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  1. #1
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    How do you ride the Hills?

    Because I'm trying to train up for long distance riding using my only bike (which is a single speed), something occured to me about the efficiency of how I run up hills. Typically I use a fairly low gear of around 63 inches or so and spin up hills and coast back down. This usually does me just fine, but there are other methods that I never considered that useful.

    On rolling hills, is there as much benefit from getting a higher gearing and hammering down hills and rolling back up them? I guess this would just depend on how you ride, but I've never ridden this way. I just spin away and take breathers on the downhills to keep my heart rate and energy spent down.

    I'm just asking because I'm trying to carefully feel which gearing is right for me on single speed. I'm guessing at constant climbs, probably lower would be better, because the speed of the higher gear would only be of benefit when rolling down hill (which I have a flipflop for if I really wanted some speed after a long long climb, aka mountain).

    It really doesnt seem to matter as much in shorter rides, but in longer rides it definitely seems you want to conserve as much energy as possible. I never even have sore muscles after most training rides, but I'm sure sweating hard (cause I like to spin ).
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  2. #2
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I usually slow WAY down when I climb because of my weight.

    I usually manage to need to be in my granny gear for any roller... However, if I do use a moderate amount of power when descending one roller heading to the next rise, I can sometimes keep my speed up enough on the next rise to keep me from having to gear down so far... I also like to rest when I descend because it usually is right after a climb.

    So, I actually alternate how I descend on rolling hills, based on whether the next climb is immediately after the descent or not. Following this "rule" seems to help me have more energy during a ride.

    I don't know whether this method is effective for more normal sized riders, nor if the effect is purely psychological.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    What's the deal on selecting a single speed bicycle? What kind of bicycle is it? Does it have a coaster brake? What kind, and what size are the wheels?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    What's the deal on selecting a single speed bicycle? What kind of bicycle is it? Does it have a coaster brake? What kind, and what size are the wheels?
    I'm not selecting a single speed bicycle, I'm selecting my gearing for hills.

    I have a track bike with slack road geometry. In all purposes its a SS road bike, and its the only bike I have. I wanted to get into long distance cycling, so I'm training with this bike since its the only bike I have.

    No Coaster brake. 700x23c tires. Its just a roadbike thats SS, basically. Though there are some internal hubs that fit into a 120mm gap, so next year if I find the SS to be too much, I may just upgrade it to a 3 speed by building a new wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  5. #5
    Dagger Boy Extort's Avatar
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    You might want to send a PM to Fixer with your question. He just completed the Grand Tour Double Century on a SS. He has a rear wheel that flips over giving him two speeds. Yes it takes time, but it might be worth it!
    Women think they're so clever because they can fake an orgasm for the sake of a relationship, but men can fake a whole relationship for the sake of an orgasm.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extort
    You might want to send a PM to Fixer with your question. He just completed the Grand Tour Double Century on a SS. He has a rear wheel that flips over giving him two speeds. Yes it takes time, but it might be worth it!
    Oooh. I'm going to have to do that! Thanks for the info.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    The area where I live is nothing but rollers....50 to 200'. The main highways are shallow grade, secondary highways can have some pretty steep grades. Sometimes I hammer down, but usually I just keep it in the mid to high 20's going down and enjoy, then start up and try to keep a constant cadence, downshifting as required.

    If I can't do that I just eyeball a landmark and try to get to that mark in the current gear, then do it again for the next gear, etc.

    Once in a while I'll get out of the saddle just to get the HR up, but mostly I just use the gears and crank.

  8. #8
    Old enough to know better Spudmeister's Avatar
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    SS gearing for hills

    I've done some centuries & a 200k brevet on a single speed here in central KY, where the roads are mostly rolling to hilly. I've used 42x16 or 42x17 most of the time. It also helps if you're not too proud to walk. I try to pick a gear that I can turn comfortably on the flats & let the climbing take care of itself. Long crank arms can also help your climbing.

    Below is a pic of my new ride - IRO Mark V, 42x15 on 650B wheels.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Spud,
    That's a nice looking ride. I assume that's a rear facing dropout. So what would be the range of gearing one could get with a dual cog wheel while not changing the chain. I'm assuming about 3 teeth.

    And while I can appreciate the single-speed ride experience, I'll never understand why one would choose a single speed for "all day" riding. let alone, hills or a multiday ride.

  10. #10
    Old enough to know better Spudmeister's Avatar
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    Long ride or short, I don't have a desire for more than one gear. Really, I just don't want to fool with shifting.

    Fewer gears, more beers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    Spud,
    That's a nice looking ride. I assume that's a rear facing dropout. So what would be the range of gearing one could get with a dual cog wheel while not changing the chain. I'm assuming about 3 teeth.

    And while I can appreciate the single-speed ride experience, I'll never understand why one would choose a single speed for "all day" riding. let alone, hills or a multiday ride.

  11. #11
    nothing: lasts forever ink1373's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    And while I can appreciate the single-speed ride experience, I'll never understand why one would choose a single speed for "all day" riding. let alone, hills or a multiday ride.
    most of us who ride singlespeed or fixed can't imagine why one would choose anything else.

    i turned one of my bikes into a 1x7 recently and MAN do i feel lazy from it.

    to each their own, though. hurrah for everything and all that.

  12. #12
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    I had really never contemplated a single speed, and at my age and where I live a single speed would be a real crank for me. But when I was in college in the early 70's, the old ten speed really only saw about four speeds used and it was simple and easy.

    Leave the back derailleur in the middle, small chain ring on front. Take off, shift to big chain ring, shift down on back as needed. Back to the small chain ring when you stop.

  13. #13
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    And while I can appreciate the single-speed ride experience, I'll never understand why one would choose a single speed for "all day" riding. let alone, hills or a multiday ride.
    Perhaps it's analagous to why expeditions choose to climb the more challenging northern face of Mt. Everest vs. the southern face.
    .....or choosing to ride a hillier 200 mile route option vs. a flatland 200 miler....
    You end up at the same destination....just different ways of doing it...
    Last edited by roadfix; 07-17-06 at 10:56 AM.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  14. #14
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neist
    Typically I use a fairly low gear of around 63 inches or so and spin up hills and coast back down. This usually does me just fine, but there are other methods that I never considered that useful.

    On rolling hills, is there as much benefit from getting a higher gearing and hammering down hills and rolling back up them? I guess this would just depend on how you ride, but I've never ridden this way. I just spin away and take breathers on the downhills to keep my heart rate and energy spent down.

    I'm just asking because I'm trying to carefully feel which gearing is right for me on single speed. I'm guessing at constant climbs, probably lower would be better, because the speed of the higher gear would only be of benefit when rolling down hill (which I have a flipflop for if I really wanted some speed after a long long climb, aka mountain).
    Are we talking fixed gear or single speed? Singlespeeds allow you to coast and here's a great new product from White Industries with 2 cogs on a single freewheel so there's no need for a flip flop hub.

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1554
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  15. #15
    Senior Member SteakKnifeSally's Avatar
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    Why single speed (or fixed)

    I ride an 83 Schwinn Voyageur for long rides, but most of my riding is commuting. I usually commute winter or summer on a fix. Why? Better training. Climbs build strength. Descents build spin. Need another reason? Winter in MN. MUCH better control on marginal surfaces. Need another? It's fun!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Are we talking fixed gear or single speed? Singlespeeds allow you to coast and here's a great new product from White Industries with 2 cogs on a single freewheel so there's no need for a flip flop hub.

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1554
    I'm going to be riding SS. My knees arent the best so hills + fixed isnt the best option for me. I was actually looking at the 17/19 one. Right now I'm using a white industries 20t freewheel that I found on ebay for around 50 bucks.

    Somehow gears just dont appeal to me. If I dont have to change gears I can just keep grinding forward and it turns into a mental challenge. I dont have to think about anything, just keep spinning. I can see how some people may think thats boring, but I find it helps concentration.

    If I go for the White Ind Duo then I'd have to get a new chain though. Bah.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  17. #17
    CyclePath Saddleview's Avatar
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    Speaking of fixed gears...

    Riding coast to coast without coasting

    Sample
    Adam Driscoll is pedaling his bicycle across the United States, and gravity is not his friend.

    Not even when he's rolling down hills.

    And he's already rolled down some pretty steep ones the sort of slope where they post big eye-scalding yellow warning signs at the top, urging truck drivers to test their brakes before plummeting down the grade.

    The sort of slope that spreads smiles across most cross-country bicyclists' faces because they know, as they crest the summit, that for the coming downhill miles gravity will whisk them along at a brisk pace even as they rest their weary legs and wheezy lungs.

    Driscoll is not like most bicyclists.
    The tour is still in progress.
    "View from the Saddle" Adventure Cycling Guide coming 2007!

  18. #18
    hell's angels h/q e3st ny brunop's Avatar
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    fixed gear is black coffee, ss is coffee with cream, geared is cream and sugar. or something like that.
    ". . .a striped jersey under his jacket; bared calves (outside the bicycle track); cap pushed back; feet in a false position on the pedals; a barking horn, a disorderly appearance, an always-dry tongue, and a definite fondness for wine merchants. . ."

  19. #19
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium

    And while I can appreciate the single-speed ride experience, I'll never understand why one would choose a single speed for "all day" riding. let alone, hills or a multiday ride.
    +1

    And it's not like shifting is a terribly complex operation to perform....
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  20. #20
    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    if you've never tried it, you don't understand... I commute fixie three or four days a week (round trip- 46 mies). I have also done a couple of centuries with some killer hills on it. I have not had to walk it up a hill yet, but I expect that day is coming soon. I ride a 48x18-- roughly 72 inches.
    To ride the hills, you need to remember, momentum is your friend... push the bottom run in to the hill and keep the cadence up as long as you can, then stand up and push it. It has made my riding on my geared bike much better... and riding fixie is unlike anything else. Once you've tried it--you're hooked (OK-- maybe you have to try it three or four times before you're hooked).

    and I'm an 'old guy'-- I remember buying a 10 speed bike--new... (I've been riding fixed for about 2 1/2 years now)

    train safe-

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Are we talking fixed gear or single speed? Singlespeeds allow you to coast and here's a great new product from White Industries with 2 cogs on a single freewheel so there's no need for a flip flop hub.

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1554
    So it's OK to change gears if you have to get off the bike, take out some tools, and reset your chainline and chain tension?




    I've been very impressed with the fixed crew on our local brevets. Watching them climb has helped me on my geared machine... and I've gotten plenty of time to study as they often would glide by me going up. (going down, though, that was different...)

    I'll stick to SS around town... and keep my brevet bike geared.

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buelito
    if you've never tried it, you don't understand...

    harley davidson marketing enters cycling.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buelito
    if you've never tried it, you don't understand...
    Three months ago, about two hours into a 400k brevet my RD stopped shifting correctly (shifler cable getting stuck in the noodle, I came to find out days later). I tried to fix the problem on the road, and was not successful. So I gave up and did the last 200 miles of the ride on a single speed, probably about 42x17. It was one of the most fun rides I did this year. I am not sure if I can explain it well, but basically the ride had a very different feel, I felt the changes in the road and the (albeit moderate) climbs so much more. I did not think that it was any harder than riding on the same roads on the exact same bike with full shifting, but it was much more intense. It made me want to get a ss/fg bike, some day.

    And yes, before that day I thought that ss/fg riders were nuts.

  24. #24
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neist
    Because I'm trying to train up for long distance riding using my only bike (which is a single speed), something occured to me about the efficiency of how I run up hills. Typically I use a fairly low gear of around 63 inches or so and spin up hills and coast back down. This usually does me just fine, but there are other methods that I never considered that useful.

    On rolling hills, is there as much benefit from getting a higher gearing and hammering down hills and rolling back up them? I guess this would just depend on how you ride, but I've never ridden this way. I just spin away and take breathers on the downhills to keep my heart rate and energy spent down.

    I'm just asking because I'm trying to carefully feel which gearing is right for me on single speed. I'm guessing at constant climbs, probably lower would be better, because the speed of the higher gear would only be of benefit when rolling down hill (which I have a flipflop for if I really wanted some speed after a long long climb, aka mountain).

    It really doesnt seem to matter as much in shorter rides, but in longer rides it definitely seems you want to conserve as much energy as possible. I never even have sore muscles after most training rides, but I'm sure sweating hard (cause I like to spin ).
    When I do 100 to 120 mile rides on my s.s. road bikes I find that when you get tired a lower gear is better. It's better to coast down long hills if you are really tired. The low gear is better for all the uphills.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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