Fixed gear bikes were one of those fads that blow up in cycling. The trend was so big that many people developed a derogatory attitude to fixed gears bikes. It was one of those divides that humanity loves, you either loved fixed gear or hated it, and you stayed in your camp. Like most irrational hatreds, it isn’t based on logic, so I’m going to show you why logically, a fixed gear bike, which is essentially what your tracklocross bike is, is excellent for winter riding. On a side note, we’re not going to call a fixed gear bike a fixie as we have an irrational hatred of that term.
To salt or not to salt
Winter tens to bring ice. Ice tends to be pretty slippy, and we then try and treat surfaces with salt or sand to stop ice formation. Both salt and sand hate your bike, and your bike hates them.
If you’re running rim brakes, you’ll spend time rubbing salt or sand on your wheel rim, which will work as a grinding paste killing your wheels. Salt wants to eat your bike and will start corroding on your parts. Sand will work its way into bearings and moving parts and start to wear down your bike. You’ll want to keep an eye on your wheel rims to ensure they are not getting worn down.
A tracklocross bike will have fewer parts to wear down by eschewing gears. Fewer parts to have to replace and a lot less maintenance you’ll have to do if you want to keep your bike running during the winter.
We all want to spend less time working on our bikes.
Slowing down tracklocross style
If you’ve dealt with proper winter conditions when driving, you’ll know that the correct way to slow down is using engine braking and downshifting through your gears. Using your brakes tends to leave your car inescapably sliding towards doom. Braking on a bike will have similar issues.
However, a fixed gear bike (with or without brakes, we won’t get into that argument here) can be slowed down in a similar way to engine braking your car. You slow down your pedalling. You’ll not get any locking by slowing down this way, and you’ll find that you come to a safe stop by slowing your pedalling down.
Many people not using brakes seem counter-intuitive but trust us, it’s the safest way during proper winter conditions. By not accidentally locking your brakes, you’ll be in more control of your bike and have a load more traction.
That is just two simple points, but we’re sure you can now see why I love tracklocross bikes for winter riding.