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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 03-21-08, 07:53 PM   #1
brett jerk
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Fixed in Africa?

anyone do this? I'm going out there for two years in november (not sure where, other than subsaharan Africa, and I realize that I can't ask for advice as a result). I'm bringing my bike over there... but it may end up being a singlespeed cross bike, but I'm looking for advice in how to invest my money etc

sup?
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Old 03-21-08, 07:57 PM   #2
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mmm

I remember sometime back there was a guy in the bush who was blogging his Fixed build up.

I'd scan the archives
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Old 03-21-08, 07:59 PM   #3
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yea I saw that article when it was made and that was pretty cool, but I'm looking for a little more advice/interaction etc.

another note: due to the nature of my work I'll probably be in a small village kinda thing and I'd love to be able to take off. should I be thinking mtb over a cross bike? I'd love to ride fixed but I feel like that could be potentially terrible
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Old 03-21-08, 08:14 PM   #4
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yea I saw that article when it was made and that was pretty cool, but I'm looking for a little more advice/interaction etc.

another note: due to the nature of my work I'll probably be in a small village kinda thing and I'd love to be able to take off. should I be thinking mtb over a cross bike? I'd love to ride fixed but I feel like that could be potentially terrible
I dont know much about the fixed MTB secene but i've seen a few Soma 29ers back in C-Bus.http://www.somafab.com/juice29.html. Seems like a solid frame/build up.

What kind of work will you be doing? Missions?
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Old 03-21-08, 08:18 PM   #5
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peace corps: I'll be a teacher.

I'm not really looking for a fixed mtb as I see them as largely impractical. I would def do a freewheel on it.
In my dream, I ride a fixed/free cyclocross rig so that I can throw some slicks on if I'm near roads and fly around fixed, or I can swap to some knobbies and the freewheel and go through rough/unpaved/dirt roads etc
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Old 03-21-08, 08:22 PM   #6
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Peace corps makes me wish I was done with school. Enjoy it for me.

yah....I can picture it now. Your that random white guy who flys through town every day. The locals will be talking up a storm.
I have a good friend from Cape Town and he talks up SA like you wouldn't believe. Take the trip if you get the chance.

Good luck with your options!
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Old 03-21-08, 09:21 PM   #7
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read this blog.
the earliest posts cover a lot of the issues encountered when designing a bike suitable for the africa bike project (everything from tires to brake selection is covered).
it's a really interesting read, and will likely offer you lots of insight into a project they had to tackle themselves.

the idea of a cyclocross bike seems like a great idea, incidentally. though i'd definitely keep things like touring racks and baskets/panniers in mind, as transporting stuff by bicycle will probably be really useful.

Good luck!
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Old 03-21-08, 10:48 PM   #8
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i hear an old glass coke bottle works well as a multi-tool in the bush.
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Old 03-22-08, 12:58 AM   #9
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Theres some chap on itunes (one of the channels I think, I don't use it... I heard it at the shop) he discusses his bike that he built to ride around the world and had some interesting tips for "african like" conditions.

Sounded like a hipster to me tho.
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Old 03-22-08, 01:24 AM   #10
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i hear an old glass coke bottle works well as a multi-tool in the bush.
you must be crazy!
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Old 03-22-08, 03:32 AM   #11
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what part of africa will you be in? my girl just finished peace corps in zambia. i rode a bit over there. peace corps provides you with a bicycle, a trek 3700 i think. the roads that are paved wouldnt be too kind to road bike, let alone the roads/paths that arent paved. as a teacher youll have to go to alot of remote villages. also, every kid in the villages will want to ride your bicycle =)

if youre in the city you could get away with it in some parts.

while it on my mind, check this cat out http://www.abikes.org.
good friend of mine.
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Old 03-22-08, 05:31 AM   #12
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what part of africa will you be in? my girl just finished peace corps in zambia. i rode a bit over there. peace corps provides you with a bicycle, a trek 3700 i think. the roads that are paved wouldnt be too kind to road bike, let alone the roads/paths that arent paved. as a teacher youll have to go to alot of remote villages. also, every kid in the villages will want to ride your bicycle =)

if youre in the city you could get away with it in some parts.

while it on my mind, check this cat out http://www.abikes.org.
good friend of mine.
I'm not medically cleared yet, so I don't know where I'd be specifically.
Also, I know that everyone's going to want to ride my bike, I've read "What is the what" by Eggers Seriously though, my frames are always too large to let people check em out (all my friends are so bummed they cant really screwe around on a fixed gear)

Thanks for all the links to everyone else

also, I don't think the above poster is crazy... a glass coke bottle seems like it'd be a pretty helpful tool in the bust, but I feel like its god himself who must be crazy!

I'd also definitely want to make sure I could throw some racks on/panniers etc, that's a great thing to keep in mind, thanks.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:20 AM   #13
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am i the only one who got the coke bottle/crazy joke?
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Old 03-22-08, 08:42 AM   #14
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am i the only one who got the coke bottle/crazy joke?
nope
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Old 03-22-08, 09:14 AM   #15
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I've spent a fair amount of time in various parts of sub-saharan africa. I'd be a little skeptical of the peace corps bikes, as you can't find parts for modern bikes in villages at all, and it is probably difficult enough in capitals. Most of the bikes that I've seen are Indian replicas of old rod-brake english cruisers, all 26x1 3/8" with balloon tires.

So in that sense, a simpler single-speed bike could make a lot of sense. Bring extras of everything, like cogs/freewheels, chains, chainrings, headset bearings, tires, tubes, hub bearings (cartridge hubs), spokes, a bottom bracket, chainring bolts, brake pads etc etc etc.

But a lot of it depends on where you will be. If you are in Ghana, just stick with the trek -- there were a fair amount of MTBs there. If you're in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania or DRC, bring your own bike, as you want something you like, and you won't be able to find replacements for the Trek anyway.
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Old 03-22-08, 01:12 PM   #16
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oh yeah, and all the kids will jack up your gears to no end....
+1 singlespeed.
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Old 03-22-08, 01:39 PM   #17
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So in that sense, a simpler single-speed bike could make a lot of sense. Bring extras of everything... etc etc etc.
+1. This is HUGE. Your LBS...will be yourself. Also it may be a good idea to do some networking with others so that if you are in dire need of something you don't have...it wont be more than a call or letter away.
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Old 03-22-08, 01:46 PM   #18
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am i the only one who got the coke bottle/crazy joke?
nope
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Old 03-22-08, 01:51 PM   #19
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I've spent a fair amount of time in various parts of sub-saharan africa. I'd be a little skeptical of the peace corps bikes, as you can't find parts for modern bikes in villages at all, and it is probably difficult enough in capitals. Most of the bikes that I've seen are Indian replicas of old rod-brake english cruisers, all 26x1 3/8" with balloon tires.

So in that sense, a simpler single-speed bike could make a lot of sense. Bring extras of everything, like cogs/freewheels, chains, chainrings, headset bearings, tires, tubes, hub bearings (cartridge hubs), spokes, a bottom bracket, chainring bolts, brake pads etc etc etc.

But a lot of it depends on where you will be. If you are in Ghana, just stick with the trek -- there were a fair amount of MTBs there. If you're in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania or DRC, bring your own bike, as you want something you like, and you won't be able to find replacements for the Trek anyway.
Basically, you're bringing serveral spare bikes with you.
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Old 03-22-08, 03:34 PM   #20
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i hear an old glass coke bottle works well as a multi-tool in the bush.
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Old 03-22-08, 03:45 PM   #21
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Depending on where you are in Africa, you will most likely encounter situations where a one-speed won't work very well. I lived in Ethiopia for 7 years and the mountains there are MOUNTAINS - they're huge and steep. I've also cycled in Mali and you'll encounter a lot of very sandy conditions which had me in my lowest gear even on the flats. I wouldn't go with a one-speed if it was me. As for spare parts - if you take a good, reliable bike with you, you shouldn't need all that many spare parts.

( I was in the Peace Corps in Honduras years ago and had a blast!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!)
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Old 03-22-08, 07:32 PM   #22
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I didn't understand the glass bottle joke, anyone want to explain it in idiot terms?
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Old 03-22-08, 07:46 PM   #23
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am i the only one who got the coke bottle/crazy joke?
no.
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Old 03-22-08, 07:47 PM   #24
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Its made of glass... I don't understand how it could be made more clear?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAA
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Old 03-22-08, 07:47 PM   #25
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I didn't understand the glass bottle joke, anyone want to explain it in idiot terms?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080801/
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