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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 06-14-07, 02:04 PM   #1
danhertlein@com
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Fixie questions from a new guy

Hey All,

OK, here's the poop. I'm new to riding my single speed/fixie Lemond Fillmore. I've ridden about 1100 miles single speed (including the AIDS/Lifecycle ride from SF to LA last week) and I've ridden fixie about 120 miles. My gearing for the single speed is 42x18 and 42x17 on the fixed side. I've also ridden Mt. Diablo (a local 3800' mountain in the Bay Area) on the single speed. I've found anything over a gradient of 12% has me just about falling over. Also, spinning faster than 21 mph on the flats or descents have me spinning out of control but that's getting better the more I spin. My rides are just about in the 30 mile range on the fixie. I've done several 100+ mile rides on the single speed.

My questions are;

Since I have brakes on the front and rear, I find myself using then a lot on descents. Normal?

Also, and this is an observation (daah), fixed gear riding is a lot harder than single speed. Butt issues, stretching, spinning all the time, jeesh! I have these momentarily lapses of consciousness and try to freewheel and whoa! I try to avoid that! Does that go away?

My intention is to ride as much as I can on the fixie to get in the pocket and feel comfortable.
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Old 06-14-07, 02:06 PM   #2
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Pic of my Lemond...
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Old 06-14-07, 02:20 PM   #3
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I don't ride with a brake so I can't answer your first question.

To answer your second question from my experience it all depends on how much you ride with a freewheel. When I started, if I rode my BMX at all that day I would try to coast. If it was all fixed gear for a few days, never tried. Now it doesn't matter, if I ride my BMX for 4 days straight and hop on my fixed gear I won't even think about coasting. Give yourself some more time to adjust and it will be easy as pie!
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Old 06-14-07, 02:26 PM   #4
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descending on a fixed is definitely the hardest part. brake pads are cheaper and easier to replace than knees or faces. if you have brakes, use 'em.

you'll eventually get used to always pedalling, but you still might forget at times. i've been riding a fixie for over 5 years now and i still have moments of forgetfullness... but i ride lots of freewheel bikes too... which i sometimes forget can coast.
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Old 06-14-07, 02:31 PM   #5
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One of the nice benefits for me about riding fixed during the week is that when I hop on the geared bike on the weekend I coast a lot less. Better to "glass crank" and keep the pedals turning than to stop the feet altogether. That way if there's an acceleration, you just apply the torque instantly.
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Old 06-14-07, 05:14 PM   #6
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it takes a few months, but you stop having those moments of forgetfulness. going back to a freewheel is always weirder for me than the other way around.
and brakes are your friend. theres nothing weird about using them on descents if you have them.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:30 PM   #7
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using your brakes on descents is fine. if you have them, might as well use them.

now the only time I forget to keep pedaling is if i've been riding a freewheel bike for any length of time, but I adjust back pretty fast. I dont really like coasting anyway, it feels funny now not to be pedalling.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danhertlein@com
Since I have brakes on the front and rear, I find myself using then a lot on descents. Normal?
Oh, absolutely. Having brakes on long distance rides is essential as you will encounter long descents. You'll soon find yourself doing century and double century rides fixed....and perhaps even ditch the freecog one day...
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Old 06-14-07, 08:03 PM   #9
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you have great set up for doing a lot of everything. using brakes is perfectly normal and smart (don't even start). i've been riding only a front brake since riding a fixed gear a few years ago but i think my next one will be totally dorky and have front and rear.
fixed is harder, but it makes you strong. for me i can gauge my fitness by how i feel on my fixed gear and i always feel like a handful of good rides on it is the quickest way to regain my fitness level.
i go in phases and pick between geared and fixed solely on my mood. sometimes i go for a month without riding my geared bike, other times i switch around every day.
use your fixed gear to better fully enjoy the cycling experience.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:03 PM   #10
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Yeah, I agree that's a great functional set-up for the road.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:22 PM   #11
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brake = yay

and yeah, you'll get used to not coasting. I've been riding fixed exclusively for a while, and the other day I went into my LBS to check out saddles. a girl working there let me ride her geared cross check to try her saddle, and I kept having to remind myself that I could coast.
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Old 06-15-07, 10:18 AM   #12
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yeah, for me the hardest thing isn't thinking I can coast on my fixed gear. It's coasting on my 12 speed. It's the weirdest feeling after riding fixed exclusively. But yeah, I got used to not coasting real quick. You will too.
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Old 06-15-07, 11:25 AM   #13
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+1 to what these guys have said: it's weirder to go back to coasting once you've gotten used to a fixie, than vice versa.
Nice bike. Glad to hear you're enjoying riding fixed so far... keep it up, and you'll find it makes you a stronger cyclist all around.
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Old 06-15-07, 11:30 AM   #14
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In his Fixed Gear for the Road page, Sheldon says something to the effect that the constant spinning keeps your leg muscles supple, which struck me as an oddly old-fashioned notion and just slightly ridiculous the first time I read it. But after a couple of thousand miles on the FG, I have to think that he's exactly right. You can still coast, in a sense that you're not applying pressure to the pedals, but your feet keep turning and it's what a modern exercise physiologist would call active recovery.
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Old 06-15-07, 11:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnyland
+1 to what these guys have said: it's weirder to go back to coasting once you've gotten used to a fixie, than vice versa.

If this is the case then you are developing bad habits on the fixed.

I switch back and forth a lot and the only time it feels off is when a bike that has been fixed becomes free or vice-versa.
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Old 06-15-07, 11:13 PM   #16
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I find that butt issues are lessened when I use a bigger gear. It seems that 42-15 is more comfortable than a 40-15. Maybe it's just me. Also, descending is easier with a bigger gear. But climbing is harder. 42-17 is pretty low.

My view is that one should choosed a fixed gear ratio that is just a tad higher than one's "favorite" gear on a road bike.
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Old 06-15-07, 11:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dutret
If this is the case then you are developing bad habits on the fixed.

I switch back and forth a lot and the only time it feels off is when a bike that has been fixed becomes free or vice-versa.
which bad habits are these
?

i must have them because i feel like something is missing when i go from fixed to free but not free to fixed

maybe thats because there is
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