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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 04-04-10, 09:33 PM   #1
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From fixed gear to single speed; I'm in love!

Hey guys, just wanted to know if anyone else had a similar experience. Over the past few months (could be the winter months) I feel like I have lost a lot of interest in my fixed gear. It just didn't have that same spark as it did a year and a half ago. So I decided to flip the wheel and go for a single speed ride the other night.

At first it felt very weird to be able to coast, but after a few minutes I was hooked. I felt like I rediscovered my enjoyment for biking once again. Overall, I feel much more comfortable on the bike. Being able to stand and coast when I start to get a little sore is very nice, and also motivates me to ride harder/longer. It makes me want to ride again, and ride for greater distances - I'm sure this is partially because I can physically handle longer distances with a single speed, haha. Just curious if anyone else had a similar experience, considering most posts I read on here are from people that feel the opposite way that I do.
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Old 04-04-10, 09:51 PM   #2
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I hear that road bikes are the new fixed gears.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:02 PM   #3
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Old 04-04-10, 10:27 PM   #4
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I love it also. I have a flip flop hub ,but never tried fixed. I like to haul ass coasting down knarly hills at 40 mph. One wrong move and it's over. The last year I owned my old MTB, I kept it in one gear anyway, so I was kinda ready for a singlespeed. I do like the simplicity of it.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:54 PM   #5
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There are uses for both. If I'm trying to get somewhere fast or going a longer distances I'll single-speed it. If I'm just riding for fun I run it fixed. I don't buy into the whole fixed zen thing. Fixed is definitely fun and makes slow casual group rides a lot more interesting but I feel a lot more zen when I can coast, pump speed bumps smoothly, bunny hop potholes, and stand on the pedals to get some extra height for seeing over traffic. For that matter the brifters on my road bike pretty much disappear from conscious thought after a while and it becomes a very zen thing to constantly be putting just the right amount of power in. Especially in hilly areas where you can big ring the descents- closest thing I know to flying without wings.

My ss/fixed road bike gets a lot more daily use than my geared bike simply because it's a better match for commuting around a fairly flat urban area. Someone with just an allen key can't steal several hundred dollars worth of shifters in a few seconds. I also use that bike for alleycats because using a road bike in one of those just feels like cheating even if it's allowed.
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Old 04-04-10, 11:13 PM   #6
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I'd probably ride my Cannondale as a singlespeed more often if it had cable guides so I could add a rear brake without it looking silly.

As it stands, though, I'll probably sell it for something more interesting. I've been looking at vintage bikes A LOT lately and I've seen some cool stuff within the same dollar range I could get for my FG.
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Old 04-05-10, 07:27 AM   #7
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Having quite possibly blown up my knee for the 3rd time, I will probably be sticking with single speed.
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Old 04-05-10, 08:13 AM   #8
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I've preferred FG for most of my riding these past +25 years. Now, my folder is the only bike I ride that is not fixed (and has gears, oh my!) but I ride it only when with my wife and I know the pace will be pretty relaxed.
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Old 04-05-10, 08:27 AM   #9
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You gotta mix it up to keep it interesting...FG/SS/gears, road/offroad, etc. Just to kick it up a notch I think I'm gonna start commuting on a unicycle.
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Old 04-05-10, 08:31 AM   #10
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You gotta mix it up to keep it interesting...FG/SS/gears, road/offroad, etc. Just to kick it up a notch I think I'm gonna start commuting on a unicycle.
What is your gearing?
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Old 04-05-10, 08:46 AM   #11
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What is your gearing?
LOL. I've never even ridden a unicycle. I'm considering buying one though. I've seen unicyclists on local MTB trails and it peaks my interest.
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Old 04-05-10, 09:46 AM   #12
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I haven't tried the FG thing yet. My wife got me a Schwinn Cutter for Christmas, but she got me a 2009 model (ss only; the 2010 has a flip-flop). Going from geared to ss was a blast, too. When you're geared, there's a certain monotony associated with feeling like you always have to be putting out a certain amount of power. On my ss, there are times when I'm mashing, times when I'm spinning, and times when it's best to just coast and enjoy the scenery.

I almost picked up a seatpost-mounted beam rack a couple weeks ago on CL. It would have allowed me to quickly convert a bike to a commuter. If I ever get a rack like that I'll probably try a commute with the ss (17 miles each way with some hills).
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-05-10, 11:10 AM   #13
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LOL. I've never even ridden a unicycle. I'm considering buying one though. I've seen unicyclists on local MTB trails and it peaks my interest.
I have a good solid month of practice and I can still only ride about 15 ft. I think it's hard but once I get it I'll be STOKED!!
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Old 04-05-10, 12:56 PM   #14
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Having quite possibly blown up my knee for the 3rd time, I will probably be sticking with single speed.
What exactly happened, Brian?
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Old 04-05-10, 01:46 PM   #15
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What exactly happened, Brian?
Ouch.
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Old 04-05-10, 02:05 PM   #16
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CMP. Ouch indeed. There are people who very unambiguously claim that fixed gear cycling will cause CMP in many cyclists. I know this is a highly taboo topic in this subforum, but just like sex, one day will have to be tackled.
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Old 04-05-10, 02:12 PM   #17
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Anyway, I had a spell of CMP myself, and what helped me was glucosamine and cycling in low gear. I noticed that cycling in low gear is more beneficial than just not cycling at all.
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Old 04-05-10, 02:22 PM   #18
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I like to ride both, depending on my mood and type of ride.
But instead of flipping wheels, I have a separate dedicated SS road bike with both brakes installed. I like using the SS instead of the FG on long rides with long descents.
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Old 04-05-10, 02:23 PM   #19
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CMP. Ouch indeed. There are people who very unambiguously claim that fixed gear cycling will cause CMP in many cyclists. I know this is a highly taboo topic in this subforum, but just like sex, one day will have to be tackled.
Yeah, and riding geared will cause CMP in many cyclists, and other sports/activities will cause CMP in many people. OTOH, many people like myself ride/race fixed for decades and don't get CMP, while many who ride/race geared do. One of the races I do on the track involves a full-power standing start from zero rpm in a high gear (90+ gi), which absolutely places the highest possible loading on my knees. When I was racing masters in my late 30's, there a fellow competitor who developed CMP and had to completely abandon bike racing. And this guy was not a gear masher either. The thing that gets me about all these studies is that they draw sweeping conclusions from incomplete and uncorroborated data.

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Old 04-05-10, 02:27 PM   #20
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CMP. Ouch indeed. There are people who very unambiguously claim that fixed gear cycling will cause CMP in many cyclists. I know this is a highly taboo topic in this subforum, but just like sex, one day will have to be tackled.
How ironic. My original injury happened in the bathroom, stepping from a ladder to a wet counter top while removing wallpaper. My foot shot out in an unnatural direction. It's entirely possible that the current injury was partly the fault of my fiance'.
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Old 04-05-10, 02:32 PM   #21
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CMP. Ouch indeed. There are people who very unambiguously claim that fixed gear cycling will cause CMP in many cyclists. I know this is a highly taboo topic in this subforum, but just like sex, one day will have to be tackled.
I think it depends on the individual, really. I took up competitive cycling at the advice of an orthopedic surgeon I knew and trusted after injuring my knees during a downhill race (ski) in the late 70s. After a few years I was introduced to the beauty and simplicity of 'track bikes' and have been riding them ever since with no issues or problems. I still have scrawny bird legs, although at the time I began fixie riding I had hoped that I'd end up having legs like Eric Heiden, but they seem to work just fine and my knees have never given me an ounce of trouble.
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Old 04-05-10, 03:12 PM   #22
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Yeah, and riding geared will cause CMP in many cyclists, and other sports/activities will cause CMP in many people. OTOH, many people like myself ride/race fixed for decades and don't get CMP, while many who ride/race geared do. One of the races I do on the track involves a full-power standing start from zero rpm in a high gear (90+ gi), which absolutely places the highest possible loading on my knees. When I was racing masters in my late 30's, there a fellow competitor who developed CMP and had to completely abandon bike racing. And this guy was not a gear masher either.
What you are saying is, people are very different from each other. No scientific study that deals with people's physique can overlook this even in the slightest. For instance, there probably are some people with higher predisposition for CMP. Others, such as you, can develop into great athletes without any side effect from cycling in any gear used in track competitions. Is this at all different from "my grandma was smoking two packs of cigarettes since she was 16, and she's still going strong at 88"?
(Note: Neither of my grandmas were smokers)
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Old 04-05-10, 03:14 PM   #23
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How ironic. My original injury happened in the bathroom, stepping from a ladder to a wet counter top while removing wallpaper. My foot shot out in an unnatural direction.
Ouch, ouch, ouch! I really feel terrible reading/hearing this sort of stories.

Just try the glucosamine, and any physiotherapy you are prescribed (I do think that cycling, albeit in lower gear, is however therapeutic for CMP).
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Old 04-05-10, 03:18 PM   #24
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I think it depends on the individual, really. I took up competitive cycling at the advice of an orthopedic surgeon I knew and trusted after injuring my knees during a downhill race (ski) in the late 70s. After a few years I was introduced to the beauty and simplicity of 'track bikes' and have been riding them ever since with no issues or problems. I still have scrawny bird legs, although at the time I began fixie riding I had hoped that I'd end up having legs like Eric Heiden, but they seem to work just fine and my knees have never given me an ounce of trouble.
First of all, I'm glad you found the perfect "medicine" for your ailment. I, too, think that cycling can do wonders for one's knees. It's probably not universal, but it worked for me. My gearing is, however, below the average of what I see posted on BFFGSS.

As for your scrawny legs: pics or it didn't happen (c'mon, if Scrod can do it, you can, too.)

EDIT: Is there a "Post pics of your legs"-thread?
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Old 04-05-10, 03:47 PM   #25
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EDIT: Is there a "Post pics of your legs"-thread?
Making one right now.
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