I finally did something with a $40 frameset I had purchased on a whim. I went ahead and spend $140 on a set of fixed wheels, a cog, and a lockring. The rest of the parts I had in the parts bin already. Here she is... yeah I know the ugly, broken STI shifters for brake levers and cross tires but they were there.
So I rode it to work and back which includes a very steep downhill and a 2 mile hill climb home. I put 46/19 on the bike to try balancing out the downhill with the climb. I had to ride the brakes the whole downhill just to keep from spinning out and the climb up was SLOW!
Anyone else traverse hills on their fixie? What gears do you run?
I haven't pointed the nose of my fixie up really high yet, but I'm running 170mm cranks with 42x16 gearing. So far on the small hills around me it's great, but we'll see tomorrow when I try a quarter mile 5%'er, and, if the weather's good this weekend, the two mile 6%'er that's 15 miles out. (Doubt that'll happen, though, with snow coming in again).
riding fixie in SF is awesome, but of course has its limitations. can't make it up to Twin Peaks, or to... lots of places.
SF is where i learned to ride fixed no brakes - very analogous to learning how to drive stick in SF. if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere! nowadays i've got a front brake on though...
in regards to measuring the percent grade of a hill, you can use a GPS device to determine the elevation change and the distance. percentage slope is calcluated by elevation change/distance. multiply the result by 100 and add a % sign.
There's also a little gadget sold by (IIRC) velimpex marketing, inc. that measures incline. It's called, as one might imagine, an inclinometer. My not be accurate to the tee, but it's only about $25 or so.
i didn't really think 42-15 is a big gear. that's what Mr. Sheldon Brown himself set me up with when i first converted. since then i've changed the chainring to 44 to 48, and then back to 42 when i moved to SF.
also, i almost always take the "flat" way to wherever i'm going. every so often power up a bigger hill, but usually just for a block at a time.
i've actually been wanting to go back up to 44-15. finally picked myself up a stack bolt wrench to battle the rusted on stack bolts. wow, they must've been rusted on for over 2 years now (at least they never loosen up!). hopefully the little divots on the back are still usable after numerous attempts to get them off using a flathead screwdriver (thereby stripping it away, along with pieces of finger).
my gearing always lets me get where i need to go. or wait... is it that i only ride to places that my gearing allows me to ride?
I run the Pista's stock 48-16 and ride up Mt. Tamalpais (just north of S.F.) about once a week. I did, however, have to put a front brake on to help slow some of the crazy descents. I'm going to switch to 48-17 so that my skid stops don't shred the tire in the same place everytime.
p.s. I'm doing a 585 mile charity ride on the fixie... check out the post called "Fix This"