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  1. #1
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    First fixed commute this morning

    Everyone seems to post these threads, don't really know why but I'll hop on the bandwagon.

    6 miles from Crystal City to Capitol Hill. Nothing really to write home about, except that I think my gearing is too high.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
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  2. #2
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    What's the terrain like as far as the hills go? How about stop signs and lights? Those are the two things that would cause me to pick a lower gear ratio. Whatcha running right now?

    I have lots of hills (a couple of 1 - 2 mile climbs at 6 - 10%) so I went with gearing in the low 60s for mine: 42/18 on both my fixed and free sides.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  3. #3
    Senior Member kris247's Avatar
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    I test rode a Raleigh Rush Hour at my LBS last night, and I was in love. I'm considering buying one for spring/summer commuting, but I'm a little afraid of the hills on my commute. Props to you for doing it.
    "Let our people travel light and free on their bicycles." -- Ed Abbey

  4. #4
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    What's the terrain like as far as the hills go? How about stop signs and lights? Those are the two things that would cause me to pick a lower gear ratio. Whatcha running right now?

    I have lots of hills (a couple of 1 - 2 mile climbs at 6 - 10%) so I went with gearing in the low 60s for mine: 42/18 on both my fixed and free sides.
    for this particular trip, no real hills at all. One incline going from sea level to the bridge, and another getting up to Capitol Hill.

    Lots of stops, but I'm adept at trackstanding and didn't find the stops to be a hassle.

    I think I was doing about 60-70 rpm on those inclines, and then in 90's the rest of the time.

    The bike has a 46/17 right now that I think I may change to something smaller, since on my geared bikes my natural cadence is in the 100-110rpm range.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
    ΛΧΑ ΔΞ179 - 15% off your first Hammer Nutrition order!

  5. #5
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I recently bought a no-name fixie from Nashbar, and I like it a lot. The price is great, too. It has some cheap parts, and I had to tighten the wheels and do some other adjustments as soon as it arrived, but I'm happy. The biggest ride I've taken on it has been 20 miles through moderately hilly terrain. I immediately changed the rear sprocket because it came with a gear of 82 inches. I prefer it to be about 66 to 72 inches. Not sure what I have now.

    I haven't commuted on the fixie yet, but I will do it eventually. My normal commuter bike has a rack and fenders, and I don't think I'll be putting those things on the fixie.
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  6. #6
    Get on your bikes & ride! xB_Nutt's Avatar
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    Cool. It was my first commute this AM on the Merckx conversion too. Rides like a dream. My commute is mostly flat so I am running 48/17. I prefer higher rather than lower as I can always mash harder on the inclines, but spinning out on the flats is no fun. Welcome to the club!
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  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
    for this particular trip, no real hills at all. One incline going from sea level to the bridge, and another getting up to Capitol Hill.

    Lots of stops, but I'm adept at trackstanding and didn't find the stops to be a hassle.

    I think I was doing about 60-70 rpm on those inclines, and then in 90's the rest of the time.

    The bike has a 46/17 right now that I think I may change to something smaller, since on my geared bikes my natural cadence is in the 100-110rpm range.
    Gearing is really personal, but you're probably in the ballpark. 46x17 is about 70 g.i. Maybe another tooth or two on the cog and you'll find your sweet spot.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    interesting, not entirely sold on fixed gear bikes yet, as a kid they were bullet proof, but as an older person commuting and dealing with traffic, poor road shoulders, and variable luggage day-to-day I need the additional choices, maybe you need to ride yours more and get used to it
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    interesting, not entirely sold on fixed gear bikes yet, as a kid they were bullet proof, but as an older person commuting and dealing with traffic, poor road shoulders, and variable luggage day-to-day I need the additional choices, maybe you need to ride yours more and get used to it
    I don't know anybody who rode a fixed gear bike as a kid, once they graduated from their tricycle/HotWheels. Are you confusing single speed bikes (that allow coasting and have brakes) with fixed gear no coasting bikes? Are there really parents so irresponsible that they would give their own children fixed gear bikes to ride in traffic or on the street?

  10. #10
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Oh sorry, you're right. I guess I was just addressing the lack of gear shifting and his comment about not liking the gear-set he has.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  11. #11
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I've been commuting on my single-speed about one day a week, and I'm surprised at how much faster it is. My average speed is about 1 mph faster on the SS, even though I'm forced to coast down many hills. I presume it's from the lighter weight and having to pedal harder on the uphills to maintain a decent cadence. I'm not ready to commute fixed in traffic, however.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Quel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I don't know anybody who rode a fixed gear bike as a kid, once they graduated from their tricycle/HotWheels. Are you confusing single speed bikes (that allow coasting and have brakes) with fixed gear no coasting bikes? Are there really parents so irresponsible that they would give their own children fixed gear bikes to ride in traffic or on the street?
    Couldn't tell you when or what brand, but I had a fixed as a young lad for awhile. I remember going down big hills and throwing my legs out to the side as my pedals went flying. I had brakes though....and a good helmet.

  13. #13
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I don't know anybody who rode a fixed gear bike as a kid, once they graduated from their tricycle/HotWheels. Are you confusing single speed bikes (that allow coasting and have brakes) with fixed gear no coasting bikes? Are there really parents so irresponsible that they would give their own children fixed gear bikes to ride in traffic or on the street?
    I bet kids could learn to safely ride a fixed gear bike. Kids are often quicker to pick things up than adults.

  14. #14
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    Riding fixed in traffic isn't that bad. I actually prefer it to my geared bike, as I have better control over traction plus more stopping power with my legs + brakes than brakes alone.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
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  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    I bet kids could learn to safely ride a fixed gear bike. Kids are often quicker to pick things up than adults.
    Ever observe children much? I am sure it is possible to teach some children to play with matches and firearms safely. All things are possible, not all things are smart.

  16. #16
    Elemental Child Elderberry's Avatar
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    Congrats on the fixed commute. Haven't ridden fixed at all in the last few months, but I did it exclusively for the better part of the year preceding, with gearing ranging from 53/16 (ridiculously high) to 42/17, which is perfect for winter with knobby tires. I'll probably flip the singlespeed back to the fixed side sometime soon and it'll be fun again. I've recently been enjoying the versatility of gears and the ability to coast.

  17. #17
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    I rode fixed exclusively during the winter because a) I wanted something easier to clean and maintain with all the salt and sand and slush on the roads, and b) it would give me something interesting to do (and add to my workout) during the winter when I knew I'd be riding less. This was my first experience riding fixed.

    My verdict: it's okay. I didn't experience zen. I found out that I do prefer geared bikes, and I'm glad to be back on my Volpe. I'll go back to the Redline when winter comes around again.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Ever observe children much? I am sure it is possible to teach some children to play with matches and firearms safely. All things are possible, not all things are smart.
    I don't think I'd put fixed gears anywhere near that level of danger. Especially not given a kids size and speed on a bike.

    I doubt many kids would be into dealing with a fixed gear and foot retention though. Kids jump on the bike to go 2 blocks to their friends house (that's what I did as a kid).

    I'm sure the first guy was referring to single speeds and confusing that that's different from a fixed gear. In case anyone is lost: Fixed gears don't have a freewheel. When the wheel turns the cranks turn.

    And, in case anyone's confused about this, bikes that brake when you back pedal do have a freewheel.

  19. #19
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I've been commuting on my track bikes seasonally for 2+ years now. 10 miles to work, 15 miles back to get more riding in. My commute has city traffic, hills, greenway, etc. I could (and have) use my geared bike but I prefer the track bikes - for simplicity, workout, fun, challange. Now that I am used to it I don't think twice about which bike I choose. Of course for longer weekend rides I take the geared bike, but any ride less than 1 hour, or at the beach (occasionally), I take the track bike.
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  20. #20
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've been building up an old Gitane as a single speed. My plan is to ride it one day a week to give me a harder workout. Yes, I know I could just pedal harder on my geared bikes, but given the possibility of being lazy, I usually take it.

    I commuted on it a couple of times using the 53T swaged crank it came with and a 20T cog (using the Forte conversion kit minus the chain tensioner). The gearing wasn't too bad, but I like upgrades, so I bought a new crank with a 46T replaceable ring, which I plan to use with an 18T cog.

    If all goes well, I might buy a flip-flop wheelset sometime this summer and ride it fixed.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My wife left her car at the repair garage so I could pick it up this morning. She didn't have time to pick it up. She took my car this morning. I rode my fixie to the garage this morning and picked up the car, put the bike in, and drove it to work. So I guess I could say I commuted partway by fixed gear, though it was only 1.4 miles. The bike has toe clips, and I wore my sandals, and they didn't quite fit, but again, it was only 1.4 miles.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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