flip flop hubs

QA: A fixie and a bike with gears

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Once in a while I get interesting questions from followers of our BiSiKLETA blog in Tumblr and I’ve decided I’d answer them here.

What is the advantage of a fixie over a bike with gears? I am honestly curious because I’m looking to buy a bike soon

 A lot of people have a number of opinions and preferences about this topic and the following is my take on it. Some of you may or may not agree and that’s okay. Agree to disagree.

Just so everyone knows, my first bike was a road bike with all the shifters and gears and I rode it for years. That bike got stolen a few years ago and just to get me back to riding again I got myself a relatively cheap bike — a fixie.

On a fixed gear bike, cycling is a lot simpler — you pedal to go and you stop pedaling to slow down and stop. I don’t get to think about changing gears or what gear to change to when the road points up or down which makes things simpler. But fixed gear bike is harder on the legs because you use them to go, to slow down and to stop. You also cannot shift to a smaller gear when the road tilts up — all you can do is pedal harder. And since its a fixed gear bike you cannot coast.

On a geared bike, you can choose which gear to use depending on road conditions or orientation. You can also coast — something I sometimes miss.

 In the end, I think its all a matter of preference — what you as a bicycle rider want. Test ride both types of bicycles to see which one you’d like to ride and go with that.

Shop Visit: Cristy’s Bike Shop

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Cristy’s Bike Shop has been my go to bike shop for the longest time and it has always been in Cartimar even before I started cycling. Cristy’s has become something of an institution, really. A couple of days ago I asked Cristy for a bit of history.

Cristy got started in the bicycle business in Quiapo in 1965. By 1975, she decided to make a name for herself and started Cristy’s Bike Shop in Cartimar.  Several years ago the shop caught fire but you can’t really keep a good shop closed so Cristy’s doors soon reopened a few meters from its original location and, if I remember correctly, the current shop is bigger now.

New Cristy Trading
Bicycle Center
2156 Leveriza St., Pasay City, Metro Manila
551.2828; 0917-565.1833
limcristeta@yahoo.com

fixing flats

Skills: Changing a flat tire

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If you plan on regularly riding your bike around town changing a flat is one of those skills that you must learn so you don’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire.

We do recommend including a spare inner tube and a CO2 cartridge in your go-to bag of tricks to make changing a flat faster. You can always patch that punctured tube when you get home. If you use CO2 deflate the tire when you get home and inflate it with your regular floor pump. CO2 quickly dissipates through the rubber (the science is here).

 wikiHow as an excellent tutorial on how to change that flat tire and we would recommend you read it. twice.

We’re changing themes so be prepared for strangeness.

wheel-building tip

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spoke nipples

I am building a pair of wheels and I got a set of neon red spokes and a pack of white spoke nipples. I didn’t have much choice in the colors of the spokes and the nipples as the stocks and choices are severely limited.

I did encounter what I consider a huge problem when I was about to start truing the assembled wheel — the spoke nipples did not fit any the spoke wrenches I have which are shown in the above photo. The white coating of the spoke nipples made them thick enough that they will not fit a standard spoke wrench. I had to disassemble the wheel again and ditch the white things for standard nipples.

The lesson here is to never buy those coated (colored) spoke nipples. Ever. They are next to unusable as spoke nipples but I could probably make a necklace or a wrist band out of what I already have. Or maybe earrings.

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riding at sunrise around sampaloc lake

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There’s this road in San Pablo that winds its way around a Sampaloc Lake. its approximately 3.5 kilometers long and has been the most popular walking, running and biking stretch of asphalt ever since I can remember.

One of my first rides was around this lake was organized by a Jesuit brother named James Dunne to raise funds for a cause that I have already forgotten. The idea was that several kind souls would donate one peso to the fund for every kilometer ridden on a bicycle around the lake. Brother Dunne borrowed all the bicycles he could and gathered a good number of volunteers from the grade school and high school departments of Ateneo de San Pablo where he taught and herded us to Sampaloc Lake to ride.

I cannot recall how much we raised that day but I do remember it went to the thousands. I also remember that it was the first time that a ride game me the most fun.

I visited the lake last weekend and I was pleasantly surprised that it was still the most popular road to walk, run or ride on. Below are some of the photos I took (click to enlarge).