Monday, November 17, 2008

Plug and Play

Here's the cellist on her very first fixed gear ride ever.

Because she rides a 54 cm Surly Cross Check and so do I, it was a quick and simple matter to change the stem on Blue for a shorter one and exchange her seat and post for mine. Voila! Instant fit.

I'm often frustrated when I try to ride with her in colder weather because I have to coordinate my rhythms on a fixed gear with hers on a multi-speed bike. Usually I just ride my Cross Check with multiple gears and put up with being cold and getting less of a workout. Since I have the Traveler's Check as a fixed gear, swapping parts to make it her bike took only minutes.

I run a gear most fixie fashionistas consider laughably low. The joke's on them, of course, when it comes to practical riding, because my 63-inch low and 73.5-inch high gear cover such a range of terrain and traffic conditions. When I did ride in an urban environment, I ran the 63 for winter and a 67 for summer. It's easier to do a track stand and bolt away from intersections in a lower gear. With a well developed spin a rider can take the 63 from zero to 25 mph for short sprints, 30 for short descents and cruise at 18-20 with city traffic all day.

Because of the low gear, the cellist had no trouble getting on it and staying on it. She instantly discovered how to control speed through the pedals. Aside from the time trial bars and the continuous drive, the bike was hers in all respects. She did not have to get used to twitchy handling.

Taking advantage of Effingham's excellent terrain, we could put together a ride of 12 miles with no hills. With a bit more time we could have stretched it to 15 or 20. Bending the loop differently, a rider can do everything from a total wall to a mixed bag of medium-sized grades in a range of distances from four to 20 miles. Today we kept her on the level so she could concentrate on developing basic fixed gear skills. She did a great job and was intrigued. Because the conversion is so easy, she can try it again any time she wants without significant inconvenience. I guess I should say I could reclaim Blue any time I want, because I'm going to leave it set up for her and ride the silver bike for a while.

Thanks, Surly!

4 comments:

The Donut Guy said...

Way cool.

Seymour Rhodes ( aka Jonathan Andrews Jones) said...

It is my opinion that your long term goal should be acquiring as many blue parts for this machine ( on the cheap of course) as possible. I know you are not a slave to fashion but you have to admit it would be cool to have a mono-blue-matic bike.

cafiend said...

I was thinking of getting blue Panaracer T-Serv tires when the current set wears out. Other than that, no plans. I bought the frame as an infinitely variable bike I could transform into whatever the next mission demanded. The blue thing was an accident.

Anonymous said...

Whenever someone complains about their fixed gear hurting their knees my pretty much standard response is:

Put on a 63" gear and learn how to pedal.

Kids these days haven't figured out yet that on a fixie dick size is proportional to spin and thus inversely proportional to gear size.