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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 09-11-07, 08:13 AM   #1
disconnec
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Distances?

Mostly directed at those of you who have both road bikes and fg's:

What's your typical cut-off point for riding your fixed gear bike? Great for kickin around town.. but I've been doing some longish rides (30+ miles) lately, and I've really found myself wishing at times that I had gears.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-11-07, 08:19 AM   #2
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I love long rides fixed. I live in a hilly area, once you get used to going, you never want to stop, I find that the break that a freewheel gives me actually cuts down how long and how far I can ride. Pedaling constantly keeps me going. That said, there are certainly time where I wish I had gears for big hills, but you've got to pick your battles.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:27 AM   #3
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35 miles is the most I've rode fixed.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:29 AM   #4
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MIN from PDX has done centuries on his FG.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:41 AM   #5
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i just did the 100 mile tour this sunday fixed on a 49/17 but really did around 130 cuz I had to ride to central park and then back home. I felt great doing it and was a lot of fun
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Old 09-11-07, 08:44 AM   #6
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Sometimes it's nice to do a nice long ride on a fixed gear 40ish is my idea of a long ride on a fixed gear. But I've got 3 geared bikes and one fixed gear, so it's not like I ONLY ride fixed. I'll ride what I'm in the mood for, but more often than not I'll pick gears when I want a long fast ride.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:46 AM   #7
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See http://www.kaisercycling.com/recente...restparis.html

I mean, not that most of us could do that, but I figure if he can then I ought to be able to handle the odd 30-40 mile ride without feeling like I should drop cash on a geared bike.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:51 AM   #8
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if it's flat 100 or so is a reasonable cut off point.
30-40 with rollers.
anything over a 100m or so and I'll stick with gears.

It really has more to do with the ride then actual distance until you get above acentury.. What is the terrain like? why are you riding it? Who are you with.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:51 AM   #9
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dirtyphotons, babychris, and i did MS150 fixed last year. there was also a lot of people from philly doing it fixed or ss.

i was riding 46x15, but that part of new jersey is basically flat.

i do recommend a brake for longer group rides.

i have also done 35 miles out the C&O towpath (gravel trail, flat) and took river rd (paved, but very hilly) back in fixed with the same ratio. (700x23s suck on gravel, but it was fun)

and done several trips out other hilly paved bike paths in the dc area fixed.

i don't really have a cut off of fixed vs geared, its more what i feel like riding that day.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:19 AM   #10
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i'm with dutret (this time)...it's more terrain and company than distance.

i routinely do 40-60 miles w/~2k ft of climbing on a 48/17 fixed, usually alone. just did 80mi dead flat the 1st day of last weekend's eastern NC MS150, and would have happily done the century the 2nd day if Gabrielle hadn't crashed the party. but if i know that i'll see sustained climbs/descents (NC mountains), or that i'm riding with slower company (10mph uphill grinds suck, but i don't want to be antisocial), i take gears.

$0.02
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Old 09-11-07, 09:23 AM   #11
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i do recommend a brake for longer group rides.
brake for all group rides or you're a piece of ****.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:25 AM   #12
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yes, but there is a difference between a group ride and riding with 5 of your friends.

i like to ride a brake, but sometimes end up riding without one.

i agree with you though.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:06 AM   #13
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Wow a thread about something other than how a bike looks! This is my favorite topic so I will chime in...

I have the Livestrong ride coming up in a couple weeks here in Portland. I'm proud to report that I will be riding it fixed gear with the countless doctors and lawyer-types that will be riding it on their $6000 road bikes, not to mention Lance and some people from Team Discovery. The thing is, on the fixed gear, it's not any more work unless you get into the extremes of riding. By extremes, I mean (1) extreme grades, (2) extended climbs, (3) speeds above 25 mph for any stretch. (High cadence.)

Other things that conspire against you:

-wind
-riding solo (but most of riding is solo.)
-riding a bike that doesn't fit you
-riding a bike that is improperly setup. (too much saddle-to-bar drop or low tire PSI, for instance)

My fastest century is 4 hour and 30 minutes. That was pretty flat and with 4 other fast riders in a paceline. My slowest century was solo, climbing the lower west slope of Mt Hood over 6:50 ride time. As you can see, not all centuries are created equal. I seriously doubt that I could have finished the Mt Hood century on a fixed gear and my fixed gear centuries are more like 5:45 or 6 hours when it is flat. The point here is that the riding environment matters. A lot.

Next summer, I planned to ride the Seattle to Portland one-day double century (206 miles) on a fixed (or maybe SS.) I rode it this year on a geared bike and I think it will be more rewarding to do it with one gear.

Tips for riding longer distances:
(1) Anything above 2-3 hours of pedalling (not loafing around, but pedalling) requires food like ClifBars or a carbohydrate drink like Hammer HEED. Otherwise, you will experience the 'bonk.' You body only stores about 1500 calories of glycogen* in the liver and muscle tissue in the well rested state. If you expend this source of energy without food supplementation, that is what is technically known as bonking. Basically, it means your body turns to fat metabolism as a source of enery in the absence of glycogen, resulting in greatly lowered output and slower recovery.
* (glycogen is the body's primary fuel source, aka carbs)
(2) Get into a gearing which allows for about 90 rpm at crusing speed. Any slower and you are using too much torque. Same for spinning too fast - both lead to early fatigue.
(3) Ride with others. It's safer and it makes you faster.
(4) Regarding the above, ride in a paceline. If you draft 6" behind someone, you save at least 30% energy due to aero stripsteaming.
(5) Drink at least 20 oz of water per hour. I'd advise you to run two bottle cages.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:14 AM   #14
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The cut off point for me is like 15-18 miles from home. More than that and it might suck getting back if I am really tired.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:47 AM   #15
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Normal ride is about 25-30 miles. Long is 60+. My Garmin says my tough 60 miler is 4000 ft. total ascent, but I don't know if I buy that. I am going up to Leelanau this weekend to do either 60 or 100 miles. It is very hilly in some parts of northern Michigan. There is a pro road race up there this weekend.

I am a piece of ****. The last three years I have done a 4 day ride of about 70- 100 miles a day. It is the DALMAC ride in Michigan. I have ridden it with 7-8 friends every year. They are all geared and I am brakeless fixed. I have never had a problem and they are very comfortable with me in the pace line. We average about 18 mph so we are not flying or anything. They know my limitations on fast downs, stop signs at the bottom of hills and quick stops. Sometimes they will be ahead on a fast down and scout an intersection or traffic signal for me.

If I was riding with a faster group at a 20+ mph pace, I would put a brake on, or I would just use a geared bike.

Does anyone know of any long distance, fixed gear only rides or races?
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Old 09-11-07, 11:14 AM   #16
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I've done double metric centuries on my fixed-gear but I tend to enjoy long rides a lot more when I'm on my road bike.

I know a guy that did PBP on a fixed-gear (for those that don't know, it's a 1200km ride that you have 84 hours to complete).
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Old 09-11-07, 01:16 PM   #17
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Does anyone know of any long distance, fixed gear only rides or races?
riding with a few friends is not a group ride.
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Old 09-11-07, 02:00 PM   #18
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For me, it's the terrain and not the distance which generally dictates which bike to take, whether it's my FG, SS, or geared. My longest single day rides have been 200 miles and I've done them on my FG, SS, and geared bike.
Also, large group hammer rides almost always require me to take my geared bike so I can barely hang on...

Last edited by roadfix; 09-11-07 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 09-11-07, 02:09 PM   #19
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My longest fixed ride is 65 miles, but usually I end up topping out around 30-35 miles. If I'm going on a long ride, I usually grab the geared bike.
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Old 09-11-07, 02:24 PM   #20
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My Garmin says my tough 60 miler is 4000 ft. total ascent, but I don't know if I buy that.
205 or 305? the 205 (GPS-only altitude calc) is known to be wildly inaccurate, whereas the 305 (self-tuning barometric altitude calc) is fairly accurate. my friends 305 is usually within 100ft or so of what my topo software calculates from USGS data.

FYI.
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Old 09-11-07, 02:31 PM   #21
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My longest fixed ride was 107 miles. Typically will do 40 - 50 mile group rides on the weekends.
Limits .................. depends where my head is that day.
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Old 09-11-07, 02:34 PM   #22
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205 or 305? the 205 (GPS-only altitude calc) is known to be wildly inaccurate, whereas the 305 (self-tuning barometric altitude calc) is fairly accurate. my friends 305 is usually within 100ft or so of what my topo software calculates from USGS data.

FYI.
While we on on this subject, MotionBased (the third party software) has a GPS data correction feature which ties your physical coordinates against known topographical elevations. So the point is, the data correction ensure accuracy...

I use a Garmin 305, BTW.
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Old 09-11-07, 03:32 PM   #23
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My 2 fixed gears are my only "road bikes" I am constantly trying to do longer distances.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:16 PM   #24
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I just use my fixed gear to get around town, get to class, and to fool around. I'm pretty much only on my roadie when I have to (training and racing season).
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Old 09-11-07, 04:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disconnec View Post
Mostly directed at those of you who have both road bikes and fg's:

What's your typical cut-off point for riding your fixed gear bike? Great for kickin around town.. but I've been doing some longish rides (30+ miles) lately, and I've really found myself wishing at times that I had gears.

Thoughts?
i dunno, i did a double century fixed okay. i ride it all day, every day. on the double century, i never wished for gears, but at times i wished for a freewheel because the people i rode with kept coasting, and i'd have to backpedal and waste energy on something other than going forward. that's fine in town, but when you've got 85 miles yet to go...
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