A week of recklessness.

I nearly made a trip-to-the-hospital mistake at work on Tuesday. I was checking the chain tension on a fixie by springboarding my fingertips on the top as I turned the crank. As my fingers were bouncing off the chain, the tip of my thumb began to get sucked in. I reflexively jerked back my hand before the drivetrain trapped it.

A fixie differs from a single speed in that the cog is tied to the motion of the pedals. Single speed bikes have a freewheel that allows you to coast downhill without pedalling like the devil to keep up with the spinning rear wheel. Ergo, the force generated by the spinning rear wheel of a fixie is strong enough to gobble up a digit or two.

I told a co-worker about the accident that almost was, and his response was: “Oh, yeah, that would have been really bad. People lose their fingers. There’s a website featuring photos of mangled mitts that were fed through the drivetrain.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

I don’t touch fixies often (they’re not as popular in Victoria as in Montréal), so I had let my guard down.

Yann says his shoelaces once got sucked into the drivetrain while riding a fixie: “My shoelaces broke, but my foot turned blue.”

Then, Wednesday morning, on my way to work, I nearly found myself in a visit-with-the-police situation.

Continue reading “A week of recklessness.”