Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to stop a FIXED GEAR Bike

Bike couriers might've popularized fixed gear (or "fixie") riding, but the last place you want to practice is a traffic-heavy setting. New riders should find an area with lots of room to maneuver (and fall).

Abandoned parking lots and indoor cycling tracks are some of the best locations. Most importantly, make sure to always wear the appropriate safety gear (helmet and possibly pads) before hopping on a brakeless bike.

Step 2: Anticipate Your Stops

Since fixie braking is more involved, you'll need to remain extremely aware of your surroundings. Constantly scanning the road for hazards is ideal while riding through traffic, but you'll have it a little easier while practicing. Try to define an ideal stopping point in your practice area by setting up goal markers like traffic cones. With a definitive "red zone" to work with, you'll be able to practice stopping short of (or even skidding around) obstacles.

Step 3: Choose Your Braking Method

Despite all the inherent danger, there is some good news. When it comes to slowing down, fixed gear riders have a few different choices. Each comes with its own set of pluses and minuses (as well as ideal riding conditions), so it's wise to learn at least a couple. The two most common are:

Pace Pedaling

Decreasing the speed of your pedaling is the easiest ways to slow down a fixie. Since the rotation of the rear wheel and the movement of the pedals are directly connected, slowing down your strokes will put a damper on forward motion. In non-emergency situations this should bring you to a smooth, natural stop -- time/distance permitting of course.

Skid Stopping

Is "danger" (or "speed") your middle name? Then the skid stop is probably more up your alley. The process is started by leaning forward on the bike and relieving the weight on the rear wheel. If you have the balance to lift the rear wheel ever-so-slightly off the ground, even better.

Once the traction of the rear wheel has been taken out of the equation, use your feet to lock the pedals in a horizontal position. This should slow the suspended rear wheel to a stop. Shifting weight back onto the rear wheel should cause the rear tire to skid, causing the bike to slow to a stop.ods for enthusiasts.


Fixed Bicycle said...

Great advice, and for those who are just getting started you can always try a front hand break, until you master the skin of course.

Peter said...

i always use a front brake regardless. Some steep hills here and the Death Pedal Spin has reared its ugly head a few times when I was younger.