“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’ve hung around the ol’ TTP blog for long, you’ve inevitably heard me drone-on (and on and on…) about my beloved fixie.  What’s the allure, you ask — I mean, Chrissakes, it’s just a friggin’ bicycle, right?

Au contraire, my good friend; the fixie is to cycling, as Vibrams are to running.  You don’t so much ride a fixie as you tango with it; jockey, machine, and environment all inextricably connected in the dance.  And as an added bonus, the fixie, by it’s very nature, screams of mixed-intensity bursts of exertion — commonly referred to in the parlance of physical culture as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).   Looking for a primal cycling experience?  Look no further than the fixed-speed bicycle.  Short, intermittent bursts of high power output interspersed with longer bursts of moderate-level power output, starts, stops; all chaos, all fractal in nature. Very primal.

So that’s an experienced rider’s take.  Want a newbie’s impression of the fixie experience?  Here’s an informative fixie article, from Mary Buckheit, of ESPN.com.

“…for those keeping score at home, that’s one bike, one gear, one brake (if any)…”
– Mary Buckheit, ESPN.com

And hey, check this out — it’s so much fun, even Lance Armstrong loves a fixie  🙂  Saddle one up, and you’ll be forever changed.

Nothing can really impart to you the unique fixie feel, short of actually climbing on board and taking one for a spin.  The following clip, though, does a good job of portraying the essence and fun-loving spirit of the fixie experience.  Notice the plug near the end (beneath the bill of one of the rider’s cap) for Mellow Johnny’s — is it safe yet to call Mellow Johnny’s an Austin institution?  Well, how ’bout we just say that it’s my favorite Austin bike shop, and leave it at that?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNCPEzdZs5s&NR=1]

Oh yeah, and one of my favorite fixie porn sites, here.

A Weekend’s Worth of HIIT

Fixie, Vibrams, a sled and an open field; this is gonna be good!

So the theme for this past weekend was many, many, many short HIIT bursts, from Friday evening until Sunday night.  Friday after work I sprinted (fixie, that is — Vibram sprints came later in the weekend) to the coffee shop, read for a while (Einstein’s God — fantastic read, by the way), then from there to a friend’s house for dinner (low country boil!), then from there, back home again (night time riding!).  Saturday and Sunday was much the same — I dare say I racked-up a good 15 rides (15 to 30 minutes or so a pop).  I also performed plenty of barefooted sprints and variety of of sled pulls and drags over the weekend as well.  I can’t really quantify any of this other than to say, again, it was all done in short bursts of high-intensity effort, followed by full recovery.  It was a weekend full of high-intensity, active play.

The one thing I can quantify was a Saturday gym session (following a barefooted sprint session) that shaped-up like this:

behind the neck (barbell) push-press: 135 x 5; 165 x 4; 185 x 3; 195 x 1, 1, 1, 1
straight bar muscle-ups: x 3, each of 7 total rounds

Couple of notes: all that lower body work really put the hurt on my push-press numbers.  Think the push-press is a shoulder dominant exercise?  Think again.  See what your push-press (jerks, too) numbers look like following a hip-dominant blitz.  It’ll feel like you’re pushing/jerking out of loose-packed sand.  Also, if you’re planning a bike-to-sprint (running) combo, remember to properly transition by doing some hip mobility and glute-activating movements prior to running.  Get that posterior chain revved-up or you’ll end-up running like a drunk initially — or worse yet, pull a ham string.  Biking is a highly quad-dominant endeavor and in no way prepares one for PC dominant work.  Biking will rev your core temperature, no doubt — so in that respect, it is a good “warm-up” activity — biking does nothing, however, to prime the PC for running sprints.

Today is most definitely a rest day 🙂

…ok, maybe a little bit of riding 🙂  Gotta feed the fixie jones.  Be forewarned, fixie riding is a serious addiction.

In health,
Keith

11 COMMENTS

    • Yes, I like the brake hoods for hand positioning and leverage. I do ride with a front “bail-out” brake, though. Call it age and wisdom trumping any want to be labeled a “purist” 🙂

      And yeah, fixedgeargallery is a fab fixie porn site as well — it’s gobbled-up plenty of my non-riding time 🙂

  1. Hmmmm…. fixie love. I’ve spent a few years down the velodrome watching the mixture of pure speed, adrenalin, and terror that goes with track racing. A sprint rider I coached made it into the New Zealand squad and I was priviledged enough to watch some of our top riders… watching a rider chase a motorbike around the ‘drome at 80kph on steep banking – insane.

    Try to combine your next fixie/caffeine fix with the following website: fyxomatosis.com

    To whet your appetite: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/cgi/gallerypicget.asp?pic=http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/babes/babes10/otbf-fyxo.jpg

    • Yep, it’s an old Vetta, mounted atop a thudbuster. Maybe your saddle is set too high? Make sure you maintain adequate knee angle at the bottom of your stroke.

  2. Watched a bit of that Lance Armstrong video and… is it necessary to cycle like an arsehole if you have a fixie? Maybe it’s a difference in road rules but certainly cutting through traffic across intersections and cutting in front of cars won’t make you many friends around here. As a regular cyclist I really don’t want other cyclists acting like jerks and pissing off car drivers, who may then decide to take it out on me. The little abuse I get from drivers is enough already thanks!

    • Personally, I operate on the mass-to-right-of-way theory; I don’t tempt fate. Biking in traffic is dangerous enough as it is, and so I ride as if I were invisible to drivers. Guilty as charged, though, in being thoroughly amused by watching the antics of the messenger (and their ilk) crowd.

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