Fixed love.

I think I understand now why people like to ride fixed gear. Once I remembered I couldn’t actually stop pedalling and sorted out any chain tension issues the fear that was always in the back of my mind seems to have disappeared. I love riding fixed. I use the bike every day now, riding to work and the long way home through town and it hasn’t thrown up any issues. I’ve got used to only riding with the front brake and the constant spin of the pedals. I’m relying on the brake less and less too. I’ve been riding it so much when I got back on my mountain bike at the weekend it felt wrong to stop pedalling and coast…

There is one thing I’ve taken to doing while riding on the roads though and that’s wearing my GoPro. Last week I almost ended up under the wheels of some idiot women after she tried to turn left, from the right hand lane, through me. The lanes were clearly marked (left to turn left and continue straight and right for a right turn) but she seemed to have thought her little Citroen could beat me off the line and complete a turn in front of me all within 20 meters. It was such a close call that now I’m not going out without the camera. Essentially it’s not going to stop anyone from being a dick and hitting me but it might provide vital evidence…

Here’s a “little” video from my ride home one evening last week. I have a GoPro HD Hero attached via a “Chesty” mount and while you can’t see where my head is looking it gives a good idea of what’s going on.

Touch wood, nothing, or should I say nobody will try and hit me again but you ever know…

On another note, I learnt something new about the Raleigh frame I’d used for the bike earlier. After upgrading the few parts last week I wanted to try and find a suitable modern BB and crank combination. The measurement for the BB shell on the Raleigh is 71mm but all I could find on VeloSolo were 68mm or 73mm Bottom Brackets. I was going to make the assumption I could just “bodge” one of those sizes on but I decided to do a little research first.

On one of the best cycling websites out there (Sheldon Brown) I found all the information I needed. It turns out, back in the good old days there were so many different variations for threading and BB size that it all got a bit confusing and “standard” sizes were slowly phased in. Unfortunately Raleigh, being such a big company, decided against changing all their patterns and kept using their own sizes. That now means instead of having a 68mm shell with 24 TPI, I have a 71mm shell with a finer 26 TPI thread. Apparently there are ways out there of converting the Raleigh specifications but it’s a lot of hassle and sticking at the current specs I don’t have much choice but to stay with the original gear.

It’s not too much of an issue as the old gear is still working well but it would have been nice to fit a shiny new modern external bearing BB. If you’re using an old Raleigh frame for a fixed gear conversion, be warned the BB isn’t the only Raleigh specific item. The headset also uses the same threading which probably explains why my new headset was a little awkward to thread on….

Have a read of the differences here.


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