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  1. #1
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    My first Fixed Gear Century. ...at 50 yrs old!

    I'm proud to say that I completed my first FIXED gear century ride yesterday on my Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni. I Used 48/18. I've done a century on a road bike and last year I did it on my Cyclocross (Spec Crux Evo).

    My route was from home in Stoney Creek, Ontario.ca to Niagara Falls, and back.... in 35*C weather. (95*F)

    Although I used the CycleMater app on my iPhone the battery crapped out at about 132km... So I'm not sure of my total time. I think about 5.5hrs. (I could Math it out, but I'm lazy)

    My average (up until battery loss) was 27.74 km/h (17.25mph). Top speed downhill was 54 km/h. My first century ride averaged 30 km/h (18.5mph) a dozen years ago.


    After buying the Bianchi track bike I wanted to see if it was possible for me on a fixed gear bike. Leg cramps started at 100 kms. Cramps were brutal on a fixed gear because I couldn't get out of the clipless pedals fast enough, and couldn't stand and coast. Ouch!
    No 'cup holders' on the bike, so I carried two in my jersey.

    Also used fixation Pursuit bullhorns, which are not the most comfy for LD rides.
    Brooks Cambium was a dream saddle. Highly recommend it. I have two of them.

    Considering I just turned 50 a few months ago, I'm pretty chuffed with my accomplishment.

    I've seen guys on here ask if it is possible on a FG bike. I say nut up and start peddling. If I can, you can.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Successful alcoholic krusty's Avatar
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    Well done, Karl! I'm a couple of years older than you, but love training on one of my track bikes. You live in a fantastic area for putting on the miles. Keep at it.

  3. #3
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    Congratulations. That's a great achievement.

    I bought my first fixed gear last night (same age range as you) and hope to start commuting soon. Maybe next year I'll do a century.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pitbullfan's Avatar
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    Holy smokes Karl! Great work man.

    I'm hoping to do a 200k this fall on my FG. The longest ride I've done fixed so far has been 50 miles (not sure what that is in KM)

    Thanks for the inspiration....if you can do it I can do it too. Especially since im like 15 years your junior

  5. #5
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    First, congrats!

    I just bought and rode my first fixie at 44 years old this week.

    Can you imagine a century course where it would behoove a fixed gear rider to get off and install a different cog at some point along the ride? Would that still be in the spirit of riding a fixed gear for a century, would that be considered haven ridden a geared bike, and/or would the stopping to swap be against the spirit or rules of a century?

  6. #6
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    Congrats on your FG century!

  7. #7
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Good work @KarlRoberts ! I'll die a happy man if I never have to put in a fixed gear century .
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  8. #8
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mambo Dave View Post
    First, congrats!

    I just bought and rode my first fixie at 44 years old this week.

    Can you imagine a century course where it would behoove a fixed gear rider to get off and install a different cog at some point along the ride? Would that still be in the spirit of riding a fixed gear for a century, would that be considered haven ridden a geared bike, and/or would the stopping to swap be against the spirit or rules of a century?
    The Tour de France was raced fix gear its first several decades. It was common for the peloton to all stop and turn their wheels at the foot of climbs.

    I've ridden two Cycle Oregons on my fix gear bringing and using cogs between 12 teeth and 23. Flip flop hub. The big hill days I carried a cog wrench and used it. That's 500 miles and 30,000 feet of vertical each year. Didn't coast once. Those stops to change gear aren't free. You lose time, inertia and have to restart and get back in the swing of things. Yiou will often not change gears and live with that you've got, just so you don't have to stop. (I've rolled over hills in a 42-12 late in hard days so I didn't have to stop.) You still ride the whole distance. And I promise you, you will roll into camp at the end of the day feeling like you did far more than the guys with gears.

    You are allowed to say it's cheating IF: you have ridden that course fixed without extra cogs. Those who want to say it is cheating and haven't ridden said course fixed must do so, with or without extra cogs first.

    I've ridden centuries fixed on one cog and starting at age 59, with many. Having choices is easier, far easier on my old knees, but still hard, sometimes very hard. There's a reason races went to gears.

    Today I rode 70 mils fixed. Left the house on a 17. Stopped 6 miles out and flipped the wheel to the 16 and rode it the rest of the ride.

    Oh, and to the OP - congratulations! Wind makes it MUCH harder! (I'm feeling today's wind as I write.)

    Ben

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
    The Tour de France was raced fix gear its first several decades. It was common for the peloton to all stop and turn their wheels at the foot of climbs.

    I've ridden two Cycle Oregons on my fix gear bringing and using cogs between 12 teeth and 23. Flip flop hub. The big hill days I carried a cog wrench and used it. That's 500 miles and 30,000 feet of vertical each year. Didn't coast once. Those stops to change gear aren't free. You lose time, inertia and have to restart and get back in the swing of things. Yiou will often not change gears and live with that you've got, just so you don't have to stop. (I've rolled over hills in a 42-12 late in hard days so I didn't have to stop.) You still ride the whole distance. And I promise you, you will roll into camp at the end of the day feeling like you did far more than the guys with gears.

    You are allowed to say it's cheating IF: you have ridden that course fixed without extra cogs. Those who want to say it is cheating and haven't ridden said course fixed must do so, with or without extra cogs first.

    I've ridden centuries fixed on one cog and starting at age 59, with many. Having choices is easier, far easier on my old knees, but still hard, sometimes very hard. There's a reason races went to gears.

    Today I rode 70 mils fixed. Left the house on a 17. Stopped 6 miles out and flipped the wheel to the 16 and rode it the rest of the ride.

    Oh, and to the OP - congratulations! Wind makes it MUCH harder! (I'm feeling today's wind as I write.)

    Ben

    Thank you for taking the time to write that, Ben. That's the kind of knowledge and experience that doesn't come easily, and I appreciate it.

  10. #10
    Clark W. Griswold
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    Awesome, this is a great story. I might have to build up to a FG century

    For comfortable bullhorn bars, my ZIPP Vuka Alumina bars are quite comfortable though if you want a little more hand position you might try the 3T Vola Basebar or the MASH Bullhorns. The flatter top part might be nice for aerodynamics but really it is better for hand comfort and all 3 of those bars have that. Plus the ZIPP and 3T are basebars so you can add extensions and get even more hand positions. If you want more comfort carbon bars are going to help dampen road vibration. I would also recommend the Lizard Skins 3.2mm DSP tape, it is nice and thick and comfy or if cork tape is your forté double up on it.

    The brooks is a great choice. I love mine and probably will get another one or maybe two.
    Quote Originally Posted by jhess74 View Post
    just flip it over to fixed and forget about brakes. check out the documentary "premium rush" for more info.

  11. #11
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
    ... For comfortable bullhorn bars, my ZIPP Vuka Alumina bars are quite comfortable though if you want a little more hand position you might try the 3T Vola Basebar or the MASH Bullhorns. The flatter top part might be nice for aerodynamics but really it is better for hand comfort and all 3 of those bars have that. Plus the ZIPP and 3T are basebars so you can add extensions and get even more hand positions. If you want more comfort carbon bars are going to help dampen road vibration. I would also recommend the Lizard Skins 3.2mm DSP tape, it is nice and thick and comfy or if cork tape is your forté double up on it....
    Trust me, you want drop handlebars if you are going to ride a century. The OP's century with the wind would have been sheer torture on those bars you list. There is almost no change in reach from the furthest out to the tops and no difference vertically. With drop handlebars there is a far bigger difference between the drops or fully extended over the hoods to sitting up n the tops. And, again, trust me, for long rides in wind, the bigger the difference the better.

    Today's ride was windy. Headwind out, tailwind back. Going out, I spent a lot of time in the drops or with my palms over the hoods, forearms on the bars. (On my bikes, those two positions are almost exactly equally aero.) Lots of undersides of leaves to be seen coming home. And I loved being able to sit up on the tops. (I spent almost no time in the classic drape over the hoods because it wasn't aero enough when I was in the open going out and when I did get sheltered by trees, went to the tops for all the relief I could get. Coming home, I spent almost the entire time on the tops or riding no-hands. I was whupped!) Doing that ride on bullhorns? Not a torture I would wish on anyone.

    Ben

  12. #12
    Senior Member LouCypher's Avatar
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    Great read to start my day off at work. Thanks

    Also you old fellaz rock.
    IG:DearDerekKing
    Team Breaking USA

  13. #13
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    Original Poster here,

    Thanks all for the positive comments. Also, to Ben for the history!

    I'd suggest to anybody that has completed a century on a geared bike to try your fixed. Biggest detriment I found was not being able to 'stretch' my legs. On a geared you can stand a bit and relax, which might hold off leg cramps. Pursuit bullhorns and rock-hard 23's also caused my numb hands to feel like blocks of wood. (I get ulnar nerve issues on longish rides)
    Fortunately, wind was not tooo strong.

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