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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 07-30-07, 01:58 PM   #1
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Fixed-Gear Century Ride

I'm riding a fixed-gear century this weekend along with my roadie friends.

Even though I've ridden a few road-bike centuries and one double century (the Seattle to Portland Classic two weeks ago in 10 hours and 30 minutes) I am nervous:

I did a 35 very hilly miles yesterday on the fixed and it left me sore. Fixed riding is definitely harder than road riding, all things being equal.

How many of you ride centuries on your fixed?
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Old 07-30-07, 02:19 PM   #2
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I did a flat century once (and no wind), wasn't any harder than my road bike. But obviously hills will be a lot tougher especially near the end. Good luck.
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Old 07-30-07, 02:29 PM   #3
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i did one a wile few feeks back it was flat, (toronto-london) but in was rainy and windy. i was tired by the end of it and chafed like a mother
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Old 07-30-07, 02:31 PM   #4
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The century route for this weekend calls for a 10 mile ascent with ... you guessed it... a 10 mile descent.
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Old 07-30-07, 02:32 PM   #5
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the main things i count on for a fixed century is a really comfortable saddle and an upright bar position. It can be depressing to watch other people coasting down hills while your legs are blur or spinning but it's worth trying to see if you can do it. (also a brake would probably help)
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Old 07-30-07, 04:28 PM   #6
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A front brake and a freewheel cog that is 1 tooth larger than your fixed cog should help. That way you can flip the rear wheel around at the top of the decent (don't forget a wrench).
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Old 07-30-07, 04:30 PM   #7
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Let us know how this turns out. There's one this fall I'm considering doing on the FG.
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Old 07-30-07, 04:39 PM   #8
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How many of you ride centuries on your fixed?
My last long distance fixed gear ride was the LA Grand Tour Highland double century in June. This was a hilly ride (10,000 ft) and the descents kicked my butt. The constant spinning and braking, even with both brakes, on the long descents absolutely drove me nuts. Next year, I'm doing this ride on a single speed, start to finish....why torture myself?....
Doing centuries with roadies shouldn't pose much of a difference from riding your geared bike as long as the route is relatively flat.

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Old 07-30-07, 04:58 PM   #9
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A front brake and a freewheel cog that is 1 tooth larger than your fixed cog should help. That way you can flip the rear wheel around at the top of the decent (don't forget a wrench).
What is the rationale for using a larger cog when going SS? I've heard this elsewhere as well and I am curious why.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:00 PM   #10
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My last long distance fixed gear ride was the LA Grand Tour Highland double century in June. This was a hilly ride (10,000 ft) and the descents kicked my butt. The constant spinning and braking, even with both brakes, on the long descents absolutely drove me nuts. Next year, I'm doing this ride on a single speed, start to finish....why torture myself?....
Doing centuries with roadies shouldn't pose much of a difference from riding your geared bike as long as the route is relatively flat.
You bring up a good point. Climbing is actually easier on a fixed than descending. Decents kick my ass, especially if they are long and I start to lose my form - consequently bouncing up and down on the saddle.

I do use a front brake BTW.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:09 PM   #11
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What is the rationale for using a larger cog when going SS? I've heard this elsewhere as well and I am curious why.
To give you an easier gear for those really bad hills or when you get tired. And you can coast on the downhills. Just pop one on the other side of the rear hub (as long as you have a flip/flop hub) and it'll be there just in case.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:38 PM   #12
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I personally would go with a 2 tooth difference on a flip flop. There's not much gear inch change with a single tooth difference, although noticable.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:42 PM   #13
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That's my plan: 42-15 fixed, 42-17 free.
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Old 07-30-07, 06:47 PM   #14
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Been there done that. Big descents really are the worst thing about fixed LD riding. This is where the geared roadies will drop you. If you pick the right gear and speed you will almost never get uncomfortable on the climbs and you'll have little or no trouble keeping up. I wouldnt use a freewheel just for a century because it'd be almost as much of a pain to flip your wheel 2 or more times as it'd be to spin down some big hills, and you dont get hardcore points from flipping your wheel.

If you can do a double geared you can totally do a fixed cent. Gittrdone!

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Old 07-30-07, 07:07 PM   #15
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I've done a couple at this point. Make sure your seat height is good before starting off, because your knees or hips are going to let you know that something ain't right halfway through it. I'll second what's posted above - if your back tends to get cramped up, make sure you have some method of raising your bars; definitely a helpful option to have.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:16 PM   #16
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Anyone done a century riding a track frame, or are you guys doing these on road conversions? I'd be curious to know how one would deal with track geometry over 100 miles...
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Old 07-30-07, 07:30 PM   #17
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Anyone done a century riding a track frame, or are you guys doing these on road conversions? I'd be curious to know how one would deal with track geometry over 100 miles...
I've ridden my Cinelli Olympic on a couple of long distance rides.....not fun after 3 hours in the saddle. My Steamroller and road conversion are very comfortable for all day rides.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:30 PM   #18
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Anyone done a century riding a track frame, or are you guys doing these on road conversions? I'd be curious to know how one would deal with track geometry over 100 miles...

I have a Pista - so it's your typical track geometry. Longest ride so far (on the Pista) has only been about 50 miles or so.

For the century, I plan on installing a carbon fork, which is currently en route. The carbon fork will laxen up the geometry a bit and increase the rake by 15mm. It will be a welcome change from the stock track fork, which is flexy for braking and bit too steep for LD.

With the addition of water bottle cages and a road saddle and my new Nitto RB-021 pursuit bars, the Pista is just as century-worthy as my road bike. The only issue is that fact that it is fixed.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:39 PM   #19
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More rake will actually decrease the trail, which should make the bike twitchier, not more stable. This is a common misconception.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:40 PM   #20
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I've done several-- and I love it... the only bad part, as has been mentioned above is the downhills... I did a century on Skyline Drive in Virginia--with over 10,000 ft of climbing, and did Ride the Rockies--450+ miles in the mountains-- on the fixie--with a 48x18. The worst part was the downhills, but I did get up to 37 mph (way too fast on a fixie). I put a second brake on for the Rockies ride, and it has stayed on my bike--I think I'll keep it

They (Centuries on fixies) are fun-- we are planning on getting a gropup to do the Reston Century in Virginia on the fixies in late August--

train safe-
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Old 07-30-07, 07:58 PM   #21
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More rake will actually decrease the trail, which should make the bike twitchier, not more stable. This is a common misconception.
I didn't mention anything about being twitchy or otherwise. The new fork will be longer (axel to crown) which will serve to slacken the head tube and seat tube angle. But that's off topic.

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I've done several-- and I love it... the only bad part, as has been mentioned above is the downhills... I did a century on Skyline Drive in Virginia--with over 10,000 ft of climbing, and did Ride the Rockies--450+ miles in the mountains-- on the fixie--with a 48x18. The worst part was the--
That sounds like a suffer-fest! 48x18T seems to be a good compromise gear. I am running that now.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:06 PM   #22
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did 200km per day, 3 consecutive days in escarpments on a fixed gear. no issues. if the downhill sections would be really long, i'd flip to freewheel.

44x16 fixed, 44x18 free. It's not hard once you get past the 100km mark...it's like you find a 2nd wind or something!
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Old 07-30-07, 08:13 PM   #23
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On a side note, make sure to hydrate. You are going to be doing a little more work than the others.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:16 PM   #24
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Damn maybe i need a freewheel to make my bike into a true ld machine. That would also create a use for my second brake lever. Ya know though I would be inclined to gear higher with the freewheel for hill bombing purposes.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:31 PM   #25
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After my last fixed double century torture-fest I finally decided to give a freecog a try. I ordered a White Industries 18 freewheel cog and so far I like having it on the flip side of my long distance ride.
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