Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mild Sunday Afternoon Ride

Click on the photos to enlarge them
Poor Ole' Joe checking out my bike
We had a mild afternoon with temperatures around 50 in the Winston-Salem area today. I was glad to get out for a short easy ride to test the waters a little. For the past six and half weeks I have been recovering from a fractured Fibula in my left leg. My route headed out through the country side towards Tanglewood Park. When I was getting close to the back of Tanglewood I saw another cyclist, which turned out to be a long time friend Kelly Holmes. We cruised through the park and made a loop on the newly finished two and half mile paved greenway. Then we rode over towards Kelly's house and I rode on home. It was a nice ride and I didn't seem to have any problems riding other than being off the bike for way to long. 

Before I was injured my plan was to spend some time riding a fixed gear bike this year. Not because I think it is particularly good training for the type of riding that I do, but simply because I enjoy riding one for a change of pace. Since I hadn't been riding for a while I thought it would be best to try things out today by riding a bike that would coast. I used a Sturmey-Archer S2 hub instead of a fixed gear hub today. This hub is a "two speed kick-back" hub. It has two internal gears and to change between them you pedal back just a bit. The low gear is determined by what ever size cogs you have on the bike. The high gear is an increase of 38%. This worked out fine for the type of ride I did today. 

This bike is equipped with a tab to connect a coaster brake. I have ridden this bike with a Sturmey-Archer S2C hub built into the wheel. That is the same type hub only it has a coaster brake. It had been almost forty years since I had spent much time on a bike with a coaster brake. It was kind of cool to be able to brake and change gears without any controls at all on the handlebar. There are some problems that arise when you ride with a coaster brake that you don't have with hand brakes. The problems are:

  1. Stopping. Your finesse of the brakes is not near as fast or accurate as it is with hand brakes.
  2. Getting going. You can't pedal backwards to get the pedals in the position you want to get the bike moving. You have to kind of push off.
All of this is even harder if you are using clipless pedals or toe straps. In addition the speeds I travel at on a bicycle now are much higher than they were when I was a child riding a bike with a coaster brake. I think coaster brakes are fine for cruising around while using flat pedals.

I hope my next ride I will be able to go ahead and ride fixed. That's something to look forward too. All I have to do is play around with the size of the cog I want to use in the back. This bike has a 50 tooth chainring on the front. It's been several years since I rode a fixed gear bike. I guess part of the fun is figuring out what gearing works best for the terrain. This is one of the things that keeps cycling interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment