So I’ve been riding my new bicycle around town, but in the wimpy freewheel mode. Yesterday I got my courage up to flip the rear wheel around and give the fixed gear mode a try on the ride to Tyler’s soccer game. And today, I went for a longer ride — Arlington Center to Lexington Center on the Minuteman Trail. Including the short bit from home to the bike path and back, it’s just about exactly ten miles.
It takes some getting used to, I’ll say that much. I stopped in Lexington Center at the water fountain, as the bike doesn’t yet have a water bottle cage. So essentially it’s five miles of continuous pedaling. So there are a few things that are tricky. First is getting started. I’m very accustomed to having the pedals stationary when getting my second foot in the clips. No such thing now. Must get the pedal oriented and the foot in while the pedals are moving. It’s challenging. Second is while biking: there are times when I’m used to coasting a bit. Usually, it’s when I get out of the saddle to go over a bump more gently. It’s very disconcerting to be mentally prepared to stop pedaling, and to have the pedals not cooperate. Also very jarring to say the least. Finally, stopping can be a bit tricky. When riding a “normal” bike, you have the ability to adjust your pedal position when stopping. Not so with a fixed gear — the pedals are where they are.
But aside from starting, going, and stopping, it’s really easy. Sheldon says that “It takes a couple of weeks of regular riding to unlearn the impulse to coast, and become at ease on a fixed gear.” We’ll see.