Riding fixed in London Village – riding in traffic whilst still learning…

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  • Riding fixed in London Village – riding in traffic whilst still learning…
  • Edric 64

    If you have a front brake you wont need to try and skid stop.I would go out for a ride when it is quieter you will soon get the hang of it

    Premier Icon binners

    Riding fixed in London? Just borrow your sisters jeans, don a tweed flat cap and the spirit of Hoxton will guide you like the force 😉

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    do make sure someone with a helmet cam follows you around for the first few rides 🙂


    Have you got fluorescent rims ? You need those.

    Premier Icon rob

    Its just like riding a bike use your brakes dont bother with fixie skids


    Riding fixed on busy roads requires serious concentration and there will be lots of distractions on your commute, go steady and be safe.Don’t rush into fixed, riding SS to start with is a much better idea IMO.

    Check out LFGSS


    Have you got fluorescent rims ?

    where are you from, 2009?

    2013 is all about black with deep carbon rims or full NJS.

    edit: it’s a bike much like any other, just ride it.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    What are these “fabled benefits” that so much outweigh your safety?


    Watch out for kerbs on corners with your inside pedal when the traffic forces you in. But generally, ignore fixie skids and leave the brake on the front at the very least. You get used to using the pedals to take the bulk of the speed off so you hardly use the brakes until you desperately need to. As a result brake pads last for ages so its hardly a maintenance faff. Personally i prefered riding it as a single speed as i found fixie a bit of a pain at times but each to their own.

    For practice head to the city at a weekend, will be relatively quiet over there.


    +1 front brake


    I used to ride my Langster into Waterloo or City from Enfield, I tried fixed & SS, fixed is nice but, for me, I was faster SS as the anticipation of potential hazards on the fixed lost me speed. If however, you go brakeless & lawless & upon your death you look forwards to 40 lustfull virgins i’m sure you’ll be fine.

    Premier Icon kilo

    I did several years in to central London on a fixed and never bothered with single speed, as mentioned watch curb strike, also when filtering stationary traffic. I always rode with front and rear brake and never bothered with skids to stop just use the brakes as you would normally. Tips, make sure you have no loose bits laces etc near the drive train, always carry a 15 mm spanner with you and don’t over strain your knees with high gearing and kicking back at first.


    Went through all this about 8 years back.

    I did the inital basic learning bit on very quiet country roads, before jumping into the rush hour commute.

    After a week I clicked that life would be much easier if I stopped trying to do all my slowing down through the pedals and just used the front brake as normal. Skidding and skipping are strictly for showing off.

    Took me about a fortnight to be comfortable, after that, all good. You find yourself looking and thinking far further ahead. I think i ended up a much safer and smoother rider as a result.


    I rode fixed in London for years, only sold my surly steamroller because of moany girlfriend and have regretted it ever since. It is a great, fast, no nonsense and cheap way to get around. I decided in the end that replacing front brake pads was cheaper than replacing the rear tyre but couldn’t stop myself doing fixie skids anyway because they are fun. Think like a car driver and you’ll be fine 😉

    Premier Icon annebr

    scotroutes – Member
    What are these “fabled benefits” that so much outweigh your safety?

    is what I was wondering. Why is Fixed “better” than SS?


    IMO you need a front brake, don’t go silly and leave that off.
    Start slow.
    Speed up.
    Slow down.
    Stop at junctions.
    Observe red lights.

    Right, then get out up near Spitalfileds through Clerkenwell and ride the through small single file roads, then head off to Holborn and into Seven Dials and do the same. Do that on a Sunday morning as no one will be around, on your way back head to Look Mum No Hands for coffee and cake (no need for a lock, they have them) once done head back through Smithfiled Market down to Barbican onto River and down the embankment, head along at pace to Chelsea Bridge and into Slone Sq, ride around the Embassies and head back East along Piccadilly into Town, 2nd exit at Pic Circus heads you up Shaftsbury Ave and back into Soho for lanes and pedestrian dodging then back to Cov Gdn, then back along Holborn into Clerkenwell and back into the lanes around there to Spitalfields. Should take about 2 hours excl coffee…

    That should get you start stopping, turning, crossing roads, blasting at pace, traffic dodging, pedestrian dodging and lanes meandering.


    Rogan Josh

    Ye singlespeed is naff, and not just because it’s ‘not trendy’ it’s so much nicer riding fixed anyway. I ride fixed in a capital city and it’s no major dramas, start with two brakes and Itl be just like a road bike, when stopping but like a fixie when pedalling, teaches you to ride real smooth and anticipate things.

    If you get comfortable with it then start using your front brake only and using your pedals to slow yourself down (what you’ll have been taught NOT to do on the velodrome) but covering your back brake also as an emergency. If you get the hang of that and want to be in with the crowd in Landan then whip the back break off and just ride front brake, think the key is never be rushing and smashing it anywhere, if you ride at a steady tempo everywhere a front brake and fixed rear is quite adequate. Then if you’re on a wet but if quiet road sometime practice your skids, helps to skip the rear wheel up a little bit to start with just as you reverse the pedal motion. Make sure your sprocket is on tight and your bolts are done up, and as mentioned above always carry a spanner.

    Premier Icon curiousyellow

    Where do you live? If you’re in West London then you could probably have a bit of a go round Richmond Park and go on to the cycle path and all the way into Putney/Hammersmith fairly safely.

    A bloke in our club comes out on the club run in the slow group on a fixed. He is an ex track racer, but just shows you it can be done.

    If you get the hang of that and want to be in with the crowd in Landan then whip the back break off and just ride front brake

    Or, to be really “in” with the scene these days, you should either ride;
    Singlespeed with one weedy ineffectual front brake, no pedal braking
    Fixed, without any foot retention



    I’m about to pick up a new commuter – Condor Tempo with flip-flop hub – so I can ride singlespeed and fixed when I feel like it.

    But for maintenance purposes and all the fabled benefits I’m considering riding it fixed most of the time instead.

    Thing is, I’ve ridden fixed a little around a Manchester velodrome and I know it takes some time to get used to it. But riding in London requires 100% attention for lots of reasons and I figure that trying to ride fixed in heavy traffic without having mastered quick stops (skid stops?) and not forgetting to keep pedalling… isn’t that great an idea.

    So what’s the best way to learn to ride fixed in an environment like London? Try out a few short rides at the weekend when it’s quiet, and build up to it?


    Note, fixed <> fixie (well it doesn’t have to be) 🙄

    I ride fixed a lot. Front and rear deep drop brakes (for mudguard clearance), no skidding, just treat it like an ordinary road bike. You will clip in first time about 90% of the time. I don’t find that riding fixed is any different to freewheel – coasting is a pernicious habit anyway. When you start, you will be “told” that you are riding fixed at the first corner when you try and coast. Second time will “remind” you. There won’t be a third time.

    Start on a 42×16 or 48×18 gearing (they are the same). This is low enough for getting started at traffic lights and fast enough to keep up. It is also standard gearing on most off the shelf bikes. Anticipation is really no different to riding clipless, you will be planning when to unclip, and watching when you will need to stop. You can always soft pedal as you slow down with the brakes.

    I ride our winter medium club rides at a 19-20 mph average on fixed 48×16. When I race, my average cadence on a freewheel is 95-100 rpm. These are not unconnected. I also raced the track bike IG Nocturn brakeless (see above route) and that was terrifying!

    What are these “fabled benefits” that so much outweigh your safety?

    You will learn to spin like a god.
    You will learn to anticipate traffic conditions better.
    You gain fitness as you can’t coast downhill or downshift to make it easier.
    You ride smoothly, and this translates to geared bikes.
    You can accelerate and decelerate via pedal pressure.
    You will never feel so in tune with a bike.

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