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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 01-15-07, 06:07 PM   #1
aal
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Building up legs

I haven't been riding fixed long. I already have a fairly low gearing. There's a hill near where I live that I just cannot get up. So, should I just keep riding with the gear I have and hopefully build strength that way, or, would it be better to go to a lower gear? Most hills around here I can get up, but its slow and out of the saddle a lot. Also, for what it's worth, I'd characterize the hills as short but steep.
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Old 01-15-07, 06:12 PM   #2
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Just keep pedaling, you'll get it.
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Old 01-15-07, 06:39 PM   #3
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Well, I don't know what gear you have, nor the grade of the hill, but your options are to gear down or to develop strength and better pedaling technique. I can climb hills I never thought possible with my current gear..its a combination of developing strength and technique. For the time being, I would try a lower gear, so that you can climb your hills, then as strength and technique co-evolve, move to a higher gear if you wish.
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Old 01-15-07, 06:41 PM   #4
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You will get stronger, just keep on trucking. How low are you geared?
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Old 01-15-07, 08:40 PM   #5
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Old 01-15-07, 08:43 PM   #6
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68.21 (48 x 19).
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Old 01-15-07, 09:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by aal
68.21 (48 x 19).
That's fairly tall... I push a 48x16 on my commuter/around town bike and there are a few spots that it's tough. I guess it's better than spinning like a monkey on crack everywhere else.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:08 PM   #8
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that's low enough, but gearing down if that's hard for you anywhere is a good call. go up a couple inches at a time if you really want to work on riding higher gears. your legs will be better able to handle those gears if you start low and work up to them. it's like lifting weights, you don't start out trying to bench 400 (or maybe you do, i don't know much about weightlifting, but 400 sounds damn heavy).
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Old 01-15-07, 09:54 PM   #9
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two masochistic little words...hill repeats. Up, down, back up again...The beauty (or lack thereof depending on how you look at it) is that there's no rest when you do it fixed because you can't coast back down. Welcome to fixed gears!
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Old 01-15-07, 10:18 PM   #10
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the beauty of riding is using your whole body as part of the machine; not just pushing your legs down, but engaging your lateral muscles, pulling with your arms and "putting your back into it" as the kids say...
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Old 01-16-07, 04:59 AM   #11
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Hmm... familiar feeling. I'm overweight, riding 45x16 on a mostly flat commute, vary b/w fixed and free for longer rides. Hills can be HARD going up and scary going down.

I find longish moderate hills to be the best for building up - enough to make it hard work the first few times, but to see progress over a few weeks. Repeat several times, then rest, then another 2 sets, then stagger home and stretch before collapsing in a painful heap.

I' lucky to live in the world's best cycling city with everything from 50km flat rides, to 8km of constant 6% uphill, to 12% torture tar all within 10km of home!
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Old 01-16-07, 11:47 AM   #12
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Nos
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Old 01-16-07, 12:02 PM   #13
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First off you need to understand what type of building up you need to do.

-Is this a 200m hill where you stall and simply lack the strength to make it past the crux?
In this case you have a strength issue. You should work with very very short intervals and complete rest between and possibly start going to the gym. What others have suggested an use ride longish hills or short ones over and over with no rest is wrong. You should also think long and hard about clipless. there are lot's of super steep short hills I lack the strength to make it up with clips and straps that aren't a problem at all with clipless since my back leg can pull much harder.

-Is this a slightly longer hill where your legs are burning and you're gasping for air until eventually just can't take it anymore?
Then you have a LT problem. Do medium length intervals with shorter rest times as suggested above.

Quite frankly just riding more will solve either problem if you aren't in great shape now... If that is the case gearing down at least temporarily is a very good idea to prevent hurting yourself.
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Old 01-16-07, 12:13 PM   #14
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My mentality when it comes to crazy hills is ...

When you see it hill yell "FU*K YOU!!!!!" in your head.

That makes me ride fast and hard.
The run up is everything.
If you start to slow down, you can begin swearing (not outloud of course)
This helps keep me focused.

Your gearing is fine.
If you don't already have clips, try some.

YOU CAN DO IT!
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Old 01-16-07, 12:52 PM   #15
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*Go clipless
*Speed up on the flat before the hill and build as much momentum into the beginning of the incline as possible. It's one of the best parts about fixies-- you carry you inertia further.
*Play mental games: imagine your headube is attached to a reeeeeeaaaly long bungee cord attached to some landmark halfway up the hill (i.e. a mailbox, lampost,tree, etc.) and that it's pulling you slowly up to that point. Once you reach that point "reset" the bungee to the top of the hill.
If it's cold and rainy and I'm on my way home, I try to imagine a warm bed and food and wine and stuff on the the other side. Silly, I know, but what else do you have to thing about when grinding up a hill?
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Old 01-16-07, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
*Play mental games: imagine your headube is attached to a reeeeeeaaaly long bungee cord attached to some landmark halfway up the hill (i.e. a mailbox, lampost,tree, etc.) and that it's pulling you slowly up to that point. Once you reach that point "reset" the bungee to the top of the hill.
I've never tried this on a bike, but I played a similar headgame with myself when I ran cross country in high school and it did seem to have an effect...helped me keep my pace and distracted me from thinking about how exhausted I was.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:52 PM   #17
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Old 01-16-07, 04:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret
You should also think long and hard about clipless. there are lot's of super steep short hills I lack the strength to make it up with clips and straps that aren't a problem at all with clipless since my back leg can pull much harder.
i realised i forgot to add that point to my first post.

two visuals to add to the list:

- pretend like you are drawing circles with your ankles. it will help to improve your pedalstroke.

- imaging you are climbing a ladder. it will help you to coordinate your upper and lower body.

just don't spend too much time in la-la land that you forget to watch what's up ahead of you!!

oh, and the most important point of all: DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE. oxygen = energy. as a boxer i learned to exhale as you punch so that you don't tense up. same deal with cycling.

have fun
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Old 01-16-07, 10:43 PM   #19
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I did go to clipless after a short while, and it is a big improvement. Time Atac XS.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:53 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by zippered
oh, and the most important point of all: DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE. oxygen = energy. as a boxer i learned to exhale as you punch so that you don't tense up. same deal with cycling.
AGREED! whenever i've worked out with boxing that's a crucial point; always exhale when you throw. same goes for biking, same goes for any type of working out or exercising. if you don't breathe at a regular rate you'll be sorry later.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:53 PM   #21
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just get implants

http://www.calfimplants.com/
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Old 01-17-07, 09:39 AM   #22
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we should do a thread to show off everyone's legs
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Old 01-17-07, 10:22 AM   #23
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I'm going to be building up a pair of legs in the near future. Do you think Formula knees will be alright, or should I just spring for the Phils?
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Old 01-17-07, 10:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret
First off you need to understand what type of building up you need to do.

-Is this a 200m hill where you stall and simply lack the strength to make it past the crux?
In this case you have a strength issue. You should work with very very short intervals and complete rest between and possibly start going to the gym. What others have suggested an use ride longish hills or short ones over and over with no rest is wrong. You should also think long and hard about clipless. there are lot's of super steep short hills I lack the strength to make it up with clips and straps that aren't a problem at all with clipless since my back leg can pull much harder.

-Is this a slightly longer hill where your legs are burning and you're gasping for air until eventually just can't take it anymore?
Then you have a LT problem. Do medium length intervals with shorter rest times as suggested above.

Quite frankly just riding more will solve either problem if you aren't in great shape now... If that is the case gearing down at least temporarily is a very good idea to prevent hurting yourself.
Well put, I concur on that one.......
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Old 01-17-07, 10:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by I Like Peeing
we should do a thread to show off everyone's legs
After seeing that pics Im keeping long pants on
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