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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 03-13-07, 01:17 PM   #1
BacktoBasics
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Bike commuting in a hilly city on a SS...and running

Hey,

I am in the process of selling the ol' gas guzzler and going car-free, and am trying to decide if I should stick with my SS for commutes, or get a geared bike. My problem is, i'm a long distance runner, and live in a relatively hilly area (Raleigh, NC), and don't want the commute to take it out of my legs for running (commute would average about 4-8 miles usually on a daily basis). Anyone have a similar background that can assure me that I should just suck it up and stick with the SS?

Thanks,
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Old 03-13-07, 01:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BacktoBasics
I am in the process of selling the ol' gas guzzler and going car-free, and am trying to decide if I should stick with my SS for commutes, or get a geared bike. My problem is, i'm a long distance runner, and live in a relatively hilly area (Raleigh, NC), and don't want the commute to take it out of my legs for running (commute would average about 4-8 miles usually on a daily basis). Anyone have a similar background that can assure me that I should just suck it up and stick with the SS?
You can definitely stick with the SS, but I'd lower the gearing and not race to work.

I started riding to work a couple years ago. I ran all through HS and college, and had never taken more than a couple weeks off at a time until 2 falls ago, when my every day commute lengthened from 3 to 9 miles each way. I just stopped running, because I would ride super-hard to and from work every day, and I wouldn't have the motivation to go running in the afternoon. Once I lost daylight savings, running was totally gone.

I started running again this winter in preparation for a spring marathon, and I've had to give up the bike to work to do it. I definitely noticed that over a year of pushing a gearing in the mid-70's 4 days a week made my runner's legs and butt a lot thicker. I've also gained 15 pounds (!!!).

Since your ride is 4-8 through hills on a SS, I'd say just lower your gearing and take your time. If you have the drive to run after (or before) riding that every day, keep it up. If you feel like you can handle more, then do what you want.
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Old 03-13-07, 01:59 PM   #3
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with the right gearing you should be fine with a ss. if you're a runner you've probably got the leg strentgh you need.

gears are great too though. you'll definitely go faster with them, provided you know how to use them.

oh yeah, i was the dead weight on a state champion cross country team in high school, so i have a little familiarity with your situation. i'd say go with whichever you think will be the most fun to ride.
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Old 03-13-07, 02:54 PM   #4
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I'm running 47-17 in hilly Pittsburgh and it is great. I also am about 200 lbs. Anyway, that commute seems like it will be cake and if that effects your run, I suggest you bump up your workouts. That should be a nice warm up for your run.
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Old 03-13-07, 03:09 PM   #5
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I don't know man, I don't even commute, but if I ride to go do something a few times during the week and still try to play soccer 3 times a week, it really overtrains the muscles (for me), quads especially. The one thing that is really easy to do and you want to absolutely avoid is overtraining, as it will just slow down your progress. Something I found helps is focusing on using the hamstrings and butt while climbing, and save those quads for the sprint matches w/cars

Keep us posted on whether it works out for you or you have to get a geared commuter.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:30 PM   #6
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I'd go with gears. Faster, and you stay in the saddle.
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Old 03-13-07, 10:25 PM   #7
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I started with 44x16. Worked to 46x16. Now it's 48x15. San Diego is pretty hilly. You can build up, picking a gear doesn't mean your stuck for ever. A slow build is nice.
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Old 03-14-07, 03:36 AM   #8
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Try to keep us imformed on this one, will be interesting. I know nothing about training. I commute about 26 - 30 miles round trip each day fixedgear, I have also in the last month started running but only about twice a week and only for about 5 miles at a time. I do feel tired afterwards but just cycle home slowly that night. I thought running and cycling used diffrent leg muscles? Some overlap I know.

What is over training?
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Old 03-14-07, 05:11 AM   #9
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Go geared, slugging up hills in SS/FF mode is just not good for the kind of training you're doing.
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Old 03-14-07, 05:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TheBrick
I thought running and cycling used diffrent leg muscles? Some overlap I know.

What is over training?
They use the same basic muscles, but it VERY different ways. Distance running uses the hamstrings and calves more than anything else, while cycling (at least for me) stresses the quads and glutes most. It's not like you don't use any other muscles when you are running or cycling, but those are the ones that give you your main drive.

Overtraining is when you don't give your body enough time to recover between workouts and you just burn out. Consider a line graph: The X-axis is the amount you work out, and the Y axis is your performance at a weekly time-trial/race/whatever measure of fitness you prefer. As X increases, Y increases, up to a point where Y decreases back to the baseline. The point where Y decreases is where overtraining starts.
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Old 03-14-07, 06:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landgolier
Go geared, slugging up hills in SS/FF mode is just not good for the kind of training you're doing.
Dude, the commute is from 4-8 miles. He could ride a tricycle that far. That is so short of a ride, I don't think it would make any difference what he rides.

I will point out that I was riding a geared mountain bike over the winter and I find my fixed much faster and easier than that POS. Don't know why people make such a big deal about riding fixed? I don't find it much harder than my road bike at all. They are so light and if geared well easy to ride. Sorry to burst the bubbles here, but riding fixed isn't hard and I find it as easy as a geared bike in most situations.

Just ride the fixed and don't worry about anything. You don't have a 20 mile commute.

Make sure you keep you hams stretched though. Easy to pull a ham if you don't stretch and ride a bike.

Last edited by h_curtis; 03-14-07 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 03-14-07, 06:15 AM   #12
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I live in NYC, ride fixed 44-16 about the same distance you do.
I'm also a long distrance runner and have had no problem at all.
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Old 03-14-07, 09:22 AM   #13
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In Boston here with about 4 mile shortest way commute and a couple of hills, nothing crazy. I'm on 48-17, but sometimes think of going lower for the commute to spin it more(but would want at least that gear for any distance). I tend to make my commute something of a race/speed workout, going hard the whole way and dodging cars that expect me to be puttering along slowly. I just figure the short ride as extra strength training and tend to do more than scheduled for my running training anyways.

I will probably stop biking the week or so before the Boston marathon; as much as I like the extra workouts... I'll want to be fresh for those Newton hills. Mostly I feel the biking makes me a stronger runner and the lack of impact helps keep me fresh. You do feel it a bit when you switch over to running after getting home but it's a good feeling. Work just installed showers, pretty much just for me, so I might start running to work more now too.
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Old 03-14-07, 07:47 PM   #14
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4 to 8 miles is a breeze. Even waiting through traffic, I can make my 1 mile commute in 3 minutes (an average of 20mph). You'll probably want to take your time though...it shouldn't matter too much what you ride.
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