Thursday, January 13, 2011

Preparation: Short Bars, and Stopping vs. Punctures

Fixed, with short bars.

Some people have been blogging about handlebars recently. This bike locked up at the rack is an example of shorter bars, although certainly not the shortest possible, by far. I've seen some with straight little stubs barely protruding past the sides of the stem.

My personal preference, and I state it only as such and not as some normative, prescriptive, or snide judgment, but rather just what I am comfortable with myself while riding, is for brakes. You know, for stopping. I understand the principles of reducing speed on a fixed gear and it doesn't matter to me, I would still prefer brakes. For myself. Ride whatever works, though, and I do harbor a secret desire to ride fixed, at least to see what it's like.

What interested me about this bike, though, beyond what I have already mentioned, was the tires.

Conti Ultra Gatorskins front and rear! I love those tires. To me, they demonstrate a certain level of caution and preparation, in the sense of choosing tires which are not cheap, which are durable, and which are excellent for both riding and for durability in the city, and similar environments rife with tire-poppers and pokers.  Also the lock: not only a perfect match for this bike, but also a fine lock job, compared to most of the cable through the front wheel jobs I usually see.

So I suppose what I'm saying is, this bike embodies a certain conceptual tension, which might either be mere contrast, or perhaps cognitive dissonance, or perhaps a graceful two-wheeled dialectical synthesis of whimsy and caution. If a choice had to be made, I think I would choose stopping with brakes over tire puncture resistance and durability. For myself. All I would need to try out this mode is to pick up a cog and a lock ring, flip my rear wheel around, and go for what I am certain would be a bruising and blog-worthy spin. But I think I would keep the brakes to keep things under control. Get up Go ride.



  1. Do it, do it, do it! I LOVE riding fixed gear... it is just plain cool feeling. I agree about the mixed message of that bike... I guess gatorskins might last longer with all those skid stops, but it seems a shame to ruin sucj good tires that way.

    Fixed gears don't have to be brakeless or hip ... it is just fashionable right now.


  2. Such a paradox that bicycle is.
    There's a story there somewhere.

  3. Very cool bike. I appreciate the tires after walking the last mile of my canal ride last evening due to a thorn!

  4. I would go with that. For me I WANT brakes..!
    Conti Ultra Gatorskins are my favourite training tyre.

  5. OK, thanks for the comments, looks like a lock ring and cog are in my near future. I'll start out with brake(s) and see how it goes...


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