A fixie is a term of endearment for a fixed gear bicycle. It has no derailleur, which allows for changing gear ratios while riding, and it has no freewheel, which allows for the pedals to move backwards. These two missing components mean that when the wheels are turning, the pedals are turning, and you're stuck with the same gear ratio all the time.

While this can be seen as limiting, constraints breed creativity and appreciation. By removing some of the most complicated parts of a bike, a fixie becomes even more resilient, understandable, and repairable. You can use a bulkier chain, and even choose to forgo brakes and relying on your legs to stop.

My Fixie

I purchased my bike from a used bike shop on August 12th, 2023 for $175. It is a steel frame of unknown origin that appears to be from the 1980s, and came with a 39T chain-ring, a 16T freewheel and 13T fixed-cog on the rear hub, along with center-pull front brakes, side pull self-centering rear brakes, a half-moon handlebar, and a blue and silver spray-paint job.

I intend to eventually replace nearly every part on the bike, but slowly over time and using as many used parts as I can, with some lenience on the consumables.

/fixie Stream

November 17, 2023

/stream /repair /bicycle /fixie

The intention for the /fixie was always that it would be deeply refurbished and modifed over the winter. After a few months of riding it around and getting a feel for it, it was finally time to take the first step of a full disassembly, followed by a cleaning and a paint job.

The frame and fork of a sky blue bicycle, with the headset and drop areas accented with silver. It is sitting on sunlit pavement, surrounded by sandpaper and many of the parts that were removed.

When I bought the bike, it already had a pretty poorly applied two-tone spray-paint job, so I had always intended to sand it down and repaint it properly. I removed everything except the headset and bottom bracket, masked those off, and painted the bike a "British Racing Green" using spray.bike.

A bicycle frame and fork freshly painted british racing green, resting against a cinder block on top of long grass and fallen leaves.

Since it's already mid-November here in Vermont, I was racing against the clock to get the bike painted before the temperature got too cold for the paint to be effective. I wish I had taken a bit more time to be more detailed in my sanding work and take the painting process slowly, but it was looking like I only had one last chance for the weather to cooperate the day I painted. Overall, it came out nicely, with only a few minor patches where previous paint/rust spots had not been fully smoothed out.

August 23, 2023

/stream /repair /bicycle /fixie

After riding around town on my new /fixie for the last week, I got tired of the seized rear brake and was itching to try and repair it. From what I could tell, it seemed to be a Bridgestone "Self Centering" side pull rim-brake, or at least something that was attempting to look like one. I removed the brake and disassembled it, cleaning all of the parts with soapy water and then soaking everything in distilled white vinegar over night. Afterwards, I brushed the rust off with a toothbrush, reasssembled, lubricated the pivots, and everything was working well.

August 12, 2023

/stream /bicycle /fixie

Today I bought a new (to me) /bicycle. A few weeks ago I tried riding a friend of a friend's beater fixie, and immediately fell in love. Since then, I've been on the hunt for a small, beat-up old bike that I could turn into my own nimble little /fixie, and today I found it.

It's a franken-bike with a seized rear brake, two different tires on two different wheels, and a spray paint job that looks like it was done by a teenager about 10 years ago. Most importantly, it's ridable and has a flip-flop rear hub with a single-speed freewheel and the fixed cog I was looking for. It needs a lot of work, but I'm excited to dive in.