This is a really dumb pet peeve of mine, but one nonetheless: fixed gear bikes are not the same as single speed bikes. The experience of riding them is also very different.

Single speed bikes have exactly one gear combination; they ride the same as a gear bike but without shifting (imagine your bike got stuck in the 6th or 7th speed of 10: you’d be riding single speed). The benefit of this over a gear bike is lighter weight, better power transfer (because of a straighter chainline), and simplified maintenance. These are well suited to city riding, as you don’t do a lot of shifting anyway. (Or if you do, you could probably do fine without it.)

A fixed gear bike is a single speed in which the back wheel does not turn independently of the pedals. Therefore, you could ride it backwards; the pedals are always moving and transferring power between the wheel and and your legs. The maintenance on this type of bike is a wee bit less than a single speed (no freewheel means one fewer moving part), however it is cultish because it’s a totally different riding experience than a bike with a freewheel; you can immediately feel the responsiveness of the road surface and of the bike.

As an aside, Sturmey Archer makes an internal hub which rides fixed, but has 3 gears. It ruins the purity of the fixed gear bike, but sounds pretty fun to try out.

Weather

Easy ride, felt a little cold at the beginning, but I warmed up nicely.

Temperature: 33

Road condition: Dry, but some salt and sand from this weekend still around

Clothing: heavy winter jacket, Timberland shoes, Portland Design Works EVO bike gloves (I lost one of my wool gloves!), messenger bag

Comfort: Worked perfectly! I like the PDW EVO gloves I am using: they have a little vinyl mittens shield that folds down for wind protection. That part is a little light, though, and is getting kind of shredded from the ferocity of my grip.

(For those wondering, I took the day off work yesterday, so there was biking, but no commute.)

Edit: I looked down at my palms later and realized the gloves were EVO, not PDW. Thanks hubcyclist!

3 Responses to “Different Kinds of Bikes; Cold and Dry”

  1. hubcyclist Says:

    Those awesome gloves are actually made my a company named Evo. Not that it makes them any less great…

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