About

*

For the whole of 2012, Kimwei made the commitment to go car-free and travel everywhere on a Fixed Gear bike, for the environmental, health, and financial benefits. Track her progress here.

This weblog is an essential read for anyone thinking of taking up cycling as their full time method of transport. Includes cycle stories, info on how to get started and hints and tips for those wanting to make the transition to carlessness.

* Kimwei’s current weblog is the alternative lifestyle blog Symphony For Happiness, hence the titling on the video.

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7 responses to “About

  1. Steve I.

    Great blog! I’ve been riding & commuting by fixed gear since the ’80s, on the same ratty bike that hasn’t been overhauled in ~40,000 miles.
    I have a solution to a couple of your “transporting big stuff” problems that I have used personally and can attest work quite well.
    For the mattress (and similar big items like appliances) use an appliance dolly. Secure the load with the built-in ratchet straps and a few extra ones from the HW store. Lean the upper end on you rear rack (as far forward as possible without hitting the rear tire so as to prevent the weight from making the bike wheelie, and keeping the dolly fairly upright to reduce the weight on your back tire) then secure with a few heavy-duty, flat, black rubber bungee cords (do not use the cheap round ones). Leave enough play that the dolly can pivot a bit, like how a trailer hitch works. I have successfully moved refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, etc. by this method, even in the snow. For something flexible like a mattress, you’ll need to put a sheet of plywood on the dolly first.
    For things like firewood, laundry, yard waste or large dogs get one of the inexpensive plastic child trailers like the Kiddie Kart or the Tot Tote. They are a bit over $100 new, but can be found at yard sales & in classified ads for $20-$30. They are basically a big rearward-facing plastic bucket, with a bench seat shape moulded in. Stock, they are conservatively rated for about 60 lb., but can be easily modified to hold much more. I replaced the 16″ wheels with inexpensive 20″ BMX wheels for strength & more ground clearance, and put large fender washers under all the bolt heads & nuts (actually I drilled out quarters so it looked cool). Also, a piece of scrap angle aluminum was bolted under the rear edge/lip to prevent flex with heavy loads, and I mounted a plastic skid plate on the bottom for off-road use to prevent rock damage. If you are going to pull an adult (like I did with my blind friend on several occasions), a pair of leather wrist straps made from an old belt should be bolted to each side for them to hold on to.
    I’ve carried a couple hundred pounds in the modified version with no trouble, and 120 pounds for over 30 miles.
    Best of luck!
    –Steve I.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your various comments. Great to hear from you, especially as you’ve had so much experience writing a Fixed Gear bike.

      I have heard from someone else too that using a “kid” trailer instead of one designed for luggage is cheaper but can work just as well. As it is, I’m trying to hold out for a bit longer. If I can get everything I need on my pannier rack it saves the hassle and cost of buying a trailer and then dragging it into town, and wondering where to lock it when going into the post office etc. So far so good. I’ve skip raided, and picked up firewood, furniture, transported my gig gear etc. We’ll see how it goes as the winter comes.

      It would be great to see some pics of your bike (loaded or unloaded). Do you have any online?

      Glad you liked the weblog. Here is the latest post: https://fulltimefixie.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-big-cycle-adventure-part-2/

  2. Steve I.

    PS- Oops, I thought I was posting this on your regular blog page, not “about”.

  3. Interesting read! I’ve made a similar lifestyle change, for very similar reasons, except I scrapped the rented flat to live outdoors and cycle tour permanently instead!

    Very impressed to see you wild camping, I do it but I’m a 6’2″ bloke… takes guts for a girl! Photos of your bike remind me of when I started permanently touring early 2011 – I also carried two 40 litre Ortlieb panniers, a bottle, a flask and a few bits and bobs. The more you do it the less stuff you will need – 18 months later I’m down to just one 20 litre bag and a water bottle. I scrapped the tent and sleep in a bivvy bag instead. It’s not just about being nimble and lightweight – owning less stuff, carrying less stuff is much less hassle when walking around off the bike, less stuff to worry about and look after, and a light bike that you can pick up and post over gates or carry up stairs.

    I found your blog through a link from Sheldon Brown’s site, because I was reading up on fixed gear. I want to upgrade my cheapo gents’ hybrid to a lightweight custom steel-framed rigid 29″-wheeled mountain bike, and I’m considering single speed or more likely just three gears – I certainly don’t need the twenty-one gears on my current bike! It’s distracting flicking through them all. I don’t see myself on a fixie because I like to stand up and coast when going over bumpy rocks and tree roots in the woods.

    I used to ride road bikes with skinny tyres around Central London at breakneck speeds, and have also been known to thrash them down bumpy canal towpaths and fall in muddy ditches during the night! Having now turned thirty I’m just glad I’m still alive after all that and have reverted to fat, comfy tyres, a more upright riding position to enjoy the view, touring the back streets and the bridleways. 30psi is just so comfortable, like riding a sofa! Not that slow either, since the main resistance experienced when cycling comes from wind, not fat tyres.

    I know riding tarmac on a racer is faster and more efficient, but I don’t like riding amongst traffic. Riding fat tyres tempts me to head off-road at the earliest opportunity, where all is quiet except for the birdsong and the wind in the trees =)

    Anyway good luck with your continued adventures… I hope you manage to keep riding around this Winter, thus joining the hardcore all-weather cycling family! I have a blog too at http://www.piano-tuning.co.uk

  4. Thanks a lot for creating this website. I found your post on single speed vs free wheel really informative! I am in the market for a new bike, and actually I didn’t know that you could make a single speed bike freewheel, so that was very helpful.

    Thanks!

    Alex

    • Hi Alex. Thanks again. I’ve had a quick look at your weblog myself and I’m sure I will comment soon. It looks like you too deal in looking through the disinformation and find common truth. I hope you have a good journey with finding a bike, and keep my updated. Fixed gear and single speed seem to get so much flack now for being “trendy”, that it’s important to even the balance by showing that they are also brilliant bikes. Keep me updated on what you choose. I’ve been thinking of writing a post showing how my challenge has changed me even 2 years later.. watch this space.

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