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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-13-05, 01:38 PM   #1
rykoala
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First time hitting the hills fixed

I bike to work so at lunch I headed toward the hills for a ride. I just switched to 42x15 fixed last week, from 42x16 single speed. I have never tackled these hills on anything but my geared bike. Its a 5 or 6 mile ride altogether, with about a mile of solid climbing, interspersed in about 2 miles. Before, when I did it on the geared bike, I would drop down into my granny gear and just spin up the hills. Now I had to power up them. I got up them MUCH faster than before, but I had to stop at the top, or for one, 2/3 of the way up, and then again at the top. It was fantastic. I didn't use my brakes on the downhill sections, instead I resisted so that I didn't go too fast. I loved it. Maybe if I do this 3 times a week my weight will start dropping like I need it to. I can't wait to do it again another day! I'm beat for now though!

To open up some discussion instead of just gloating that I actually *did it*, I'm curious: does anybody have any tips for climbing hills fixed?
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Old 06-13-05, 01:55 PM   #2
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i did a long ride with hills for the first time two days ago. i went with a roadie friend. he schooled me, but i made a pretty good showing. the closest thing to a 'trick' that i've learned so far is to really use your clips or cliplesses when climbing. there are these hidden muscles in the backs of your legs that can pick up the slack on the upstroke of the pedal. also, go really fast before you start the ascent so you have momentum.

i unclipped at the top of a really steep, long hill in the middle of the countryside, just for fun, to see what it was like.

that's sh|t's f\_/cking scary.
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Old 06-13-05, 01:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rykoala
To open up some discussion instead of just gloating that I actually *did it*, I'm curious: does anybody have any tips for climbing hills fixed?
I do em the same way I would a geared, attack attack attack. But I don't have the patience to do otherwise so it's good that it seems to be the best way. Longer climbs naturally require a more controlled, sustained attack but i's the same concept, if you have gears don't learn to rely on them for hills and if you don't have gears...whata ya gonna do? Walk?
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Old 06-13-05, 02:12 PM   #4
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Man, I have a 2 mile hill that is about a 7% grade on my way to work. It's a tough one but at the end of it, it feels so good. Towards the end of it it steepens to like a 10% grade for the last 200 yards I have to get out of the saddle sometimes. It's awesome and it gets your legs and butt super strong!(chix diggit)
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Old 06-13-05, 02:34 PM   #5
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If you have bullhorns you can use your arms to pull your way up the hill and stay in the saddle. Slide back on your saddle to use more hamstring/glute when your quads are dead.
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Old 06-13-05, 05:36 PM   #6
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I used to just stand as soon as there was a hill, and then just stomp my way up it, but this only works with smaller hills that are common around boston.
Just a week or two ago, I realized that it is better to stay seated, and power up that way, and maybe get out of the saddle and throw the bike back and forth near the crest of the hill. I only really ride small hills though, as they're aren't many hills around boston where I normally ride.
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Old 06-13-05, 05:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the comments. The way I was taking the hills was to stay seated as long as possible, and when my legs were about to give out, stand, and hammer up the hill as quickly as I could sustain. It seemed to work pretty good. I'll remember some of all your tricks too, and try them next time out.
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Old 06-13-05, 08:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots
i did a long ride with hills for the first time two days ago. i went with a roadie friend. he schooled me, but i made a pretty good showing. the closest thing to a 'trick' that i've learned so far is to really use your clips or cliplesses when climbing. there are these hidden muscles in the backs of your legs that can pick up the slack on the upstroke of the pedal. also, go really fast before you start the ascent so you have momentum.

i unclipped at the top of a really steep, long hill in the middle of the countryside, just for fun, to see what it was like.

that's sh|t's f\_/cking scary.
yeah. make sure to tug up on the pedals--you'll find some hidden strength, i swear.

also, i like what boots did. when ya need to, stick yr feet in the triangle and (sacrilige) coast on down. sometimes it's fun as s.h.i.t.....
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Old 06-13-05, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by queerpunk
also, i like what boots did. when ya need to, stick yr feet in the triangle and (sacrilige) coast on down. sometimes it's fun as s.h.i.t.....
I did that once because I thought that was what all the cool kids did. Dayum! That is scary. I've never felt so afraid on a bike. I guess it was a balance issue; I'm probably not used to having my feet so high up.
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Old 06-13-05, 09:13 PM   #10
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I'm still wary of going on hilly recreational weekend club rides on the fix. Paceline goes up to 28-30mph on flats which is spinning to fast for me with 75 gear inches (48x17) and there are some 3-4mi 6% grades which I don't think I could handle. My comfort spin zone is 90-115rpm, outside of that I don't do so well, at least if there is a group to keep up with. I'm gonna try and take the fix on the next flat course weekend club ride and stick with the 25mph crowd instead of the leaders and see how that goes.

Al
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Old 06-14-05, 05:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonFixed
I did that once because I thought that was what all the cool kids did. Dayum! That is scary. I've never felt so afraid on a bike. I guess it was a balance issue; I'm probably not used to having my feet so high up.
yeah it's kinda tenuous having the center of gravity up so high, yr body all scrunched up around the saddle. for added disturbance the toeclips thwap thwap thwap against the concrete.

didn't realize all the cool kids did it, but it's a nice way to catch some breath after pushing yrself. but it takes you thoroughly out of a workout--i've found that i gotta slow down pretty hard to let my feet find those pedals again
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Old 06-14-05, 06:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BostonFixed
I did that once because I thought that was what all the cool kids did. Dayum! That is scary. I've never felt so afraid on a bike. I guess it was a balance issue; I'm probably not used to having my feet so high up.
you need foot pegs on the forks
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Old 06-14-05, 07:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rykoala
Thanks for all the comments. The way I was taking the hills was to stay seated as long as possible, and when my legs were about to give out, stand, and hammer up the hill as quickly as I could sustain. It seemed to work pretty good. I'll remember some of all your tricks too, and try them next time out.
Thats exactally the way I do it too. I like to try to get that speed up while standing so that when I sit there is a momentary rest period. I live in the mountains so big hills are hard to avoid but anything too steep is out of the question for me. Sometimes I cannot even stand to push the pedal over. In that case you have to zig zag across the road, no fun. So I avoid the steeps.
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Old 06-14-05, 09:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rykoala
To open up some discussion instead of just gloating that I actually *did it*, I'm curious: does anybody have any tips for climbing hills fixed?
There isn't any big trick to it, really, except just riding a lot of hills so that you get stronger. Definitely follow hills with a recovery ride to get your heart rate back to normal. I ride 42x15 here in S.F., and the hills killed me for a while, but after a while you just get stronger. I think its mostly mental. Just try to concentrate on accelerating up the hill, that way you keep your momentum going. Doing it seated is nice, too.
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Old 06-15-05, 10:56 PM   #15
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you need foot pegs on the forks
that is, like, the most awesomest thing I've ever seen. like, hell yeah. BTW I'm from the valley.
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Old 06-16-05, 07:59 AM   #16
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Did a 35 miler last night with a buddy who is a mountain goat when it comes to the hills. I was able to keep up by cranking out some high rpm's as we started to climb then stand towards the top and finish off the hills. Luckily we had some tailwind towards the end so on the flats he was drafting me. Switched from a 44/16 to 46/16 so climbing is a little harder but worth it on the small rollers.
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Old 06-16-05, 01:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dokushoka
There isn't any big trick to it, really, except just riding a lot of hills so that you get stronger. Definitely follow hills with a recovery ride to get your heart rate back to normal. I ride 42x15 here in S.F., and the hills killed me for a while, but after a while you just get stronger. I think its mostly mental. Just try to concentrate on accelerating up the hill, that way you keep your momentum going. Doing it seated is nice, too.
For me it is mental. We have some hills here, not long (about 5 city blocks) but G$%DAMN steep! So steep its ALMOST impossible riding while being seated. Everyone I talk to has to use the granny gear to get up them. At my last job I would commute and they are smack dab in the middle (distance wise) of it. After a while they werent that big of a deal but Im a little anxious about riding them fixed going up. When I go up them geared, I dont look for the top. I keep my eyes 10 to 15 feet ahead of my front wheel and think pretty thoughts, like Margret Thatcher on a cold day, and before you know it youre sitting at the top.
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