I hear a lot of people say that Boston is tough to bike in, due to the snow, old streets, crazy drivers, and so on, so it’s nice to read that at least Bike N’ Walk likes us. Although, a city can have a healthy and growing cycling community and still have its share of freewheels, right?

I’ve done my reading and research, and have considered converting my bike to a fixed gear, but does having 10 speeds make me a lesser cyclist. I expect that once my bike begins to deteriorate, I’ll replace it with a new geared bike and convert the one I have now into a fixed or flip-flop, but what’s the hurry? Granted, most of my ride is urban and I only ever use one or two gears, but still I don’t think it’s practical for me to be unable to coast. There are too many times that I am squeezing between cars and curbs that I would scrape my foot if I kept pedaling. Is this a cop out? When I read Bike Noob’s post last week, I didn’t even consider it, but for some reason it’s got my juices flowing now, and I feel a bit defensive for riding with gears. Is this insecurity all in my head, or is everyone else clipping in and laughing at me?

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Geared bikes challenge you more than a fixed gear if you learn to use your gears properly– increasing your spin on flat land, increasing your resistance on downhills, etc– but primarily because they do not come with the same gift of momentum as a fixed has. In fact, because of this phenomenon, you may find on a fixed gear you do not miss coasting at all, since once you get going on a fixed, your legs are just moving up and down without much effort. Everyone probably is laughing at you, but that’s because they’re petty and insecure and relying on hype/mystique to protect them from others finding out fixed gear bicycles are really very easy to ride. You can always try it out on a friend’s bike and see how you like it, but if you’re into gears there’s no reason to switch just because everyone else is doing it. If you really feel the need to lose your derailleur, you can always go singlespeed: one gear, freewheel. Otherwise, be proud of your bike, whether its fashionable or not: anyone who would give you crap about it has the wrong priorities.


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