...the roads here on the Surrey / Hampshire border are lovely and many local cyclists use the country roads for training or leisure... but today it's just me.
It's also the first training ride of the year as my wife and I signed up to do the British Heart Foundation London to Reading bike ride, which is 40 miles... and I've decided I'd like to do it on the fixie.
It's worth saying that I'm not some super-fit athlete, race cyclist, or time-triallist. I'm just an ordinary guy that enjoys the odd ride out on his bike. We'll go out for 30-40 mile bike rides that would best be described as a gentle saunter through the countryside, and for those I use gears.
Late last year I came to the conclusion that I needed to give myself some goals and so with around 10 weeks to go I started training to run the 8-mile Grim Challenge in December. I hadn't done any running for 25 years, when I'd left the Army. I then decided that I would ride in the Farnham Charity Bike Ride and signed up for the 75 mile circuit - that's in July. The BHF 40-miler sits neatly in between those and friends have also just asked me if I would be interested in the Tour de Lauder in April... the short option is still 50 miles long.
So what has brought about this sudden rush of blood to the head? Honestly? I'm 47 and heart problems run in the family; fortunately I have an outdoor job which keeps me generally fit and I'm not sat all day in an office, but even so, I figured it was about time to take my fitness a little bit more seriously and give myself some goals.
It's Cold Out There
And so I find myself waking up on the 5th January and it's -3C outside. I could fit the fixie on the turbo trainer, but with the sun shining I'd rather go out for a ride; I decide to wait until a bit later in the day and just after lunch it's warmed up to a heady 0C.
The grass at the side of the road, shaded by the hedges is still frosty and the puddles are still frozen; and as I leave Odiham and go over the canal bridge I can see that the canal is also frozen.
There are a number of hills on the route, indeed I live on a hill and I usually have to start by going uphill... then straight down again. It's one way of warming up the leg muscles! The 46/17 gearing on the bike is about right for me around here and I reach a high speed of just under 29mph (and somewhat less on the hills), averaging 13.3mph. I'm happy with that and it's been a beautiful ride on a cold, clear Winter's day, and on the fixie too. What's not to like about that?
Whatever your view on fixies, dangerous or awesome (or if there's something about them that just appeals), I'd love to hear your views and experiences with them.
This article was written by DC. Vickers