Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Skid Marks, Bunny Hops, Track Stands and Espresso

This post will be brief. Riding my fixie makes me feel like a child. Feeling like a child makes me feel near to God. "Fixed" refers to the drive-train of the bicycle (the front gears, the chain and the rear gears, in short). The drive-train of a fixed-gear bike is stripped down to one gear in the front and one in the back. What separates a fixed gear bike from a single speed is that a fixie does not have a free-wheel or hub that allows you to coast. This means that the drive-train is always engaged and the pedaler never stops pedaling  unless the bike is stopped (with some exceptions that I will mention shortly). Having this direct-drive gives a rider the unique ability to pedal the fixie backwards, a skill that once was reserved for freaks and circus clowns.  

The exception to the always pedaling rule is that if you slightly lean forward and stop pedaling with a little speed, you can skid to a stop (or at least to slow down). This distinctly reminds me of riding my bike as a kid and seeing how far I can skid. On fixed gear bikes, similar competitions are now acceptable for adults. So, on the way to the grocery store I impressed my wife with my frequent, unnecessary skids. The other thing that I like to impress her with are my speed bump bunny hops. Bunny hops are hard, but they are even harder when you are always pedaling. Kalea is always impressed. The last skill that is essential for every fixie rider/hipster want-to-be ("wannabe" for short) is the track stand. A track stand is where you come to a stop light and stop without putting your feet on the ground (or any other part of your body for that matter...). This is incredibly impressive to the bystanders. It  is then incredibly funny to them when your feet don't un-clip from their pedal-traps and you fall down. This is part of what makes fixie riding akin to child-likeness. Skidding , jumping, standing and falling down, all make a person feel very young. Oh...and so does espresso from Backporch Coffee Roasters. It's only a dollar if you ride your bike. 

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