Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cambridge, MA
Bikes: Surly Steamroller, GT Pulse, Specialized S-Works E5
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Well, I doubt the typical rider would throw their multi-geared bike into its tallest gear just for the purposes of strength training, but technically rva is right. Multiple gears are also definitely better to make sure you stay in the correct heart rate zones (depending on what you're doing), like <75% max HR for aerobic base, etc., over the course of an entire ride, especially on hills.
That said, I've ridden my Steamroller on every team ride this fall, and I have no doubt I'm getting "more of a workout" than my teammates, although I am occasionally blowing past certain heart rate limits, which might not be the absolute greatest during the base building period. Luckily there aren't many hills here, and my gearing is about spot on with our group ride speeds. I'm also totally out of shape compared to most of them, so I think the extra work is a good thing (for now).
As for the strength aspect...riding fixed, I've built my muscles up relatively quickly without even thinking about it. They went from sort of amorphous blobs to decent definition in only a couple of months. To do the same on your average 20 speed road bike would require a good bit more attention with gearing, not coasting, etc. Plus, you can never resist the pedals and do extra work on one of those bikes like you can with fixed gear.
Last edited by psn; 11-03-05 at 09:45 PM.