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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 06-13-04, 05:35 PM   #1
ultra-g
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How Steep Before You Can't Climb No More?

I was riding up the short hill along the Hudson River that is by the Little Red Lighthouse and the GW Bridge in Manhattan, I was trying to pedal my fixed gear all the way up and about 1/3rd of the way, I just couldn't pedal anymore and had to walk my bike, it was too steep. It's a really short hill, but it's steep, I don't know the grade though. I'm sure my gear ratio didn't help.

At what point do you guys/gals find it too hard to pedal up a hill (if ever)?
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Old 06-13-04, 08:17 PM   #2
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When you loose your balance point and tip over.

From you sig. line, that is a pretty big gear. Toss a 16 or a 17 on the back and you will be surprised how much easier that hill will be. Your knees will smile as well, if not now, in a few years. A little rpms will do ya good.

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Old 06-13-04, 08:32 PM   #3
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I think that if I went under 3 mph I'd probably fall over!
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Old 06-13-04, 09:17 PM   #4
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When I'm on my fixed I avoid hills.
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Old 06-13-04, 10:14 PM   #5
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With my new ratio, 40/16 (67.5) I have no problems tackling most hills, at least here in Minnesota. I like the ratio I am riding better for a couple of reasons, one being the the forementioned ability to climb hills, the other being how spunky the bike feels. From a dead stop I can reach a decent clip in a short period of time. The last reason is that skid stopping is easier.

In my mind, unless you know you are going to be riding for a extended period of time without having to stop, the lower ratio is probably a better idea. I myself have to stop every 2 blocks or so, so there is no reason to struggle with a high ratio, makes no sense.

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Old 06-14-04, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra-g
I was riding up the short hill along the Hudson River that is by the Little Red Lighthouse and the GW Bridge in Manhattan,

Hey, I know that hill... depending on how many people are playing tennis, etc. I always build up speed to make it up that section... what about the hill after you go through the tunnel... oi!...
how often do you ride uptown?

48x16 btw
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Old 06-14-04, 11:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goatmeal
In my mind, unless you know you are going to be riding for a extended period of time without having to stop, the lower ratio is probably a better idea. I myself have to stop every 2 blocks or so, so there is no reason to struggle with a high ratio, makes no sense.
same here. I was riding a 48:17, but moved to a more urban-friendly 42:16...same reasons
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Old 06-14-04, 11:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goatmeal
With my new ratio, 40/16 (67.5) ...
A 68" to 72" gear ratio has been the standard gear size used by competitive cyclists for preseason training for as long as I can remember. Nice gear to use for developing a smooth pedal stroke.
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Old 06-14-04, 09:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etchr
Hey, I know that hill... depending on how many people are playing tennis, etc. I always build up speed to make it up that section... what about the hill after you go through the tunnel... oi!...
how often do you ride uptown?

48x16 btw
I don't go there too much, just when I'm visiting a friend of mine in Inwood. That whole area of the Greenway up past the GW Bridge is tough to ride.


I like my gear ratio (48x15) because mostly I use my fixed gear for laps in Central Park, it gives me a good work out and doesn't kill me going up the "Great Hill" at the north tip of the park.
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Old 06-14-04, 11:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by don d.
A 68" to 72" gear ratio has been the standard gear size used by competitive cyclists for preseason training for as long as I can remember. Nice gear to use for developing a smooth pedal stroke.
I have to say, my cadence has improved quite a bit, it feels normal to me to be cruising along at a 100+ cadence anymore. I guess when I was younger, I felt I needed the highest gear possible, perhaps as a means of prooving my manhood, I think I am wiser now (and a heck of a lot faster). I even remember the last time I rode a geared bike with a computer, I was pushing hard at a 50/15 ratio going about 22 MPH. For no good reason, I down shifted to 50/17 (or 18), which increased my pedalling cadence quite a bit. To my surprise, also my speed increased 2 MPH up to 24. The only variable which changed was the ratio, so it really made me re-evaluate my cycling style. No longer did I need to proove myself as a Man by pushing some wacky 90+ gear inches. From that day forward, I would just justify my manhood by passing all of the silly children pushing such gear ratios.


Phil
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