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  #1  
Old 09-08-2006, 01:46 PM
igor igor is offline
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Default the fixed gear/brake thing and stop signs

I read in the portland paper today about the court cases regarding brakes on fixed gear bikes. i am confused somewhat. When i was a kid we had something called a coaster brake on our bikes. Do the current fixed gears have this feature? I have hand brakes on all my bikes cause they are multi geared.
I rode mountain bikes during the 10 years i was a bike cop.
So how do you stop if you dont have any brakes and if you have a coaster brake( i think it is called that ) why the hassle about hand brakes.
Secondly the laws in the state of Md require bikes to behave and abide by the traffic laws as cars , the speed limits are not there . what are the laws in OR?
i have been a police for over 35 years and i dont remember ever giving a ticket for a bike running a stop sign. They do and it is a danger and it is against oour laws. My officers did enforce that law at times but there was usually other violations to go along with it or an accident where the bike rider was at fault.
I am in Portland to go on the cycle Or ride with my sister ( in a moment of insanity i committed to this)
Hey are there any police here, i have been here several days and havent seen one. just my thoughts
Igor Sgt. Ret. Anne Arundel County POlice dept, Bike officer Ret. University of Md POlice currently AA County deputy Sheriff
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2006, 02:15 PM
brock brock is offline
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"So how do you stop if you dont have any brakes and if you have a coaster brake( i think it is called that ) why the hassle about hand brakes."

Because on a fixed gear there is no freewheel - you cannot just coast. If you stop pedaling while going down a hill as an example, your legs will go round and round... Like a bigwheel. Braking is accomplished by applying backwards pressure to the drivetrain, or popping the back wheel in he air for a second, locking the pedals, and putting the wheel back down into a skid.
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2006, 02:27 PM
Rixtir Rixtir is offline
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Sheldon Brown thinks fixed gear bikes for road use-- as opposed to track bikes for track use-- should be equipped with brakes:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

Quote:
Track Bicycles

Many people think of fixed-gear bikes and track bikes as synonymous, but they aren't

Track bicycles are designed for use on velodromes (bicycle tracks). Some riders do ride them on the road, but they are less than ideal for road use.

Track bicycles are set apart from road bicycles by more than the fact that they have a fixed gear.

Track bicycles do not have brakes. Brakes are un-necessary on tracks, since everybody is moving in the same direction, and none of the other bikes you are riding with can stop any faster than you can. (Most tracks forbid the use of bikes that have brakes, as a safety measure!)

It is possible to fit a brake to some track bikes, but it is often quite difficult, due to the extremely tight frame clearances. Extremely short-reach brakes are needed. Track bike fork blades are usually round instead of oval, as those of a road bike are. This makes them stiffer and more rigid laterally, a good thing for hard out-of-the-saddle sprinting, which can apply considerable side loads. Unfortunately, they are less rigid front-to-back, so if you fit a brake, the fork may flex objectionably when the brake is applied.

The frame geometry of a track bike is also different from that of a road bike. Since tracks don't have bumps or potholes, they are built stiffer, with more upright frame angles. This is good for maneuverability, but causes them to ride harshly on real-world pavement.

In addition, track bikes have very tight tire clearance, since there is no reason to use any but the narrowest tires on the track. This can limit your choices for on-road use.

Track bikes don't have quick-release wheels, making it harder to fix a flat on the road.

Track bikes don't permit the mounting of fenders, limiting their usefulness in sloppy conditions.

Some riders do prefer to ride track bikes on the road, especially those who are or were into track racing, and have become used to the feel of a track bike. Track bike riding has attained cult status in New York City, in particular.

If you're interested in track racing, check out Mike Gladu's "The 'drome" site


Fixed-Gear Road Bicycles

Despite the coolness factor of true track bikes, a fixed-gear road bicycle is what I would recommend for the road cyclist in search of the benefits of fixed-gear riding.

This would typically be an older road bike, modified into a fixed-gear machine. Most older "ten-speeds" are good candidates for this sort of modification.

These bikes have the appropriate geometry for comfortable road riding, come with brakes, quick-release wheels, fender clearance, sometimes even water-bottle braze-ons.

You could buy a ready-made fixed-gear road bike, but I have a detailed article on Fixed Gear Conversions that will help you build your own.

Last edited by Rixtir; 09-08-2006 at 02:30 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2006, 12:41 AM
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rainperimeter rainperimeter is offline
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oh, well then, if sheldon brown thinks so...
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2006, 12:18 PM
Rixtir Rixtir is offline
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Nothing wrong with hearing a differing opinion, from somebody who actually promotes fixed gear bikes, is there?
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2006, 08:51 PM
editrixpdx editrixpdx is offline
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"Braking is accomplished by applying backwards pressure to the drivetrain"--?

So that *is* like the bikes we had as kids. How is that not a brake? We stopped just fine. Color me: confused.
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2006, 05:38 PM
Rixtir Rixtir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editrixpdx View Post
"Braking is accomplished by applying backwards pressure to the drivetrain"--?

So that *is* like the bikes we had as kids. How is that not a brake? We stopped just fine. Color me: confused.
It's not the same. The brake you used as a kid was a coaster brake. It was a hub with a combined internal single speed freewheel and brake. You could pedal forward, and you could coast. When you pedaled backwards, that activated the brake, which slowed the bike by applying friction to the hub.

In a fixed gear, there is no freewheel. You can't coast. You can pedal forward. When you want to brake, you pedal backwards, and that exerts backward force against the forward motion of the drivetrain. It doesn't activate a brake that applies friction to the hub as it would on a bike equipped with a coaster brake.

The closest analogy would be the difference between a car that stops by stepping on the brake pedal, which activates a drum brake, which slows the car by applying friction to the inside of the wheel drum, and a car that stops by shifting from drive to reverse.

Except you don't destroy your fixed gear when you apply force against the forward motion of your drivetrain. And you do stop your bike.

Last edited by Rixtir; 09-10-2006 at 05:45 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2006, 08:31 AM
editrixpdx editrixpdx is offline
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Thanks for the explanation! I still say if you can stop it (by whatever means necessary) that counts as braking. Harrumph. Darn those pesky cops and judges!

I'll have to check with my siblings about could we coast without pedaling or not on our cheapola bikes (this was in the late 60s/early 70s). I seem to recall being wildly jealous of my oldest brother when he got a fancy-pants new bike that allowed him to sit with his feet not moving on the pedals while it sailed forward making the coolest zinging sound (we had to put our feet on the frame or handlebars while coasting down a hill because the pedals went too fast and your feet would get tangled up)(is how I recall it)(darn this pesky Old-Timer's Disease as well!).
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2006, 06:17 PM
jyl jyl is offline
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I don't have a fixed-gear so bear with this question - how effective is braking a fixed-gear bike by using your legs to lock the pedals, compared to applying conventional hand brakes to both front and rear wheels? My thought is that since you're only braking the rear wheel rather than the front here the weight transfer is, and since a skidding tire grips the road less effectively than a non-skidding tire, that this sort of braking wouldn't be nearly as effective. True? False?
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2006, 07:11 PM
Rixtir Rixtir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I don't have a fixed-gear so bear with this question - how effective is braking a fixed-gear bike by using your legs to lock the pedals, compared to applying conventional hand brakes to both front and rear wheels? My thought is that since you're only braking the rear wheel rather than the front here the weight transfer is, and since a skidding tire grips the road less effectively than a non-skidding tire, that this sort of braking wouldn't be nearly as effective. True? False?
True-- front braking is more effective under most circumstances:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle...king_technique

Last edited by Rixtir; 09-13-2006 at 07:15 PM.
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