bike without brakes.
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Riding a fixie is a great way to improve your cadence and build physical strength. However, it is easier said than done, especially if you are a beginner. Take the time to learn the basics of how to ride a fixed gear bike, which should include knowing how to stop the bike and control your speed.