First things first. A “fixie” is short for a fixed gear bicycle, which in turn is a slang term for bikes with one gear fixed to the back wheel. This means that while biking, you are not able to coast, and need to keep pedaling whenever the bike is in motion.
A fixie bicycle is one of the most straightforward bikes on the market, as they don’t require shifters, double chainring cranksets, derailleurs, and sometimes even brakes. However, leaving out the brakes is only recommended for highly skilled riders, who are able to break by holding back on the pedals with their feet.
Why get a fixie bicycle?
Fixies are great winter bikes
There are two reasons why fixies are great for winter. One is that since you’re always pedaling while riding a fixie, you are continually working, and can’t slack off, therefore making the most of your limited winter riding time.
The other reason is that salt and water don’t mix well with steel and aluminum. Since fixie bikes do away with freewheel mechanisms and derailleurs, which are commonly made of these materials, your bike will need a lot less maintenance during the winter.
Fixies offer smooth riding
The feeling you get when riding a fixie will take you back to the earliest days of cycling when one gear was all you needed. Additionally, your spins will be more efficient, as you are continually pedaling, and must do so faster when going downhill. And if you need another reason, you don’t waste any mental energy thinking about having to shift gears.
One of the real joys of riding a fixie is the feeling you get of being directly connected to your bike. When riding, you have to be physically engaged with your bicycle in a way that you’re not with a freewheel bike.
It can take some time to learn how to ride a fixie, but the feeling you get when pedaling along at one with your bike is definitely worth it.