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Easy ride before the Horrible Hundred; Brakes for Bloodbear.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I’m very much looking forward to the Horrible Hundred tomorrow! I’m in pretty good form right now: my fitness is up, and my fatigue is relatively low. Hopefully I’ll put in a decent performance.

I’ll be doing my usual club ride this morning, and it’s a short one: just 32 miles/52 kilometers. After the ride I’m going to give my Madone a complete cleaning and tune so she’s ready to roll first thing tomorrow morning!

Oh, and my buddy Brian–the guy who sold me the 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie last week–is bringing a set of brakes for the bike to this morning’s group ride. Yeah, after some thought and talking with a few respected fixie aficionados about the subject, I’ve decided to add brakes to Bloodbear:

Brakes for Bloodbear

Brakes for Bloodbear


As you can see, I’ve decided to add front and rear brakes. This just makes sense on every level: I’m way too old and have way too many responsibilities to take pointless risks with my health (and the health of those riding with me). Maybe some people are perfectly comfortable riding fixies sans brakes, but there are emergency stopping situations in which no amount of skill will compensate for lack of brakes. This is especially true in a group ride situation. In fact, riding without brakes in a paceline strikes me as right up there with riding on aerobars in a paceline: it’s just not a safe thing to do.

Hopefully I’ll have time to get the brakes installed after my ride this morning, as I’d love to get a few miles in on Bloodbear before next Sunday’s social bakery ride. That ride should be a blast, as just about everyone rolls on a vintage and/or fixie.

I need to eat and get moving. Have a great Saturday!

John Stone Fitness Comments

One Response to “Easy ride before the Horrible Hundred; Brakes for Bloodbear.”
  1. Good call on the brakes. The reality is that you *can* stop a fixed gear without brakes but it can be a risky proposition. Many of the no-brake “fixie” riders yapping about “no brakes, dude!” are urban dwellers and not moving that fast. Skid stops look cool until you biff a car, pedestrian, or other rider. At $60+ tire, skidding can also be expensive. (No, you don’t have to skid but you gotta bleed speed pretty damn quick when you’ve got 160 lbs moving at 30 MPH when a soccer mom juggling a Starbucks no-fat latte and an iPhone 6 pulls her SUV out in front of you.)

    For all the great history of fixed gears, over the last decade they became hipster-cool — just like tattoos and body piercing. Companies like http://www.solebicycles.com/ sprung up because selling fixed-gear bikes is easy direct-to-customer via UPS: No derailleurs or brakes to set up. Put on a front wheel and you’re set to ride. Don’t even have to worry if the wheels are true. (Even Wal-Mart sells ’em!
    http://www.walmart.com/tp/fixie-700c-fixed-bikes) Shops started to do the same thing, even specializing in “fixies.” Now you’ve got a bunch of pseudo-cool dudes and dudettes who are relatively unfit, inexperienced on bikes, and have no friggin’ idea how to stop.

    So what happened? In the US and abroad, having no brakes actually became *illegal!*


    Here’s a piece of Oregon’s state legislation — one of the most bike-friendly states in the country:

    A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    Go figure: Bankers can legally bankrupt their customers with bogus credit schemes but you gotta have brakes on your bike.

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