Why Ride a Fixed Gear Bike????
Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never seen a fixed gear road bike. Didn't know why on earth anyone would want to ride one or where or how. After reading up on it, I realized that it's actually a pretty good idea (not to mention that it's MUCH, MUCH cheaper than any other road bike I've ever seen).
If your not familiar with a fixed gear or a "fixie" as it's called among those who actually own one. This is the basic idea of how it works. You've got one speed. If the wheels are spinning, then the pedals are spinning. There is absolutely no coasting what-so-ever on this type of bike. If you happen to forget that you're on one and mindlessly think you're going to coast, you'll basically end up going over your handlebars. At this point in time you're wondering, "why is she telling me this??". Well, think about it. If you're never allowed to coast, that must mean that you must be pedaling the entire time. Think of how strong your legs will be if they get no break from pedaling. You're in the same gear on flats, hills, downhills etc. It will certainly make your pedal stroke that much more efficient. You'll gain control over the pedals. If you want to slow down, you pedal slower. Down hill, you control the bike with the pedaling. Now obviously you wouldn't want to ride a super hilly course. To start with, you'd want a nice flat roadway. Then gradually build up to rolling hills. Everytime you climb a hill, it's like doing a super-intense leg workout. A couple times a week on a fixie and your legs will be the strongest around.
With a fixie, you also have the option of switching to a freewheel, which will spin if you decide to coast. This would be considered a single speed bike. You would get the same benefits of using a fixie, however, you have the option to coast. Either way you use it, you're getting an intense leg workout each time. This is the ideal time of year to go out and ride one, as for most of us it's our "off season", the time where we should be doing something other than cycling. Or for us in the triathlon world, swimming, biking and running. Most of us don't stray too far from the bike if we can help it and a fixie or single speed bike would be a change of scenery compared to your regular road or tri bike, and would be beneficial in gaining strength and coordination in your legs. As I mentioned earlier, the price of a fixed gear bike is far less than you would expect (think 3 digits!!), so not only is it practical, but also affordable. Your significant other won't go through the roof at the price tag on this one.
So get a leg up on the competition next year! Give a fixie a try!