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  1. #1
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    SS/fixed or geared for weight loss/ training?

    Hey all, I was wondering what the thought was on each style of bike for weight loss/training? I personally have an old schwinn 10 speed that I converted to ss, along with a fuji 10 speed that is geared. I like my ss schwinn so much more than the geared bike, and tend to ride it way more often. No switching of gears to deal with, just mash away at the pedals and go. But I was just wondering if I would get any more benefit from using the geared bike instead. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
    By the way, since 7/11 I have lost 30 lbs, riding the SS mostly and I want to drop another 40 by the end of this year. So I could use any help to achieve this goal.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Great work on the weight loss ! And, in such a short period !!
    Stay motivated ~
    Anyway, a Fixie will give you a fabulous workout !! But its not a
    brutal one, really....all bikes are a good workout but if you only have
    an hour a day a fixie will pack in double the good stuff that a gearie or
    SS will.
    You really dont realize how much time you spend coasting (no workout)
    until you fix yourself
    You do use a little more enegry due to hills and such but on flats the bike just
    sort of motivates itself, it seems..... I ride a fixie mostly and it does put you
    in better shape but its a different type of riding....uphills are fun, downhills are
    to be dreaded ...You have a nice rig to fix, I would definately go with
    a 1/8 chain and under gear to start. If you are confortable with your SS gearing
    that wont be an issue. Just remember the most important rule of Fixation :
    NEVER STOP PEDALING....EVER !!!!!!!!! Disaster will occur if you let up for a
    look-back or pothole jump !!!!
    Visit the fixie forum or Sheldons website for more great stuff and keep up the good work !!!!!

  3. #3
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Riding a fixie doesn't mean you'll lose weight faster. I haven't lost a lb. riding a fixie and I could easily stand to lose 60. The reason I haven't is I don't ride enough. I should be riding over 100 miles a week w/ my HR in a target range for at least 40 mins to an hour, and watching what I eat. Instead I'm in the 50-70 miles per range usually just cruising along and while I'm eating sensibly, I'm not eating sensibly enough.

    The benefits I've seen so far are my spin is better, climbing is better and my legs have more muscle. So when I jump on the mtb or roadie, I'm an exta mile or two faster than I used to be on average. Plus it's fun!
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    I'm an SS fan, too--I built one out of an old touring bike three or four years ago, and I have more fun on it than all my other bikes put together....
    I forget where I saw this, but I read something recently that said the gearing on a bike, or lack of it in the case of an SS, doesn't make a significant difference in terms of calorie consumption or aerobic benefit. It was a study of calories consumed in a simulated one-hour ride, I think (variable resistance on rollers), comparing an SS and a conventional roadie, and the variation was within the margin of error. They didn't consider fixies, but my guess would be that you'd use a little more energy because your legs are always moving.

  5. #5
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    IMO, fixie/SS = form/muscle development. Gears = aerobic development (with exception of fixie on a looooooong downhill)
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  6. #6
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big boy phil
    By the way, since 7/11 I have lost 30 lbs, riding the SS mostly and I want to drop another 40 by the end of this year. So I could use any help to achieve this goal.
    Thanks.
    Hmmmm. I'd say keep riding the SS until, oh ... December 29 or therabouts ... and you will have reached your goal. In other words, don't fix what isn't broken.

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    Thanks for all the comments. I will probably end up riding the SS or my new fixed gear project, just cause it feels better to me. I figure any riding is better than no riding. And I'm having fun too.

  8. #8
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    It's easier to stay motivated when riding the bike you prefer vs. forcing yourself to ride the geared bike for some immeasurable benefit over the SS.

    Stick with the SS!
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  9. #9
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    I felt this thread needed to be revisited, and I have a bit of an update.

    I moved on from the SS to straight fixed and have switched my riding over to commuting instead of the long rides in the afternoon. Time and weather necessitated the riding changes. As for the fixed gear, well I really wanted to give it a try, so I dropped some coin on a nicely built rear wheel, and went from there. I have to say, that I love riding the fixed gear now. Any chance I can to ride it, including my lunch break, I hop on and go. On weekends, when I have more time, I try to put in 50 miles at least one of the two days.

    Lastly, as of this morning's weigh in, I have lost a total of 63 lbs since 7/11. My original goal when I started was to be @ 300 lbs by the end of the year. Well, I am just 3 lbs away from that, so I have moved my goal to be 275 lbs by the end of this year. I currently weigh 303 lbs. I may fall slightly short of that goal, but I'm going to strive for it anyway.

    I'll have to reward myself with a new wardrobe when this is all said and done. Heck, I kind of already need some new clothes as it is. My current wardrobe is already too big.

  10. #10
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big boy phil
    I felt this thread needed to be revisited, and I have a bit of an update.

    I moved on from the SS to straight fixed and have switched my riding over to commuting instead of the long rides in the afternoon. Time and weather necessitated the riding changes. As for the fixed gear, well I really wanted to give it a try, so I dropped some coin on a nicely built rear wheel, and went from there. I have to say, that I love riding the fixed gear now. Any chance I can to ride it, including my lunch break, I hop on and go. On weekends, when I have more time, I try to put in 50 miles at least one of the two days.

    Lastly, as of this morning's weigh in, I have lost a total of 63 lbs since 7/11. My original goal when I started was to be @ 300 lbs by the end of the year. Well, I am just 3 lbs away from that, so I have moved my goal to be 275 lbs by the end of this year. I currently weigh 303 lbs. I may fall slightly short of that goal, but I'm going to strive for it anyway.

    I'll have to reward myself with a new wardrobe when this is all said and done. Heck, I kind of already need some new clothes as it is. My current wardrobe is already too big.
    Great job!
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    That's amazing. I too am looking to lose some weight by the end of the year. I just finished my SS project today and am inspired by your example. Keep it up!

  12. #12
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big boy phil
    Hey all, I was wondering what the thought was on each style of bike for weight loss/training? I personally have an old schwinn 10 speed that I converted to ss, along with a fuji 10 speed that is geared. I like my ss schwinn so much more than the geared bike, and tend to ride it way more often. No switching of gears to deal with, just mash away at the pedals and go. But I was just wondering if I would get any more benefit from using the geared bike instead. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
    By the way, since 7/11 I have lost 30 lbs, riding the SS mostly and I want to drop another 40 by the end of this year. So I could use any help to achieve this goal.
    Thanks.
    That's awesome that you have lost that kind on weight mostly on your SS. The simplicity of the system apparently is making you ride it more often which is the key. The part about mashing the pedals worries me a bit. If you are climbing any kind of hills, the mashing part could be tearing you down some along with trimming you down. You only get one set of menisci (is that the plural of meniscus ?) in your knees, and when you tear tendons and ligaments in your knees, all the wonderful health benenfits of riding your SS daily will be a memory. What I'm leading to is my opinion that when you are really overweight and out of shape in general and specifically on the bike, the idea is to progressively transition into fitness by giving your muscles enough of a load to cause a training effect but easy enough to keep all of your aging, overworked parts intact. This is why I would say keep up the good work on you fixie, but don't overmash. Now that you've lost the first #30, you are now looking at the next 40#. Meeting this goal could be doable, but you need to stay safe and injury free, and you might plateau a little bit making the time frame longer than the end of the year. I would say, if you do plateau, don't worry about it, especially if you are still challenging yourself and not missing too many days. For me I think you need to take a serious look at your Fuji 10 speed and think of ways to incorporate it into your riding. My thinking is you need a multi-geared bike in order to put in longer hours in the saddle over varied terrain. The fixie might be giving you the muscle memory and spin that you need to develop, the multi-gear bike needs regular use to show you the potential for higher speed, and giving you an application for that newly developed spin of yours. You might want to provide some info on the Fuji to allow us to understand why you stray away from it.
    I was really overweight 2 years ago, I've lost ~35# over that time but it feels like more, you see when I first started back to riding, I feared the more challenging hills, I needed breaks every 7 or 8 miles and struggled to bend over to grab the hoods on my road bike, let alone the DROPS .
    But as you lose weight, tighten up your belly, get stronger in your hips, quads, hamstrings,etc.. your body is changing, other people sometimes notice it before you do. All of this changing effects your position on the bike, e.g. its easier to ride on the hoods for long periods without sitting up, you can start to ride the drops for shorts periods, you can usually raise your saddle a little, maybe install a slightly longer or lower stem, that kind of thing. As for your gearing, as you improve your spin and ability to power up slight transitions or into head winds and such, you might find you can ride one cog bigger with the same energy output, or you might find that you don't need to drop into the "Hail Mary" bailout gear when your cycling friends blindly lead you to (your local version of) "Devil's Backbone". I do use a triple crank on my 1980's road bike but, I can say with some sense of pride, that I have tightened up the sprockets on the rear (7 speed) cassette to where I can climb all the steep hills in my area with a 30front, 23 rear. The tighter gears help you maintain speed within a certain cadence - now that you're more fit, you might look at your ratios like that.
    Anyway, sorry for blathering on, just hope you are able to approach your goals, continually improving yet staying injury free. One thing I've learned from being close to #270, you can injure yourself and wind up back on the couch quite easily, this is why your basic formula for riding your fixie all the time and getting results is so effective. Don't stop, stay healthy, and expand your repertoire (a little at a time ).

  13. #13
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    Congrats - doing great!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by big boy phil
    No switching of gears to deal with, just mash away at the pedals and go.
    Why I have no comment of SS/fixies in general, I just wanted to point out that constant mashing in gears that are too high is murder on your knees. I know two people who liked to ride fixies in San Francisco (how crazy is that?) and both now have knee issues. Probably not as much of a concern on flat ground. I just wanted to throw that out there.
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  15. #15
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    Again, thank you for the kind words, and concerns. I was/am a little worried about my knees, but I luckily so far, I have been good. No persisting aches or pains in the knees, or even my legs for that matter. I still try to avoid huge hills, but am not afraid to attack a nice gradual climb that I can still get a spin on.
    As for my fuji set up, well that bike is gone...hehe. I traded the whole bike, for a kick ass 1987 schwinn circuit with columbus tubing (frame fork and headset). Totally in my shops favor, but I didn't care. Its Nice and light, and now that its fixed, it is getting 100% of my riding time. I love that bike now. I have some drops on there now, that I almost always ride in the drops on, and the whole package is just really comfortable for me.
    I do have 2 geared mtn bikes though. One is strictly for the mtn. The other, I am planning on either turning into a bit of a hybrid with 700c wheels or turning into a ss for the mtn. I just love the simplicity of one gear.
    Again, thank you for the concern. I hope to stay healthy, and continue to stay in the saddle for as long as possible. I am glad to hear that I can be an inspiration to someone, that makes me feel good. If I can offer any tips or suggestions, its to stay motivated and keep your eye on the goal. There are plenty of things to knock you off track, but its up to you to stick with it. How bad do you want to achieve that goal is up to you. Just don't kill yourself doing it.
    I will update again soon. Turkey day is coming up, but that also means a lot of time off to go riding. Plus an alleycat race I plan on entering. ;-)

  16. #16
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    BBP: Awesome! I'm 319 and ride fixed gear exclusively. I attacked some HUGE hills yesterday, and what I did was zig-zag back and forth. Worked great. I ride 73 gear inches (48/17 on 26x2.1 tires) and I didn't have a problem at all. It was hard though! Make sure you're riding clipless (I don't remember if you mentioned that) so you can pull up too. That will really help, I know it did for me.

    Take care,

  17. #17
    Mild-mannered Commuter
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    I thought the standard wisdom was weights (pushing/FG/SS) to reduce fat while maintaining muscle mass, aerobic (spinning) to reduce overall weight including muscle mass.

  18. #18
    I like turtles mascher's Avatar
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    Not a trainer here, but I'm sure what bike you pick doesn't matter, just the kind and amount of riding. Pushing a big gear/mashing will be different than a small gear/spinning, and you can do this on either bike, it's just easier to switch between the two on a geared bike.

    If you're looking for double duty for the fixed/ss bike to improve your form, there's lots of arguments that it doesn't (I can dig out my Greg Lemond bible if anyone wants) - when I ride my geared mountain bike on my trainer, I can feel very distinctly the dead spots in my pedaling after 2 years of riding fixed bikes nearly exclusively - maybe switching it up is good to help you identify different things. Do what you're comfortable with on the bike that makes you happiest - sounds like you been doing that. Keep it up!

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