I guess I have been looking at too many bike websites recently, especially www.bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com.
Although I am old enough to realize that I will never again be hip no matter what I do, I have somehow decided that I need to possess the hippest of all bikes, the fixed gear. The shed is already full, but still I need the fixie.
I've done it before and hated it. As a roadie, the concept of never coasting is completely foreign to me. But one winter I tried it. I converted the old Basso 14-speed (this was many years ago) by replacing the back wheel with a fixed hub wheel and shortening the chain to bypass the derailleur. It was OK until I came to a patch of ice. I instinctively got up off the saddle and stopped pedalling to coast over the ice. But on a fixie, that's about the worst thing you can do. I immediately felt the leg on the upside of the pedaling stroke start to launch me off the bike. The rest of me tried to compensate while the front wheel hit the ice. I was completely off balance. Before I knew it I was horizontal with my butt sliding across the cold wet ice. Once I got home from that ride, I never used that fixed wheel again. The only cycling experience I ever hated more was stoking a tandem mountain bike (another post for another day, but thanks Johnny A.).
I still have that old frame (plus a lot of ferric oxide) and I still have that old wheel (what is the chemical name of that white stuff growing ever so slowly?), and for some reason I feel a need to combine them again and ride messenger style. I think I will wait for ice free roads this time, at least for the first few rides. Maybe I'll even send a photo to www.fixedgeargallery.com when I have it all put together.