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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-23-09, 07:41 AM   #1
bdcheung
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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.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:52 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:20 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:43 AM   #4
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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.
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.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:53 AM   #5
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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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Old 04-23-09, 10:12 AM   #6
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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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Old 04-23-09, 10:41 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 06:31 AM   #8
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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
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Old 04-29-09, 06:39 AM   #9
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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
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?
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Old 04-29-09, 06:57 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 07:32 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 07:52 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 08:32 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 08:41 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 09:38 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:24 AM   #16
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:24 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:24 AM   #18
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 12:08 PM   #19
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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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Old 04-29-09, 12:25 PM   #20
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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.
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Old 04-29-09, 12:30 PM   #21
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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.
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