This is NOT advisory. These are the personal views and opinions of Luke who rides a Rook Race and based on his progression on learning to ride fixed.
Warning: Riding without mechanical brakes is extremely dangerous. Without a slow progression and very current riding skill, you will greatly increase your risk of injury or death as well as increase the risk of injury or death to others. Rook Cycles, it’s partner and/or associates DO NOT encourage riding our bicycles or any other bicycle without mechanical brakes.
Riding without mechanical brakes is a totally different style of cycling. You’re hyper aware, fully focussed and anticipating your next move. Reactions change from a squeeze of the lever to a preloaded instinctive manoeuvre which locks your back wheel and turns the bicycle 90 degrees. This skid manoeuvre is your new brake. It needs to be learned deep into instinctive muscle memory.
There is nothing “cool” about riding a brakeless fixed gear bicycle. There’s no extra steez or street cred. It’s a different experience that requires the rider to be extremely current in riding fixed. You should be riding everywhere, everyday, fixed before even considering removing your brake/s.
Firstly you would need to be extremely proficient in riding fixed. You should be able to skid both sides. Right foot forward, left foot forward. You should be riding in an urban environment every single day. You should have a good history of fast reaction sports. You and your bicycle should be one. You should be riding without using the brake, but rather using your legs to stop at every opportunity. Use the brake for emergencies while learning to stop using your legs. Only once you are not touching the brake, and have successfully rewired your instinct of squeezing the levers to stop, to a new reactionary skid stop, then you might consider losing the brake. Not because you’ll be brakeless, but because you have a new braking system: Your Legs.
The riding experience has changed and the flow of your choices as you navigate your route becomes smooth and fluid. You’ll find you’re riding for 50, 60, 100m ahead. Constantly anticipating pedestrians, traffic lights and cars. You’ll be aware of your inertia, and where to steer your energy.
If you ask me why I ride brakeless, it’s because of the above paragraph. I enjoy the attention on the road and the hyper focussed state of mind that this riding style demands. It’s a very personal choice that needs to be considered extremely carefully.
Learn Slow. Always wear a helmet. Stay Strapped!