Gear Ratio & Skid Patch Chart

>> Sunday, 25 January 2009

I get loads of people asking me about gear ratio's all the time, so here is a link to a neat little chart with all the info you need.

(click to view full size)

There is no such thing as a perfect ratio, it all depends on the type of riding you intend to do and the area in which you live. In our home town, Swansea, the city centre is flat and surrounding areas have some big fucken hills, so finding a ratio that suits can be tricky. As you know, hills are super fun to blaze down, but a bitch to get back up. I guess you need to do a bit of experimentation to see what suits, although I always recommend resisting the temptation of going too low as keeping up with traffic will be difficult and you will find you are spinning way too fast most of your time. People seem to always wanna go low so 'they can skid easily' or get up the hills, but remember that your legs will take time to get conditioned and with persistance everything will fall into place as you get fitter. I'm riding 47x17 on one bike and 42x16 on the other. I use the higher ratio for training or going longer distances, and the lower for pissing about around town.


Carmarthen Velodrome

This picture was taken at the Carmarthen Velodrome which was built around 1900. It's well worth the trip up there. I went a few times last summer, and although the track is much longer than the current 'Olympic standard' (405meters are opposed to 250meters), it's still pretty fun. It sounds corny but you kinda get to feel the soul through the concrete.


Bike + Hill + Ice + Skid = Hospital

>> Thursday, 22 January 2009

After less than 4 full weeks riding a fixie I have already had a trip to the hospital, haha. Oh, how all those "you are mad riding without brakes" people are gonna laugh at me!!! I came out of the house yesterday with the bike and nearly slipped right on my ass, undeterred I pedalled off cause I live at the top of a hill and it's often more icy than the rest of the route into work. Because I am slightly mentally retarded I decided to take the steepest back road with the tightest bend at the end rather than the main road which would almost certainly have had grit put on it. Down the hill I shot, as slow as I could manage (not slow at all!), skids were going good then at the bottom I put in one last skid before the corner, hit some ice and went down like a sack of potatoes, strapped in, hands still on the bars and used my hip to skid myself to a stop. It all happened in slow mo just like in the films. I got up, looked at the state of my jeans, imagined the graze underneath then got back on the bike and continued to work. As expected my hip was cut to bits but I had a bigger pedal was scratched!!!

Throughout the day my wrist started to hurt more and more, the moaning increased, the pain got worse, the moaning went on and on and on. I decided it was probably just a bit of a sprain but went to the hospital the next day just to be sure, lo and behold I left in a bloody cast up to my freaking elbow! Turns out that I sprained it so badly a ligament yanked off a little bit of bone!!! Check out the x-rays below to see just how lame this injury really is, see the tiny little bit of white by the cursor? That is it, about a mm of bone and a cast up to my elbow, it sucks so bad. I've got to go back in a week for them to have a look at it again, fingers crossed they'll tell me all is well and I can ride the Critical Mass in the evening.

The moral of this story is: it's icy out there y'all so be careful!


Morrissey spoke card

>> Tuesday, 20 January 2009

I made myself a Morrissey spoke card in work today, I've got a postcard somewhere with him leaning on a bike that I spent about half hour on t'internet trying to find with no luck, I think I may be completely imagining this postcard. Anyways, I ended up robbing a screengrab from the "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" video off flickr for the front and put these lyrics from the song on the back:

I was delayed, I was way-laid
An emergency stop
I smelt the last ten seconds of life
I crashed down on the crossbar
And the pain was enough to make
A shy, bald, buddhist reflect
And plan a mass murder
Who said I'd lied to her ?

I also laminated my work badge and stole an Apple sticker out of an iPod box to stick on the bike for extra hipster/nerd steez, aiiiiiight.


Check out the video for "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" below, it's awesome...

Hit up the comments with photos of your spoke cards.


Review - Bootleg Sessions v.1 & v.2

>> Monday, 19 January 2009

There are still a fairly limited amount of fixie videos available on DVD, as far as I know Bootleg Sessions is the only one to have made a sequel to date. I'm gonna review both of these at the same time because they are very similar, which I'm not sure is too great of a thing really. The Bootleg Sessions videos are very much trick based, there's not much in the way of traffic dodging or hill bombing, it's all bar spins and wheelies. They use a similar structure to skate videos, each rider has an individual section which is the best way to do it I suppose but I find that both of these videos suffer from less than great camera work, in fact they both look like some of the lenses were smeared with spittle! There is some debate as to whether the skate video structure works for fixie videos and I'm not sure what the answer is. I think it works to a degree but 'freestyle' trick based riding needs to be shot well, maybe locked off on a tripod with a nice depth of field etc, otherwise it just looks like some dude bouncing up and down whilst his mate films him with his camera phone, fine for youtube, not fine for DVD. MASH is a good example of how some decent camera work can really lift a video from just guys riding fast down a road to a very enjoyable thing to watch.

Image ©, click on it to go to the order page.

All that said both of the Bootleg Sessions videos feature some really insane tricks, if you are into technical stuff and can't tell Coronation Street from Citizen Kane then you'll love them. They feature street stuff and a fair amount of skate park action too from riders from all over the world, I'm really loving the style of the Japanese riders although they ride some ugly ass bikes! The first section on v.2 is some guy who rides UP a big set of steps and even rides down steps backwards, its absolute madness. The back of the v.2 box says "Bootleg Sessions v.2 details the efforts of a globally diverse group of wayward cyclists as they attempt to prove one thing: there is an infinite number of ways to have fun on a bicycle" and they accomplish that, albeit with a lack of camera steez.

Image ©, click on it to go to the order page.

I know this was more of a rant about shooting style rather than an in depth review of the videos but I think it is justified. Bootleg Sessions is paving the way for it to become the 411 (skate video magazine) of fixed gear videos but in order for it to accomplish that the overall aesthetic of the project could do with some cleaning up. Early skate videos weren't exactly very well shot but that was the 80's, this is 2009 and it is now very easy to get professional results with consumer equipment, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all the guys shooting around the world start to wipe their lens and hold the camera straight for future versions on this series.

Check out the trailers for both the videos below and then head on over to where there is a ton more footage for you to shout "nooooo waaaaaaay" at as well as some killer photos...

V.1 Trailer

V.2 Trailer


JT's New Aerospoke

>> Monday, 12 January 2009

JT recently received his spanking new, white Aerospoke firmly placing him at the top of the hipster pile in Swansea cause nobody else can afford the 7 million quid or however much they cost. I wonder if it will help him stay upright and not fall off every time he goes for a ride hahahahahaha. Check it out:

Go to the Aerospoke website.


A Night Of No Gears at The Cube Cinema, Bristol

At the end of this month there is gonna be a fixed gear film / music night in Bristol. Watch Pedal and MASH on the big screen, have a few drinks, talk bikes and listen to some music, check out the blurb from The Cube Cinema:

Fri 23rd Jan - 7.30pm - £4adv

An evening of film, art and music dedicated to singlespeed and fixed gear bikes,
presented by Denim and 45rpm.

In the auditorium screenings of some of the finest fixed gear footage available,
featuring riders from New York and San Francisco, as they battle traffic, show
off their skills, explore urban environments and injure themselves. Featuring
the incredible stories of amazing riders and modelled on the style of skate and
surf videos, these films bring out the style and beauty of fixed gear riders,
and are landmarks in the emerging subculture of urban riding.

The venue will be taken over by Street artist 45rpm who alongside friends will
be providing work associated with the single speed/fixed gear bike culture.
Artists so far confirmed include Sums, Black Cloud, and 45rpm himself.

Music in the bar from Nadoone (Illegal Seagull/Splashback) playing hardcore,
skatecore & fixedcore!!

Go to The Cube Cinema Page


Review - Knog Frog LED Lights

>> Wednesday, 7 January 2009

At this time of year in wales you are gonna need a set of lights for your bike. I went the cheap route and spent about 3 quid on a set of crappy ones from Tesco, they lit the place up well but the front one kept falling off, one night i skidded up outside my house and it went flying off, hit the road and never worked again.

JT had these right snazzy looking tiny little rubber things so when I was up in that London to see The Residents I took a trip to Brick Lane Bikes and the only thing I could afford (and actually needed) was a set of the rubber lights, the Knog Frogs! I paid the extortionate price of £17 but you you can pick them up for about £13 in most places outside of London.


They are really small as you can see in the photos and made of a very grippy, flexible silicone outer that contains a small but powerful LED. To attach them to your bike you just pull the stretchy loop around your bar or seatpost and clip it to itself, I thought that they'd probably pop off but they seem to be holding fast. Knog reckon that they will burn for 80 hours (steady), or 160 hours (flashing) which is pretty impressive, to replace the batteries you just pop the electronic section out of the casing, nice and simple, elegant, hassle free, awesome! Another claim by Knog is that they put out 10,000 millicandelas which equates to being visible at up to 600 metres away!!! I'm not sure about that, in theory maybe but under normal riding conditions I'd imagine it's quite a bit less, either way you need to know that they are a "safety light" so if you actually want them to light up where you are going then you better get some "proper lights" cause these things won't light up any more than about 2 feet ahead of you unless you are riding down a pitch black lane. I think they do a perfectly good job of making you visible to all but the most ignorant driver, and make you look pretty, pretty, pretty good too so who cares if you can't see where you are going?


They may do their job brilliantly but if you are scared of being looked down upon by 'real fixed gear riders' you must be aware of their hipster status, in fact Bike Snob NYC uses the charming name of 'Hipster Cyst's' when referring to them. Yes they are unbearably cool looking but would you use a Dell rather than a Mac just because you were afraid of looking fresh? I don't fink so.


All in all I would highly recommend the Knog Frog lights, they come in 12 colours, are water resistant, probably wouldn't break if you drop them (unless they land on the bulb) and are as light as a feather. Check out the shopping page for bike shops in your area that might have them or failing that try eBay or something innit.

Check out the official web page.


My First Puncture!

>> Saturday, 3 January 2009

I got my first puncture today, or rather, last night. Just one of the many risks when living on a council estate, broken glass everywhere! :-p

I explained the symptoms (wouldn't even inflate at all) to my buddy who is a "mountain biker" and he correctly (I think) diagnosed a SNAKE BITE PUNCTURE. I Googled it and found this link which explains the different types of punctures with handy little annotated diagrams. Scroll down half way to see the snake bite picture and explanation.

Although there was one big hole and another bit that looked like it had taken a lot of pressure but not quite popped it may have just been a simple sharp bit of glass cause there is a tiny little hole in the tyre too.

I fitted a new tube and, fingers crossed, i'll have an awesome ride tomorrow, I plan on practicing some trackstands cause I can't do them for toffee yet...

UPDATE: It was cause I didn't have any rim tape, hahahahaha! I swear I spent a million hours researching how to build a bike and never once read anything about rim tape! If you haven't got rim tape you better get some before your tyre explodes into a million pieces when you are bombing downhill through traffic and end up dead: CHECKIT.



>> Thursday, 1 January 2009

marc evans trackstand fixie swansea
Marc Evans / Swansea
- Bob Jackson Vigorelli

ric cartwright exist clothing swansea fixed gear
Ric Cartwright / Swansea / Website
All brown bike like a poo

jt fixie sa1 swansea
Johnnie Thomas / Swansea

Raleigh Reynolds 521c, Phil Wood rear hub, Rear Velocity rim, front Aerospoke, Halo twin rail 700x 24c tyres, Nitto stem and risers, Charge Spoon saddle

tyron francis fixie orlowski swansea
Tyron Francis / Swansea / Website
Orłowski frame (BLB) 49cm, Sram GXP S300 cranks, Velocity Deep-V's, Charge bullhorns, 42x16

Jason Beynon fixed gear swansea
Jason Beynon / Swansea
Reynolds 501 frame, Charge wheels, 48x17, Sram GXP S300 cranks

owen pillai fixie blackpill swansea
Owen Pillai / Swansea
Raleigh frame, Charge Spoon saddle, 42x16

gavin johnson county hall banks swansea
Gavin Johnson / Swansea

fixed gear fixie swansea
Sion Perrott / Swansea

Terry Dolan, 48x19, Velocity Deep-V

fixed gear bike bicycle swansea
Scott Pullin / Swansea / Website
Volume v3 Cutter, Volume Forks, Campag front, Halo rear, DMR Wing bars, Blaclspier stem,FSA internal headset, Charge seat, FSA post, 44x16


Other known riders (profiles coming soon)

Amy Evans
Dave Lewis
Aled Simons
Tara Woolner
Jack Dix Davies

Rod Mullaney
Matt Dove
Mike Jones
Casper Hoedemaekers
Oliver Lenan
David Bush
Adrian Wong

Peter Philips

Rhodri Thomas


W-Cup Video

I found this cool video over at It's of a bunch of Japanese dudes and Keo pulling some crazy stunts with a load of spectators all having a great time. I would say something about how I hope the Welsh scene can get to this point one day but 'Stay Gold' sums it up perfectly over on the Rotterdam site when he says "I hope all riders (and future riders) in The Netherlands take an example on these guys, not only when it comes to riding skills, but even more…the attitude… Or better yet… NOT having an attitude, supporting the scene… "

Check it out

W-CUP from Eli Tokyo Jitensha-Jin on Vimeo.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Blast Off!

Site launch!

Welcome to Fixed Gear Wales, which we hope in time will become the first stop for information, news and all kinds of fixie fun for everyone in Wales that prefer a nice quiet, gearless, exciting bike!

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