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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 04-21-14, 09:57 PM   #1
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Fixed gear and the old fart

I am 60 been riding on and off my entire life, but very steady the last 10 years.
I ride sometime mountian bike, sometime single speed cruiser, sometime 5 speed cruiser, very seldom a road bike. Usually ride 5 times a week 15 to 30 miles at a time. It is a good workout on those single speed cruisers.

I have always been facinated by fixed gear, but was always told it would ruin an old mans knees.

But last fall I bought a cheap one rode it a few times and loved it. So far this spring I dont ride anything else, I cant believe how much fun it is. I am looking for another one, I like to have several bikes so if one gets a flat or fails, I can hop on another one till i get around to fix the first one.

anyway any of you old guys that have been thinking fixed, give it a try most likely you will be hooked very fast.
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Old 04-22-14, 03:14 AM   #2
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Great to read that there's another convert.

It sounds like many get hooked and reeled in once they give it a try, but got to say, not for this guy. A couple of younger guys I ride with have shown up on their fixie bikes and get dropped when they can't hold on. I'll stay with a selection of ratios to keep up with the guys.
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Old 04-22-14, 05:02 AM   #3
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Old 04-22-14, 05:23 AM   #4
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I enjoy riding fixed, too. I've not ridden it in a large group though, as I don't trust that my cadence power band is "wide" enough to handle a group's pace changes. In the 17-21 mph range, I'm fine. Outside of that range, I can't sustain it for too long without bogging down or pushing into a pretty high aerobic load. For small groups, and riding with friends, it's fine.

Did a quick, high energy 25 miles before dinner yesterday. Felt great.
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Old 04-22-14, 05:28 AM   #5
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I built a front and rear brake equipped single-speed/fixed gear bike last year that I really like. This is especially true now that I live and ride in an area with few hills. However, a single speed/fixed gear bike would not have been suitable when I lived and rode in the hills of the Bay Area.
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Old 04-22-14, 06:12 AM   #6
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I trashed my knees, pushing too hard, on a fg bike 15 years ago, I'm 60 now. Had I stayed out of the hills and road easy I would have probably been fine.
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Old 04-22-14, 07:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
I have always been facinated by fixed gear
The 50+ sub-forum is a good place to find fixed gear road riders.
"Back when" it was customary for serious club riders to train in the winter on fixed gear road bikes, many of us have kept at it for decades. Pic of FG conversion in service for >20 years.

This is the demographic for those who enjoy riding antique/obsolete kit which is often fixed gear.
Enjoy, it is fun & a great workout.
That being said, riding FG on the road is not for everyone.

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'74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

Last edited by Bandera; 04-22-14 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 04-22-14, 02:14 PM   #8
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At 61, this will be my second year of riding an FG bicycle. I try to ride daily, though in bad weather I admit to taking a wide-tired, geared, disc brake equipped bike. I've been very happy with the fixed gear feel, and believe it has helped my riding/bike handling skills enormously.

Since I ride alone, I don't worry about keeping up with the group. I think that I'm getting the same work out in a lesser time, therefore, less exposure to traffic hazards (in theory, anyway).

I'm also sold on the reduced maintenance on a fixed gear bike. I really don't ride THAT much, usually 10-20 miles almost daily, but have already sampled the "it just wore out" aspect of cycling.

Kinda fun, too, that if I feel like a few minutes on the bike, that urge can be calmed without going too far.... a short session of trackstanding in the driveway will give me a little work and a whole lot more bike awareness.

A minor reason I love my FG is the way it looks. There's no extraneous crap hanging off of it. Kind of a "form follows function" thing. Clean, simple, uncluttered. (not to mention less to wipe down post-ride!)

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Old 04-22-14, 04:21 PM   #9
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I'm 64 and ride fixed gear fairly often but not as often as my multi-geared bikes. And yes, I have brakes, front and rear. I find that I ride fixed most often on Sundays after a tough road ride on Saturday. Great for recovery!

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Old 04-23-14, 02:41 AM   #10
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Old 04-23-14, 07:31 PM   #11
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I had my Gunnar Street Dog built at my LBS in the fall of 2000. Been riding it almost exclusively ever since. I started at Age 43, and am now 57.
Problems with knees: None to speak of. Yep, I'm hooked. Like most working adults, I don't get as much time to ride as I would like. (Come On
retirement!) So, the fixed gear gives me a good workout, in a short amount of time. I enjoy nothing more than a ride on my fixie on a warm,
sultry summer evening.

Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
I have always been facinated by fixed gear, but was always told it would ruin an old mans knees.
This is a classic example of misinformation. Some people will have knee problems no matter what they ride. And some can run an
enormous gear, and never have a problem. It's simply a matter of finding what works. I run a 42x15, which gives me a ≈75 inch gear.
For me, this works for pretty much everything. Now, if I had to tackle Summit Ave in Brookline on a daily basis, I'd want something lower.
For those not from the Boston area, let's just say, it's steep.

I am perfectly open to the idea of getting a multi-geared bike again. In fact, I intend to acquire one at some point. (Steel only. Further discussion not required.)

So, welcome aboard.
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Old 04-23-14, 09:47 PM   #12
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I'm 68 and into my second year of riding fixed. I switch between the fixed and geared bikes. I often ride fixed with the Saturday group. I will get dropped some but keep up reasonably well. Lots of rollers but no real climbs. On a 50-60 mile ride elevation will vary from 1600 to 2200 feet. We can get in more if we work at it. Pace is around 18.5 to 19.5. On a couple of rides I averaged 19.3 but very little wind. I find the wind is harder than hills. 75" was a good gear with the group Saturday but it was too big for my solo ride this evening into a strong wind. Did a century on it last year and would like to do one this year as well. Lots of fun and not as hard as people think. I use brakes and save my knees from braking. Thus far no knee issues and I have an old torn ACL.
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