I finally pulled the trigger.
After my bike trip to Subic.
I have been fascinated with a rider in our group who used a fixed gear bike.
He usually gets to lead at the front of the pack.
But he is easily able to slow down to check on people who are left behind and has assisted me many times.
I’m the guy in the orange helmet and the fixed gear is the orange bike
I am afraid of fixed gear bikes.
Many people I’ve spoken to have a negative view on fixed gear bikes.
The comments usually go that fixed gear bikes are dangerous, difficult to use, and often viewed as reckless cycling.
I’m worried about crashing.
I’m also worried about riding “fixed” being exhausiting.
Or eventually hurting my knees.
But the more I doubted myself.
The more I wanted to try it.
I didn’t buy one immediately because I’m already paying for my bike on installment.
So as soon as I had an opportunity, I bought a frame set and decided to assemble one.
Most of the parts were purchased second hand.
The first purchase was just the frame set. The seller was kind enough for me to save up for the purchase.
The second purchase was the wheel set, which I brought from Mark, the fascinating rider during our trip.
The third purchase were the handlebars, brakes, seat post and saddle, as well as a bunch of free lights. Seller was kind enough to deliver to my house.
The fourth purchase, was the crank. Which I picked up in Laguna.
The fifth purchase was the chain, which I bought at a nearby bike store.
The sixth purchase was with the third seller. He sold me his helmet and threw in the brakes for free. Then he accompanied me to the store he got his parts from. I bought the tires, tire tube, clip-less pedals and bike shoes that match.
The seventh and final purchase was in Makati, I got the rear brake lever, had a wheel lock added.
I assembled the bike for the 2017 Sun Life Financial Cycling Event where a team of four consided of my uncle, his friend, me and my friend.
Fixed gear riding is difficult at first.
Don’t wear clip-less pedals on the first go.
You are likely going to fall off your bike.
You don’t need to wear your special bike shoes immediately.
Your clip-less pedals will work with regular shoes.
Compared to my Giant folding bike and the mountain bike, the fixed gear bike is crazy light so it is easier to go faster if you wanted to.
Climbing is incredibly easier.
The brakes were a requirement to join the cycling event but I kept it for convenience.
Downhill is a little scary for me on this bike.
I kept the brakes on because it’s incredibly convenient when trying to control my speed when riding downhill.
Fixed gear riding in the Philippines, in Manila specifically is scary but doable.
Especially if you’re not doing anything crazy.
Don’t ever go brake-less unless you are riding in a controlled environment.
I really like this bike for the lightness.
I appreciate my mountain and folding bike for what they can do.
What I love about this one is it’s very light and it’s incredibly easy to move around with it.
The main downside of this bike is I’m always worried that it might get stolen.
The other downside is how I feel the weight of what I’m carrying when I’m carrying a lot.
This bike is perfect if you only packed your wallet, phone, keys and maybe an extra shirt.
If you have a backpack or a messenger with a laptop, a bunch of notebooks, packed lunch, gym clothes, shoes and a jacket with you this won’t be the best bike to use.
If you’re packing heavy, you want to avoid any rough roads because you will feel painful vibrations in your arms when you pass through any imperfections on the road.
Five years of riding to bike to work got me thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of all my bikes.
The fixed gear is beautiful if you don’t have a lot of stuff with you.
The bike is light and comfortable so if you only have your phone, walet, and keys.
You could bring a light draw string bag to buy a few groceries.
You could bring a light backpack or a messenger back to carry your laptop to the coffee shop, a water bottle and nothing else.
Carrying a full backpack that includes notebooks, extra shoes, charging gear, power bricks, etc can make riding a fixed gear bike a complete pain in the ass.
I always saw the fixed gear bike as the perfect budget road or race bike.
That said, it’s great for race configuration and short one to five kilometer rides.
However, longer rides packing heavier gear may require a different configuration than what I have.
Do you have a fixed gear bike? I’d like to see what you ride. Let me know in the comments below.Written on January 6th, 2018 by Kevin Olega