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  1. #1
    Senior Member serpico317's Avatar
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    How far is too far to commute on a ss/fixed

    I am thinking of taking a new job that I think my be too far on a fixed gear.
    The distance is about 16 miles one way.I would like to know if any of you commute
    a similar distance on ss/fixed gear.
    Thanks,
    Pat

  2. #2
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    "Too far" is really up to you. 16 miles isn't that far, and the body adapts. If you carry a lot of weight on your bike and/or have a lot of hills on your commute you might show up to work a little too sweaty. Give it a try before you take the job. Next day off ride the route with what you'd need for work and see how it feels. It might seem far the first week, but you'd get used to it pretty quick.

  3. #3
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I'd say 60 miles each way.

  4. #4
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Totally doable. It just depends on how much time you want to spend riding. If it's hilly and not a lot of urban riding gears will be faster.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    I often ride 14 miles one way on my fixed gear. But I also have a geared bike for when it's windy. The most I've ridden fixed in one day was 40 miles. I really didn't feel that bad. The key to long rides on fixed gear is just get off the bike and stretch every 10 miles or so to compensate for not being able to do that on your bike.

  6. #6
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    That's a tough question, that's twice as long as my commute. I ride a SS year round. The I think the big considerations and questions to ask are:

    - Are you planning on riding every day? Are you required by choice or by your situation to ride every day? That's a lot of miles and if you are in doubt about it, perhaps an alternative plan for a geared bike might be smart, even if it's to use some of the days.

    - What do you know about the route? Hills and prevailing winds are a big consideration for a SS/fixed. One or both together can turn a normal ride into a death march. Momentum and cadence killers.

    - Are your knees in good shape? I'm not saying you'll hurt them, only that if you have any problems I think they usually don't improve pushing one gear for lots of miles.

    - Are you in good shape? No doubt it'll be tough on a daily basis at first. But you will get in better shape doing it.

    I guess I'm saying it's possible for sure, and you'll never know for until you try it. You may be like me and just love the simplicity and low maintenance of a SS/fixed bike. But there is no shame in using gears for a 32 mile daily commute, and you're likely to do it faster. You are wise to consider a geared alternative if that's possible. If it's a good job, take it you'll figure out a way to make the ride work.

    good luck

  7. #7
    MB4
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    I commute 36 miles round trip on a fixed gear year round. Depending on your level of fitness, it might be tough at first but after a few weeks its no big deal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    I used to ride 13 - 17 miles one way to work and 5.5 miles on the way home on my fixed gear. Its not bad at all.

  9. #9
    Senior Member serpico317's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input.I ride everyday with a shorter commute than I had before.(9 miles rolling)..
    This route will have steep climbs at both ends which is not too bad.Part of the the route is on a
    trail which is nice.More than anything I was wondering if I was nuts for thinking of that long of
    commute.
    Pat

  10. #10
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Nuts? Heck no. Sounds like fun to me! I almost took on a 10 mile commute last summer but the job fell through. The only bummer is the amount of time out of my day to do it.

  11. #11
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    I do 15.5 one way on a fixed trackbike.

  12. #12
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    I used to ride 13 - 17 miles one way to work and 5.5 miles on the way home on my fixed gear.
    Now, I'm no math whiz, so walk me through this.
    17 miles to work...
    5.5 miles home.
    Which leaves us. . . ? Um...does that mean you're a nomad or something?
    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk View Post
    Sure, that sort of behavior might be acceptable in California, where people are all concerned about color video and feelings.

  13. #13
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Now, I'm no math whiz, so walk me through this.
    17 miles to work...
    5.5 miles home.
    Which leaves us. . . ? Um...does that mean you're a nomad or something?
    I can imagine several explanations that would make that statement valid.

    1. On the way home, the rider could possibly catch a commuter train that isn't available on the way to work.

    2. The rider could ride a longer distance to work for extra exercise but want to get home as quickly as possible. The fact that the distance TO work is given as vaguely as "13-17 miles" while the distance FROM work is given as "5.5 miles" would suggest that this is the most likely explaination.

    3. However unlikely, one-way streets/roads could force a commute to be longer in one direction, possibly in combination with unsuitable alternative routes (bad neighbourhoods, bad road surfaces, heavy traffic, and so on...). Not only one-way streets, but also hills could mess things up. A longer distance one way could be favoured over a steep hill on the way to work, but the same hill could be very appealing going down it!

  14. #14
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    What are you, Mr. Spock?

  15. #15
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    What are you, Mr. Spock?


    I was actually thinking to myself as I typed "This is sooo Vulcan...", although I pictured Tuvok, since I'm in the middle of watching the complete ST Voyager series.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    13-17mi to work. The long, fun, easy going way to get some extra exersize and what not. 5.5mi home, the fast way.

  17. #17
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    12 miles round trip with a solid 1500'+ total elevation.

    After the first couple weeks I was spent, but definately doable once you get your body adapted-

  18. #18
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    I've done 16 miles each way on a fixie before. In my opinion, it was jsut as doable on a fixie as it would have been on any other bike. Personally, I decided that 16 miles each way was too long for me, regardless of bike type. I didn't like spending an hour riding through crappy, poorly-lit streets after dark every night. I much prefer my current 5-6 mile commute through the well-lit, interesting streets of San Francisco.

    But yeah, if doing 32 miles/day doesn't bother you, then it shouldn't bother you on a fixie, either.

  19. #19
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    I rode 35 kms each way on a singlespeed last summer. It took a while to get worked up to it (the ability to pop my bike on the bus helped a lot) but in the end it was no problem and i put in a solid month of 70km roundtrips. Your body can adapt to all kinds of stuff if you are careful not to hurt yourself.

  20. #20
    Videre non videri
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    To be honest, if your commute is fairly flat, riding a singlespeed to and from work isn't particularly different from riding a geared bike. Just pick a suitable gearing.

    Typical coaster brake "singlespeed" commuter bikes over here have a gearing of around 55-70 gear inches, with about 63-65 being most common. I see these bikes being mashed up steep hills almost every day. Granted, they don't commute 10-20 miles each way (more like 1-4 miles), but even a longer commute doesn't have to have more or longer hills.

  21. #21
    ...addicted... rocks in head's Avatar
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    I ride about 5 mi. now, and am planning a move that will make it 12. The mileage increases, but the route is much flatter (along river, rather than rolling hills inland) I'm still planning on doing it fixed. 70 gear inches is great for the flat path (mt. vernon MUP). I've gotten in trouble with gears there b/c I can (and do) go too fast for the curves in the path. I haven't actually ridden the entire route yet though, and I hope that it'll be nice.

    If you're traveling on straight roads though, and not MUP's, gears might be helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by dalmore
    I thought they had three seasons out there? Wildfire, mudslide and normal? No?

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    I only worry about gear shifting if there are hills.

  23. #23
    Drumming Bicyclist igloomaster's Avatar
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    i ride 16m each way on my SS and like it fine. some hills, variety, some mashing, some coasting. every time i ride it i'm reminded that i don't have to deal with a bad shift, stuck chain, derailler crap-out, whatever.

  24. #24
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    I commute 9 miles each way on an ss and find it to be no different than riding my geared bike for moderate terrain and winds.
    I have completed a sub 5-hour century on a fixed gear and even that was not too long. But my butt did get more sore than it would have on the geared bike, fwiw.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I've got a 12-15 mile (don't know for sure as I refuse to put a computer on my fixie) commute through the city on my fixie. I could go forever if there weren't either a) hills, or b) wind. My current commute is probably at my limit with the hills I have on my route. This gets less true as I progress in fitness during the season.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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