Friday, August 31, 2007

Fixie Heaven

Well, it is basically done. I stopped by Recycled Cycles yesterday afternoon and picked up a St.Etienne handlebar and Shimano Deore mountain bike brake handle (left side) with the cables. I stripped off the old handlebars, brake cables and back brake block. With the new handlebar, I measured off the distance and cut off the "ram horn" ends, flipped it and its a set up bull horns! Got it all mounted and ready to go. My only misstep was thinking I could re-use the handlebar tape. No go, it shredded when I took it off.

So, I rode in to work today with bare bars. The bike looks like Twiggy! So spare and minimal - it's beautiful. I'm planning on riding in to Gregg's Cycle this afternoon and picking up some bar tape and a longer bolt to hold on the brake handle. This handlebar is a bit wider than the mountain bars the brake handle was made for.

Riding a fixie is going to take some time to get used to. I chickened out last weekend and didn't ride the whole of Mercer Island for fear I couldn't make it. I'll spend next week riding and build up to it. The bike is so light without all the stuff on it

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finally, a fixie

Well, I finally made the jump to a fixed gear! Here is the story...

I have had a Faggin Tre Tubi from 1985 for many years. The bike has been through a number of moves and had to be turned into Frankenbike a couple years back when I had a chain disaster that sheared off the spokes on the back wheel. I was contemplating turning it into a fixie back then but the cost was too much. The new derailluer and cluster were very finaicky and the bike would drop out of gear at the drop of a hat, especially when pushing hard up a hill... BAD. I finally sickened of it.

The thing that turned it was when I got a Trek 8000 from a neighbor and turned it and a few spare parts from the Faggin into $90 at Recycled Cycles. I also sold a couple bikes from the PBs garage for $100 on craigslist. This basically meant that I could "fixify" the Faggin for about $20 out of pocket. Well worth it!

So... the Faggin has a "flipflop" hub on the back now with a fixed 40/16 and lockring on one side and a freewheel 40/17 on the other side. It is a bolt on setup, and I need to carry a wrench to actually change it out.

I pounded up Mercerwood the other day with the 40/16 fixed. I was huffing pretty hard at the top, but I made it!! So I know it can be done. The fixie only attempted to buck me off once when I forgot I was riding fixed. All in all a pleasant experience, but I need to ride more to get used to it.

Long time...

Well, the summer has basically passed, it seems. Much has happened and biking has been the only common thread running through it all...

I came to the realization that I am NOT a long distance "event" rider... I am a commuter. Not that I wouldn't like to do this, I just don't have a life that will allow me to do it. These "event" rides require that you train consistently and I just don't have the time to do that and keep up with everything else. "Let some things go" you might think... well one of those "things" is my marriage, so I don't think THAT is going to happen!! I commute. I can fit that in.

SO here is to commuting!! Nothing wrong with being an avid cyclist... on the way in and from work.