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learning to skid(4 posts)

learning to skidbadbuddha
Aug 19, 2003 7:15 AM
I have been riding fixed for about two months now - and loving it.

I was first smitten in Regent Street in London when I saw a courier do an emergency stop behind a car with an impossibly elegant perfectly controlled locked-wheel skid and then move off casually as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Now i am trying to learn to do the most basic version myself with mixed results. I have read the section on 63xc.com that deals with skidding, but am still not finding it easy. Although clipless pedals and riding on loose surfaces seems to help, i am nowhere near being able to pull off the manouevre on the road (let alone the centre of Regent St). One time i tried 'unweighting the back wheel' using the front brake, only to succeed in unweighting myself, flying over the bars and cracking a couple of ribs.

At the moment I have quite fat tyres, 700 x 28s, with tread, and am wondering whether i should get narrower tyres, or ones with no tread to help the wheels break traction?

I have read that couriers have competitions in which they skid for hundreds of yards, but at the moment this seems a little way off. If anyone out there has any advice I'd be most grateful...
re: learning to skidcmgauch
Aug 19, 2003 11:39 AM
I'm even newer to FG than you but sometimes a different perspective helps.

I find it more productive to concentrate on pulling up (really hard) with the foot that is trying to go down. For me, trying to resist the upstroke seems futile. Instead, I use that foot (along with my hips) to help steer while in the skid. It also helps me to have my hands in the strongest position on the bars. For me, that is right around where the hoods would be (if I had them).

Maybe try skidding when the roads are wet? Are you running a big gear? Intuitively, that might make it tougher to lock the rear wheel.

My fixed is brakeless & I run a 48/16. So far, I've only skidded in the context of trying to stop effectively or control my speed on a big downhill but it seems like once you lock the rear wheel it's pretty easy to keep it locked up. On big downhills it's common for me to skid just a tiny bit as I resist each pedal stroke. I try to keep my resistance just below that point, as my rides take me pretty far from home and I haven't been carrying a spare tire.

I'm still wary of big downhills, but last week I worked up the courage to try one where I always break 50 M.P.H. on my road bike. For the 1st half of the hill I was trying really hard to control my speed (skidding just a bit with each ½ revolution of the crank-arm), while another part of my brain was imagining very painful crash scenarios. Before I knew it I was past the worst of it, and felt confidant enough to just spin and go for it.

I really love riding a fixed gear. Perhaps they'll put that on my tombstone.

- Chris
re: learning to skidOverStuffed
Aug 19, 2003 1:26 PM
The less resistance there is to the rear wheel, the easier it is to skid. Tires without tread skid easier, if there's less weight on the rear wheel, it'll skid easier. When I need to, I hit the front brake (cheating, I know), lean forward to stop the pedals, then start to lean back again. The faster you lean back, the bigger the jerk will be when the wheel wants to spin. If you need it in an emergency, it requires a fair amount of leg strength (especially with my touring tires). Experiment with how far forward you can lean without going over. The riders in these contests put most of their weight on the front wheel, and the rear wheel just kinda bounces along. That's the theory as I understand it. Not that I'm any good at it. Good luck.
No one mentioned how terrible it is for your tiresTrevo
Aug 23, 2003 10:53 AM
I have a nasty spot in my rear tire from skidding. Maybe I need better tires?
I dont skid that often anymore.

Trevo