Thursday, January 29, 2009

I bought a fixed gear!


Arlynda said...

wow, cool bike!

Michael said...

Beautiful. It's got the Bianchi colors, but it doesn't look like a Bianchi. What is it? Steel frame?

Also, do they put studs in their tires up there? How do you ride in all that ice?

I'm considering buying a fixie conversion kit for my Jamis. Let me know how this bike works out for your commute...I'm tempted to give it a try.

Finally, I'm curious to find out if you guys know some friends of mine that just moved up to your area. Nat and Carrie. Ring a bell? You would really like them...

Jamie said...

It's an '80s era steel Schwinn frame. (probably lower end steel, but it's got some nice looking lug work). The frame has some scratches in the paint that I need to patch up. It didn't come with any brakes, so I'm going to put a front brake on it. It's light, springy and responsive. Much more so than my Jamis commuter.

I haven't used it to commute yet, just for some short rides around the neighborhood. It's a whole different world from the bike I'm used to, especially without any brakes, although I've been trying the skip-stop technique and it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

In addition to the brake I want to switch out the handle bars for bullhorns (that may be a future project though).

The saddle is the most ghetto part of it. It's an old beat up BMX saddle. On my short rides it's actually been very comfortable, so I will probably stick with it, at least for now.

I paid $250 for it, which sounds like a lot for a bike that's half-way a beater, but I figure that's about what it's worth. The frame is probably worth about $50, the wheel-set about $100 (aluminum track wheels) and the other components probably total up to about $100. Besides the used bike market is such a sellers' market around here (There are guys buying bikes new, riding them for a couple years and then selling them used at a mark-up from what they paid). So when I saw this bike and it was my size I jumped on it. I figure that I could re-sell it for at least $250 if I didn't like it, but I don't think that's going to happen cause it feels so nice so far.

Anyway, once I get a brake on it and the weather improves a little I'll let you know how it is for commuting. It came with a 48 tooth chain ring and a 16 tooth cog. We'll see how well I make it up the hills on that. I may get a 17 tooth cog.

As for the ice, it's only the last week that was bad. We had an ice storm come through. But even then the main roads got cleared by the time I was on them so it was only the quarter mile out of our cul-de-sac that was scary. I nearly ate it a couple of times and was wishing that I had studs on my tires, but no, I haven't put studs on them. I test drove the fixie on a road that had packed snow on it, but it wasn't too slippery and actually wasn't scary at all.

I seem to be one of the few at work who has continued to commute by bike through the winter, but really it hasn't been that bad.

As for Nat and Carrie...doesn't ring a bell. I'll ask my wife.

I hope things are going well for you.

Michael said...

I can see how having that brake would provide a lot if comfort. But after watching some videos of fixies, it seems like it may actually be somewhat intuitive and slightly easier to ride than one would think.

Is that Schwinn frame a tank? When I was shopping for the Jamis, I was originally looking at old Schwinns, and some of the ten speeds I saw listed purportedly weighed north of 30 pounds.

Bullhorns will look nice. I was actually wondering if that wasn't an old BMX seat. It looks a lot like one I used to have.

There is a small possibility we could relocate later this year. I'm already telling Jen that we have to live within 10 miles or less of work so that I can commute. I like to do it now, but at this distance, once or twice a week is all that's feasible--if at all during the winter due to the lack of light. If I didn't have to ride such busy roads I think I would feel more comfortable during the darker months.

Evelyn said...

Aren't you the model hipster! I tried Colin's one time, and it was kind of cool but very weird to be pedaling and braking at the same time.

Jamie said...

@Michael: My biggest criterion when we moved here was to be within 10 miles of work. The bike is a lot lighter than my old bike, but comparatively, yes the frame is a bit of a tank, definietly lighter than 30 pounds, but I haven't had a chance to actually weigh it yet. You get what you pay for, but it should handle the abuse of daily commuting well. I don't think I knew you had a Jamis. What model is it?

@Evelyn: This was the next step in my quest to become a hipster. Now I just need to start wearing tight girl jeans. But I refuse to get a messanger bag. Actually I think that having four kids is going to cramp my hipster style. I didn't know that Colin had a fixie. Is it new?

Lura said...

It looks nice!

Michael said...

The Aurora. See here. It's the perfect bike for me and my commuting.

Actually, parenting is often a badge of honor for many hipsters. Let's be glad you and Arlynda don't approach it that way...

Evelyn said...

I think Colin's had it since September, but it's used. I'm not sure what brand it is.

You should put your kids in skinny jeans. That should take you up one hipster level.


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