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  1. #1
    Senior Member elemental's Avatar
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    Singlespeed Workout?

    Hey guys. I'm new here, but I searched these forums fairly constantly this winter and spring when I was comparing various road bikes. I finally bought an 06 Langster this spring (got a nice discount), and I've been attempting to use it to get in/stay in shape. I am a 19 year old college sophmore, and both at school and at home I basically live in the suburbs. I am not overweight, but wouldn't consider myself to be in great shape, at least not when I started. I ride at least three times a week, and I recently clocked myself at just over 11 miles on a short ride. When I feel like going longer, it probably gets up around 20. I know these aren't great distances, but they're an improvement, and I feel stronger every time I ride. My bike still has stock gearing, and I have not tried the fixie side yet.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    My goal is basically to get into shape and build strength (which a singlespeed seems to be great for, right?). So far I have made two amazing technological breakthroughs: 1) A water bottle cage is a good friend on humid 90+ degree days, and 2) Apparently in addition to looking ridiculous, cycling shorts have padding that's a lot cheaper (and probably more effective) than a new road seat (and can be worn under gym shorts to prevent one from broacasting his spandex to the whole world).

    I don't seem to run across too many other people riding singlespeed like one would a 20 speed, just over less distance. They seem to be used primarily for more functional things or as fashion accessories (especially at school).

  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    i think the best way to get in good shape with a bicycle is to ride all the damn time. i was never a serious cyclist, and then i started having a 2mile commute. rode all the time. then i lived somewhere where there was nothing to do but ride, so i rode all the time. then i had a 8mi commute, and friends on the other side of the city. now i'm fast and can ride all day - cause i do.

    other things you can do if you want to increase your cycling abilities are interval training (sprint one minute, relax for five. repeat) and hill repeats (climb a hill. repeat).

    good call on the cycling shorts. comfort on the bike is a big factor - makes you want to stay in the saddle more and more often.

    get more friends into biking - your enthusiasm will get all synergetic, and be more than the sum of its parts.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  3. #3
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    I ride fixed, over 50-100mile distances often. It's a workout. I wouldn't say more so than a geared bike, as a fixed gear and geared bike allow for different physical challenges...it's just different. I know a few roadies that race that train on Fixies or SS in the winter. One thing it will teach you, especially a fixed gear, if how to spin and a proper pedal stroke (along with keeping your hips steady on the saddle).

  4. #4
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Ride lots. Ride fast, ride slow, ride up hills, ride in traffic, ride to look at the flowers and trees and listen to the birds.

    Oh, and if you haven't already, make sure to get a minitool, spare tube, and pump. Nothing sours the fun of cycling like a 10 mile walk home.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  5. #5
    raodmaster shaman
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    its good that you want to ride to get in shape.

    while it CAN be done on a single speed, a multispeed bike can let you be more comfortable over long distances. multiple gears will open up more possibilities for training, like longer steeper hills, faster and more variable paces, intervals etc.

    if you just want to get some good cardio exercise in addition to getting around town, a single speed will be fine by itself, but a geared bike is the better trainer if you are looking to become a more serious cyclist.

    EDIT im not trying to discourage you by any means, just saying that if the bug really bites you, you will eventually want a geared road bike.

  6. #6
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    It's good that you are riding. Now just do it more. Multiple hours. Lots of miles. Don't stop, slow down if you need to rest, but keep going. This will help you build better endurance and get in better shape.

    Get another water bottle cage too. Drink before you are thirsty, eat before you are hungry. You need to stay hydrated and fueled, this will help a lot too.

    Keep it fun, don't make riding like work and you'll keep wanting to do it.
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member elemental's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I actually went to my LBS (actually not the closest one, because I'll drive farther for salespeople who know what they're doing and are friendly) and paid a visit to their resident fixie guy, and now I'm rolling on a 17T Surly fixed cog. It's great. We also got started on an 80s Peugeot project bike, which is my mom's and has been in the attic for more than a decade. This will be my dad's, and he's just about convinced it's time to start riding it to work (2 miles at most). Currently has a SS freewheel, will be fixie eventually. I will post pics.

  8. #8
    Rabbinic Authority
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    Quote Originally Posted by elemental
    Hey guys. I'm new here, but I searched these forums fairly constantly this winter and spring when I was comparing various road bikes. I finally bought an 06 Langster this spring (got a nice discount), and I've been attempting to use it to get in/stay in shape. I am a 19 year old college sophmore, and both at school and at home I basically live in the suburbs. I am not overweight, but wouldn't consider myself to be in great shape, at least not when I started. I ride at least three times a week, and I recently clocked myself at just over 11 miles on a short ride. When I feel like going longer, it probably gets up around 20. I know these aren't great distances, but they're an improvement, and I feel stronger every time I ride. My bike still has stock gearing, and I have not tried the fixie side yet.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    My goal is basically to get into shape and build strength (which a singlespeed seems to be great for, right?). So far I have made two amazing technological breakthroughs: 1) A water bottle cage is a good friend on humid 90+ degree days, and 2) Apparently in addition to looking ridiculous, cycling shorts have padding that's a lot cheaper (and probably more effective) than a new road seat (and can be worn under gym shorts to prevent one from broacasting his spandex to the whole world).

    I don't seem to run across too many other people riding singlespeed like one would a 20 speed, just over less distance. They seem to be used primarily for more functional things or as fashion accessories (especially at school).
    A singlespeed bike is a great ride for getting in shape, and here are some things that you can do to make your riding more efficient:

    1. Get some cycling magazines. A good ride isn't just the ride itself, but also the pre- and post-ride as well. A cycling magazine will give you keen insight into foods and fluids that will help your riding, stretches, pedaling technique, helpful riding gear (like those lycra shorts!), and different ride and workout styles.

    2. Get a cyclometer. A cyclometer (little computer mounted to the handlebar) can translate your riding into numbers, and give you a better idea of how far and how fast you are riding, and depending on the features of the cyclometer, how efficiently.

    3. Flip your back wheel back over to the freewheel side. The freewheel gives you a broader range of riding options. By isolating your pedaling frm the momentum of the back wheel, you can concentrate at pedaling at your own comfort level and your own pedaling speed while not having to worry about not pedaling too fast where you can't stop or slow down. Plus, you can do fun things like diving into high-speed corners while leaning low to the ground or coasting down a long descent in an aero tuck.

    There are some, but not many, singlespeed road riders. I do long, open-road rides on my '07 Langster, also with stock singlespeed gearing, usually 40 to 65 miles at around 17-18 mph. The beauty of a singlespeed road bike is that it forces you to ride the gear you're in, that there are no higher gears to rely on for speed or lower gears to bail out on while climbing. You have to rely on creative and adaptive pedaling and riding technique to get that one gear to climb, descend, sprint, and cruise. Sometimes it takes smooth, fluid riding, and sometimes it takes muscular fighting.

    Since you sound like you are just begining, I would reccomend longer, slower, steadier rides to build endurance while conditioning your body to the demands of being on a bike, then factoring in climbing to build strength. Over time, you'll build the strength and conditioning to up the pace and distance of your rides. From there, you can try a few training techniques found in the bicycle magazines or just ride and listen to the demands of your body.

    Good luck, and most important: enjoy the riding and be safe.
    "Trails are for cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes only. Hiking and Horse Back riding is strictly prohibited. Horses will be confiscated and shot."

    Visit my blog: The Complete Jewish Cyclist (http://www.thecompletejewishcyclist.blogspot.com/)

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