Saturday, August 30, 2008

idée fixe

The word of the day some weeks ago was idée fixe, which obviously comes from French and means obsession.

If you ask my wife (and maybe if you don't ask her) she will tell you that I have a particular idée fixe lately, namely a fixed gear road bike.

I'm not a bicycle recreationalist, just a bike commuter and I've only come to bike commuting withing the last 5 years and still feel like a bit of an outsider or newbie in the bike community. I've been commuting on a rather clunky, but reliable and actually fairly fast commuter-hybrid bike, but I've always wanted to get a faster road bike. Now I know more specifically what I want: a fixed gear.

I had read about fixed gears when I first started bike commuting, but the idea seemed outlandish to me then: a bike with only a single gear and no freewheel, so when the rear wheel is moving, so are the cranks and pedals and the rider's legs. "Maybe that works for a track bike," I thought, "but out on the way!" However, I keep reading more about people who swear by fixed gears and finally I talked to someone who commutes on a fixed gear. I'm now convinced, a fixed gear would be the perfect complement to the bike that I already have: the sturdy, reliable, clunky hybrid with a rack that can really haul some weight, and the ultra-light, speedy, throw-a-bologna-sandwich-in-the-back-pocket-of-your-Levi's-shorts-and-blast-off fixed gear that can really haul. What could be more perfect?

My dad has even decided to convert his 70's era Bianchi road bike into a fixed gear!


Lura said...

I haven't heard much about fixed gears, but it sounds like fun (especially the bologna in the pocket part).

Michael said...

Jamie--I hope you don't mind that I found you...

My brother in law bought Cannondale's fixie (the "Capo") a few months ago and loves it. I've turned him onto commuting and he gets all around SLC on that bike now. The nice thing about it is that you can flip the hub to make it a freewheel while you're getting used to the single speed.

I really love Cannondales. My roadie is a Cannondale, and I've recently convinced Eric to switch from Specialized to Cannondale. Brad rides Cannondale as well...such great bikes. Eric is flying on his (just got back from a ride this morning).

I, like you, fetishize the thought of finding like an old Bianchi or some other undervalued bike at a garage sale or goodwill and restoring it / turning it into a fixie. Problem is, I don't know how realistic my 16-17 mile commute would be on a fixie, so I may not find much use for it in Suburbia.

So...this being such an old post--do you have one yet?

Anyway, I'm glad I found you and if it's alright I'll be checking back often.

Jamie said...

I'm glad you did find me! I haven't got a new bike yet, although I test rode a waterford track bike today. Pretty nice! I'll have to look at Canondale. I don't know a lot about them.

Anyway, I decided I should get some tools before getting a new bike, so that I can do more of my own maintenance and repairs. Plus we've had expenses associated with getting settled in and having a new baby not to mention student loans, but now I'm putting a little away for a new bike out of each paycheck. Before long I should have enough to get what I want.

I think that a fixed gear could work for you, no hills to worry about. Of course there is the wind...

Good to hear from you, and keep in touch.

Slavka said...

So after reading this post (yesterday) I totally had a dream about a fixed gear bike!!! I have no idea what they look like (do they look any different?) but my subconscious knew. It was the greatest, fastest, lightest bike ever. Hope you can get one like mine!


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