Fixie advice required

Hi all, i’m very new to this and still learning, but due to work and life commitments I dont get much time to learn.
As such i’m thinking about making a fixie bike to commute on as I am led to believe this can help with uni stamina. Is this true?

If so, can anyone point me in the direction of information on fixie conversions or give me any advice at all?

Many thanks in advance, Mark

I’ve got a fixed gear bike- a ‘charge plug’ I got a couplemof years ago, but I rarely ride it now. In fact I’m wanting to sell it, so, if you’re interested, let me know :slight_smile:

I have to say though, that if you want to improve your unicycling, you should just focus your practice on unicycling- if you’re really short of time, then time spent on a fixie bike is time not spent on the unicycle.

If you let us know what type of unicycle you’ve got and what you want to learn and what kind of level you’re at now, then you’ll get plenty of advice on this board.

My level at the moment is none existent. Wanted one for years but only got one a couple of weeks ago for my birthday. Struggling to get time on it with the kids and work though.
Want to get to a point where I can ride to work (less than 2 mile each way) that way i’ll be learning on my commute.

If I dont get much practice in soon, I will at the summer holidays at least. I work at a college so when the kids are off i’m still at work, but in an almost empty college. Practice time should be easy then.

You just need to stick at it- read up on some good basic tutorials so you get practise safely, then try and get bits of practice where and when you can.

Learning unicycle takes time and patience- probably, for most people, an average of 20 hrs, spread over several weeks, before they’ll be able to ride a small distance.

But, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for ever.

I’m assuming you’ve currently got a basic 20" wheel unicycle? (20" not being the actual size of the wheel, but 20" is the most common size uni beginners tend to get).

A 2 mile commute is definitly feasible on a 20" uni, but, onve you’ve got the hang of riding a world of possibilities opens up i.e. learning complex tricks on the 20" wheel, or, going up to 24/26/29" for doing off-roading or longer commutes.

But, you do need to put that initial practice in and not get disheartened if progress seems slow- there are literally millions of unicycles tucked away in cubboards, bought by people who had a dream to ride unicycle, but just ended up giving up.

Don’t be one of them- neither unicycles nor dreams should be stuffed into cupboards & left to rot.

I really like that statement, may have that in my sig.

I do intend to stick with it, wanted to do this for years. I’ll just have to take whatever chances to practice that I can. And i’ll have to get some safety stuff.

Yes it’s a 20". Un branded and unsure of quality (nothing to compare it to) but it will get me started and when I know more about what direction I want to take I can then decide what to get next.
This one has 140 mm cranks, which I have been led to believe may be a bit long to learn with.

Fixie on a bike is a waaaay different proposition. I’d even go as far as to warn you off fixie unless you already had some time on one; they are hard to ride and can even be dangerous.

First off, off road fixie is certifiable, don’t do it unless you are an amazing on road fixie rider and an amazing off road mountain biker.

Second, be very capable on a single speed before going fixie or you’ll end up walking (or hobbling).

Finally, gearing and brakes, and pedals. You must have a brake, don’t be a victim, have a brake and save your hide. Once fixed, you must be able to stop before taking your feet off the pedals, so you need to be riding either clipped or straped, no platforms or you will end up with legs looking like shredded beef. You need to pick a gear that allows you to climb AND descend, so think balance.

If you are committed; or should be be at this point, consider building up a wheel with a shimano freehub and a Surly Fixer, this will give you a cheap fixie hub and you can run a disc brake on the back wheel; this is the rig I ran briefly.

Since riding a fixe bike will not help you in your quest to ride a uni, why not just ride a single speed to commute, save your body for unicycling, then post a learning journal :slight_smile:

By the way, not all of us learned when we were children, I learned with a full time job and family committments, fifteen minutes every night, long time blocks were really not necesary until I learned to ride well enough to take advantage of them, then as it came together the uni riding replaced my bike riding. I have not ridden a bike in nearly four years, don’t need to.

I love riding a fixed gear bike, did a 25-mile round trip commute for years and years on one. So I convinced my wife that she would like riding fixed…

… which she did, until she hit a minor pothole, reflexively froze her legs into the coasting position, and got kicked right off. Three broken ribs, lots of bruises, broken helmet, etc!

I’m also pretty sure it hasn’t helped my unicycling much, though maybe it got my legs used to spinning a high cadence, and climbing in way too hard a gear.

Anyway, +1 on Ben’s recommendations, though starting on a singlespeed is probably overkill.

Being primarily a cyclist, i can assure you there is very little if any skills that transfer from one to the other. I love mountain biking and have gotten damn good at ready terrain, shifting weight and dominating rhythm sections, none of that applies to Muni everything is different.

30 minutes per day will have you riding 100-200 feet in one month, so if you set that as your goal and for every minute extra per day you squeeze in the shorter the time. It literally is just time in the saddle.

Here is a video of me last thursday, i have 4-5 weeks of practice from last august to present.

IMO it’s not necessary to ‘start’ on a single speed before riding fixed- the main danger with riding fixed is, as mentioned above, overcoming the ‘stopping pedaling/coasting’ instinct, as, any attempt to coast on a fixie will most likely lead to being thrown off.

But plenty of people do ride fixed and never get thrown off- it’s not that dangerous if you go about it the right way.

Which is, find a empty car park and pedal slowly, until the ‘coasting’ instinct goes away.

That’s what i did, and, in the few months I spent riding fixed, never came close to coming off.

Just a couple of days practising that and you should be good to go, certainly nowhere near learning to unicycle in terms of difficulty.

Interestingly, a decade of riding unicyles regularly, which, obviously are also fixed gear, does nothing to prepare you for riding a fixed gear bike, in terms of overcoming the coasting habit.

Many fixies, including my ‘charge plug’ bike mentioned above, have a ‘flip-flop’ hub, with a fixed gear on one side and, on the other, a single speed with freewheel- so you can convert from fixed to coasting by flipping the wheel over.

After a few months of riding fixed, I did switch to single speed, as, having old knees and living in a very hilly place, I changed the front cog to a lower gear, and, the amount of spinning on the downhills was just too much on a fixed- but, while it lasted, riding fixed had many good aspects.

But, as several have mentioned, including me in my initial reply, riding fixed gear bike will do nothing to help you ride a unicycle.

I picked up an old Surly 1 x 1 and it came with a flip flop, have not used the bike since I uni, but it was a good deal, I put fat tires on it for that rare future date when I ride it :roll_eyes:

If I had a flat commute I might consider riding it on a fixie, but coasting is so awesome that it seems like a shame to give it up, it’s what makes bike so fun, and esp since you can’t truly coast on a unicycle; at least not for long.