On September 19, 2009 I went to Munich Germany for Oktoberfest. This trip changed my life in many ways, too many to discuss here. If you would like to hear about my Oktoberfest goings ons, visit Oktoberfest, Munich Germany.
While in Munich, I took a bike tour around the city. On the tour, I stopped at several historical sites and a few beer gardens. When I got back home, I was interested in riding a bike around town. Winchester is a small city and there is no damn reason why I couldn’t ride a bike 2 miles in one direction. I exercise all the time; 4 miles round trip on a bike shouldn’t be a problem. I went to Wal-Mart and got a crappy $100 mountain bike. I rode it 2-3 times and didn’t ride a bike again for 2 years.
In July of 2012, I was browsing an online shopping website called Jackthreads which sells apparel, shoes and accessories. On the site they had a Sole Bicycle for sale. The bikes retailed for $379 plus $50, a total of $429. Jackthreads had the bikes for sale for $324 with free shipping. I purchased the P-Wayf fixed gear Sole Bicycle saving $105.
Below is the promotional video for my bike .
At that time, I wasn’t familiar with fixed gear bicycles. For those of you who do not know what a fixed gear is, this is a single speed bike. There is no changing of gears, no clicking and grinding as you pedal. This bike has a drive train with no freewheel mechanism. A freewheel allows the pedals to remain stationary while the bicycle is in motion, so that the rider can coast, ride without pedaling. A fixed-gear drive train has the cog threaded directly to the hub of the back wheel, so that the rider cannot stop pedaling. Fortunately, Sole Bicycles come with a flip-flop hub which is threaded to accept fixed cogs and/or flywheels. So it is up to you as a rider to choose if you want coast or if you want to roll fixed. I roll fixed. This type of bike is popular among urban cyclist because it offers the advantages of simplicity compared with the multi-geared bicycle. Most of the bikes I had seen people ride were mountain bikes, or street bikes. Since I wasn’t a hardcore bike rider, I didn’t want to spend $1,000 plus on a street bike. I also didn’t want a mountain bike. It is not necessary to have a mountain bike for the terrain I ride on in town. The Sole fixed gear bicycle made more sense for me. It was cost affective for my purposes. Call me a hipster if you want, the bike looks cool and it meets my needs. The specifications on my bike are as follows:
- Hi-tensile steel fully tig welded frame with fork end dropouts and BMX handle bars with Oury grips.
- Hi tensile steel thread less lugged crown fork.
- Sealed cartridge bottom bracket.
- Crank set: Lasco 170 MM, Alloy 48T, with 5 Bolt chairing
- Brake: Radius Dual Caliper
- Hub: Flip Flop Fixed/Single Speed 16T
- Chain: KMC Z410 98 Links
- Rim: Machine/Double Walled “Deep Dish” 35MM, Quick Release front tire
- Tires: Innova 700 X 23C
- Valve: Presta
- Saddle: Black Vader soft top
- Seat post: 25.4 X 300MM
- Total Weight: 26 Pounds
- Seatpost: 25.4 X 300MM
I have a Medium 55 cm bike, for heights 5’7″ – 5’11”
The bike comes 95% assembled. Once assembled, I would recommend taking it to a local bike shop. They can make the necessary adjustments for your front break and other adjustments. After assembling my bike, I took it out for the first ride and realized that when applying reverse pressure to break, my pedals would slip. My lock ring wasn’t tight enough and I didn’t have the proper tools to tighten it up. You will need a Lock Ring Wrench to tighten your lock ring if you have this problem. Or just take it to the shop. The bike comes with instructions to install front tire, handle bars and easy-to-screw-on pedals.
This bike came with a Presta valve. If you are not familiar with a Presta valve (also called Sclaverand valve or French valve) is a valve commonly found in high pressure road style bikes. If you do not have a bicycle pump (I didn’t), you may need to get a Presta Valve Adapter. I also purchase a bike helmet called the POC Receptor Flow, a Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock with 4-Foot Flex Cable, and a Sunlite TL-L150 Griplite Taillight
I now ride my bike as often as possible, weather permitting. I mostly ride to and from the gym and downtown and back home. I’m still getting used to the fixed gear. I try to stop as much as I can without using the front break. Eventually I’d like to remove the front break completely. I have to learn how to slide to stop better before doing that.