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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 05-21-11, 09:16 PM   #251
eddubal
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40 years old here. Been riding road and mountain bikes only for about 3 years now. Got serious about my dietary habits last year and dropped 90lbs. Now I've got the single for fitness rides and commuting. Gonna give it a 25 miler tomorrow and see how it does on some rails to trails around here.
Here's to you! 90 lbs is impressive. I just finished with 30 that I needed to lose. Enjoy and welcome.
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Old 05-22-11, 05:26 AM   #252
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45 here, and hoping to get some fitness advice. Some history - started out long ago in the BMX crowd (obviously, single speed), and then moved into MTB single speed racing. Both times no physical problems. From there got into road riding and never could deal with all the gears, just not my style. So after a few years I converted my road bike into a three speed. I live in a very hilly area so the gearing was quite laxed being 42 x 21, 18, 16. I would use the 21 for climbing, the 18 for flat warmups, and the 16 for main flats. Then, wanting to get back into single speeding, I decided to finish the road convert and go all single speed. I figured I would go in the middle and use the 42x18 gear. This gear ables to get me up the climbs and spin rapidly on the flats. Thing is, I am now experiencing pain behind my left knee that was never there before. I know it's not a bike fit issue as the three speed never caused me any pain (same bike). Now what I don't know is if it is from climbing in the higher gear, or spinning in the lower gear... Anyone?
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Old 05-22-11, 05:43 AM   #253
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Thing is, I am now experiencing pain behind my left knee that was never there before. I know it's not a bike fit issue as the three speed never caused me any pain (same bike). Now what I don't know is if it is from climbing in the higher gear, or spinning in the lower gear... Anyone?
First off, spinning a low gear is not going to cause knee problems. In fact, it often helps aleviate them. As to pushing a higher gear, maybe, but it could just as easily be a technique or positioning issue, or it could be an unrelated physiological problem that manifests itself when putting a high load on the joint. When you say climbing, is it in the saddle or out of the saddle? Do you use foot retention, and if so what type, clips / straps or clipless? Have you ever had a pro bike fit? Anyways, there are a multitude of possibilities here.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:28 AM   #254
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First off, spinning a low gear is not going to cause knee problems. In fact, it often helps aleviate them. As to pushing a higher gear, maybe, but it could just as easily be a technique or positioning issue, or it could be an unrelated physiological problem that manifests itself when putting a high load on the joint. When you say climbing, is it in the saddle or out of the saddle? Do you use foot retention, and if so what type, clips / straps or clipless? Have you ever had a pro bike fit? Anyways, there are a multitude of possibilities here.
Thanks for the reply, TT. Using clipless, the same pedals/shoes for the past three years. This is the same bike that I was running the three speed on and never had any of the said pain then. It's funny because I feel the pain more when I am spinning at 110+ rpm. This is not a knee problem, I should have been more clear. I know that it is tendon related as it is in the back of my leg (behind the knee area) just above the knee crease and just below the hamstring - definately muscle and not joint. The bike was fit when I bought it new by my LBS. I didn't change my bike position when going to single speed, but that's not to say I'm not subconsciously changing body position to compensate for the higher gear climbing or faster spin cadence. Climbing is done both seated and standing, depending on the grade of the climb...
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Old 06-03-11, 02:51 PM   #255
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Well, since nobody has posted for awhile, I thought I'd put this up. Went to the store today on my Kilo WT FG mule to stock up before my hernia surgery next Friday. I turn 65 at the end of this month, which means I've now got Medicare insurance and can afford to get this done w/o breaking the bank. The surgeon tells me I've got to take it easy for about 6 weeks, so I won't be riding my bikes, but will ride my trainer to stay in shape. Maybe I can get rid of some of my embarassing gut.
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Old 06-03-11, 02:58 PM   #256
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Heading toward 46 here and just built a new SS / coaster equipped Peugeot... love the ride, handling, and speed of this bike.



The Perry hub is not great in the braking department but the engagement and smoothness has to be experienced.
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Old 06-03-11, 03:17 PM   #257
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The Perry hub is not great in the braking department but the engagement and smoothness has to be experienced.
That's a good thing, actually, so you can use it more effectively in wet / slippery conditions, which is the only time IMO that a rear brake should be used. The problem with caliper brakes is that they are too powerful in the rear, and it's so very easy to lock the wheel when you don't want to. Someday maybe manufacturers will figure out a way to reduce rear brake force, perhaps by reducing leverage by using a single pivot caliper or smaller brake pads with lower friction material. This is why I prefer riding fixed in slippery conditions, and when I lived in snowy Michigan, actually rode a brakeless FG conversion. Of course, I ran a very low 60-65 gi, cross tires, and never went over 20 mph.
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Old 06-03-11, 03:37 PM   #258
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That's a good thing, actually, so you can use it more effectively in wet / slippery conditions, which is the only time IMO that a rear brake should be used. The problem with caliper brakes is that they are too powerful in the rear, and it's so very easy to lock the wheel when you don't want to. Someday maybe manufacturers will figure out a way to reduce rear brake force, perhaps by reducing leverage by using a single pivot caliper or smaller brake pads with lower friction material. This is why I prefer riding fixed in slippery conditions, and when I lived in snowy Michigan, actually rode a brakeless FG conversion. Of course, I ran a very low 60-65 gi, cross tires, and never went over 20 mph.
I take it that you have never ridden a bike with a British made speed attenuator...

It has just enough braking power to modulate speed and with an oil lubricated roller clutch does not have the overheating problem you get with other coaster hubs... but by itself you cannot panic stop or skid the back wheel.

If I had not fitted the front brake on Monday I might have been killed on Tuesday when an SUV made an illegal right turn from the middle lane as it would not have stopped me from hitting the truck or getting run over.

It will make for a great wet weather or winter hub and with a front brake the set up is perfect.
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Old 06-03-11, 03:52 PM   #259
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Actually the original caliper brakes on my Schwinn Speedster with its smooth chromed steel rims were pretty much like that. In dry conditions braking was poor and in wet conditions it was non-existent. I rebuilt the wheels with SA drum brake hubs (3 speed IGH rear), so now I have consistently weak braking in wet and dry conditions. Needless to say, I ride this beast very cautiously. I've also tested a Trek with roller brakes, which are pretty bad as well.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:09 PM   #260
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wow 90lbs is no small feat wow congrats to you!
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Old 06-03-11, 06:42 PM   #261
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Ladies and Gentlemen; I'll be brief:

I just joined this forum yesterday,and when I saw this thread I thought I'd hit the metaphorical goldmine. You see; I just turned 40 last September,and I'm at a point in my life where I want to make the next 40 or so years healthier than the previous ones.After purchasing a Sting-Ray from Craigslist last Thursday, I thought that this would be a good place to start my leaf-turning.

To that end; I decided to do something I haven't done on a regular basis since I was 15 years old-ride a bicycle.

I also decided to (try to) stop doing something I've been doing regularly since I was 15-smoking.

I even bookmarked the Bicycle Glossary by Sheldon Brown to help me when I run across the inevitable questions.

So imagine my surprise when I read Sheldon's comments about the Sting-Ray....

I'll be the first to admit that there's some truth in what he said,and it's the truth that I agree with,but I also think that there's another side to the coin.

If this opinion is the general belief of the board; and if it means that I'll be mocked (openly or otherwise). I'm not sure I belong here....

The way I see it is this: Anything that gets me riding again-and consequently healthier-is a good thing.Plus; the financial benefits are not to be ignored.


I hope that there's more that agree with me than don't.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:08 PM   #262
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Jimmy - First, I commend you for attempting to drive the devil tobacco out of your body. There is nothing worse when growing old than being unable to enjoy life due to the myriad of illnesses caused by cigarette smoking. I've ridden bicycles for 60 or so years since I was a little child, and my parents had the forsight to put me on real bicycles from the get go so that I would enjoy the experience and ride them long and hard enough to get some exercise benefit out of them. I've never owned any trick / bmx or toy bikes like the StingRay, and probably just as well, since as Sheldon points out, I probably would has tired of them quickly and never gotten into the real rythm of bicycling. Neither I nor anyone else here will ridicule you for getting a basic bike and trying get some beneficial exercise from it, but it would be a shame if you gave it up just as quickly because the bike was not enjoyable to ride for any extended time or distance. As far as being appropriate to this forum, it is a single speed, so it definitely fits and you are age qualified to post here. Welcome - TT.
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Old 06-04-11, 11:26 PM   #263
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TT-thanks....I appreciate the kind words.

It's funny; the only bikes I've ever owned have been StingRays,and a BMX. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I'm very determined,and once I get my sights set on something, I tend to not let go of it. In other words, I'll never tire or give it up. If anything, I'd sooner alter it to meet my changing needs. I guess I'm still a kid in some ways.

An interesting thing I've come to realize: The great thing about being an adult is the fact that I (or anyone) can choose when to be a kid again.

If the bike becomes less enjoyable to ride for any extended time or distance, I can modify it to suit my needs.

It's often said that bad habits are never broken; they're replaced with good ones.


I'm going to replace a bad one with a good one; and my Sting-Ray is going to help me do so.


My initial goal is to make sure the bike is up to speed mechanically; and ride it regularly.

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Old 06-06-11, 09:41 AM   #264
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Jimmy, congrats on getting rid of the cigs. I dropped them one year ago tomorrow and haven't looked back. Don't worry about getting grief over the StingRay. I say ride what you're comfortable on!!
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Old 06-06-11, 10:06 AM   #265
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I took my longest fixed ride yet, yesterday, ~43 miles w/ 2700' of climbing, avg 15mph, according to my cellphone. Trying to figure out if I think I can ride this bike through a 70 mile charity ride in late July that has more climbing than I did yesterday (although it's rolling, so no real long climbs). I definitely felt it on my commute today. I am turning 44 in August.
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Old 06-06-11, 08:10 PM   #266
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I took my longest fixed ride yet, yesterday, ~43 miles w/ 2700' of climbing, avg 15mph, according to my cellphone. Trying to figure out if I think I can ride this bike through a 70 mile charity ride in late July that has more climbing than I did yesterday (although it's rolling, so no real long climbs). I definitely felt it on my commute today. I am turning 44 in August.
Biologist?

Sounds like a good ride.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:07 PM   #267
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Jimmy, congrats on getting rid of the cigs. I dropped them one year ago tomorrow and haven't looked back. Don't worry about getting grief over the StingRay. I say ride what you're comfortable on!!
Thanks,on both counts.

But; in all honesty, I'm trying to get rid of the cigs...it's going well in the sense that I've cut down significantly,but not completely quit yet. I'm in the process of going over the Sting-Ray and freshening everything up,then I can start riding it even more. I'm going to bring myself up slowly by declaring a small radius around my house to be bike-only for errands,and slowly increasing the size of the area.

As much as I want to jump right into it; I know I can't. I'm not a patient person.....
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Old 06-07-11, 01:12 PM   #268
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I took my longest fixed ride yet, yesterday, ~43 miles w/ 2700' of climbing, avg 15mph, according to my cellphone. Trying to figure out if I think I can ride this bike through a 70 mile charity ride in late July that has more climbing than I did yesterday (although it's rolling, so no real long climbs). I definitely felt it on my commute today. I am turning 44 in August.
Nice going HW; Yes, riding a longer ride of 70 miles with a fixed gear is well within your range based on what you did so far. In my experience, the difference between riding fixed vs geared is less than imagined. I had your mindset when I first took it up a few years back and last year completed RAMROD and STP on a fixed gear at 53 years old.
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Old 06-11-11, 03:40 PM   #269
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Nice going HW; Yes, riding a longer ride of 70 miles with a fixed gear is well within your range based on what you did so far. In my experience, the difference between riding fixed vs geared is less than imagined. I had your mindset when I first took it up a few years back and last year completed RAMROD and STP on a fixed gear at 53 years old.
That's good to hear. I pushed it up to almost 60 today but still <3k' of climbing and July's ride claims to have 7700' of climbing. Yikes. Are you going to do STP this year? While I was out today I saw a few people wearing their STP jackets.
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Old 06-12-11, 10:52 AM   #270
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Someday maybe manufacturers will figure out a way to reduce rear brake force, perhaps by reducing leverage by using a single pivot caliper...
campy's upper end road brakesets did exactly this for several years (not too long ago, and they may still). i think their term was 'differential' braking, but is was just a dual-pivot caliper in front and single in the rear.
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Old 06-24-11, 03:07 AM   #271
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44, turning 45 in August. Where I live, Bombay, India, cycling is a very uncommon hobby. Cycling here, is more common a poor man's transport, but then, those bicycles are 30 kg behemoths. To my friends I have always been a curious character because of my love for cycling.

I took to cycling in my late teens after a knee injury, and have never looked back. My first road bike was a mild steel, steel-rimmed heavyweight that I converted from its original single speed to a three speed set up. After a long search, I got toe clips and have ridden with foot retention ever since.

In the year 2008, I picked up an alloy MTB from my brother who had left it lying around since he preferred steel bikes. But this bike was light! Compared to my 17kg road bike (now 10 speed), this was 14 kgs with a triple front and seven speed freewheel. I changed the tires to narrower 1.75" semi slick tires. And riding was fun. Then it got drop handlebars and aero brake levers. And better cantilever brakes. Real fun.

In the 80's I had experimented with a single speed freewheel by stuffing bits of steel into the pawl so that the freewheel became a fixed cog. But at that time, I had been riding a very high ratio and fixed gear riding did not really catch my fancy.

In 2009, I happened to come across a steel Olmo road bike. And soon after, a Gios Evolution. Both were geared bikes and were perfect for my long road rides.

Since the Olmo and Gios were both geared and basically similar, I experimented with the Olmo and converted it to a fixed gear set up. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Running a 42 X 18, I did a few 50 km rides. Slowly I realised what people meant when they said you feel one with the bike as you ride.

In the meanwhile, I upgraded the Gios with 105 components and that was my most commonly ridden bike. I do my longer rides on this.

As monsoon approached last year, I got worried about the damage the dirt and grime from the roads would do the the "new and nice" components. So, the Olmo went back to a geared set up. I realised that its relaxed feel was more suited to long distance brisk paced road riding than to the fixed gear set up it was on till then. This became my rain bike.

But I just had to have a fixed gear bike. So the mtb, a Hero Thunder, named Thor by my brother, now underwent another change and it is now a fixed gear bike. I have thrown in a 39 toothed chainring and a 12-tooth cog. Great for fast riding. I have a set of 1.2" tires but those are prone to flats now that the monsoon is upon us and the roads are wet and covered with rubble and dirt.

Components and frames are hard to come by and unless you are looking for race specific parts, you just have to make do with what you can get hold of. So, after looking at carbon track framesets and realising that they are just not suitable for the traffic jungle I ride in, I decided to order by mail order, a very basic steel frame that has a steep geometry that theoretically matches my requirements.

Its stuck in Customs at present and once it comes through, I shall build it up as a nice fixed gear bike. And then do a century.

That's my plan. Lets see.

Nice to see so many fixed gear riders by the way.
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Old 06-27-11, 07:54 AM   #272
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65 today. Still alive. Had the hernia operation 17 days ago and still sore, but over the worst of it. Hope to be back on the bike in late July. Over and out. TT
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Old 06-27-11, 03:42 PM   #273
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65 today. Still alive. Had the hernia operation 17 days ago and still sore, but over the worst of it. Hope to be back on the bike in late July. Over and out. TT
Happy birthday, and we're all rooting for your return post-surgery. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-11, 04:18 PM   #274
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57 miles today. 2 more weekends and then my event (70 miler although a couple people who would not be doing it with me are trying to talk me into the 100 mile option).
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Old 07-08-11, 10:11 PM   #275
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Turned 55 the other day. Despite firm resolutions to commute every day, it's been freezing and very wet and windy (by our standards anyway, you northern americans may disagree) so I've woosed out and taken the car ... something an ageing wombat is entitled to do.

Still riding and loving my Hillbrick and yes, custom built IS the way to go. The Europa's gained mudguards and fatter tyres and is now my wet weather bike. The geared bike still wears the muck and filth from her last ride, 12 months ago (nearly to the day) - I have plans to wash her and make a few changes, but can't for the life of me imagine what I'd use her for.

Still riding 70 gear inches (48x18). There's a 3km, steep hill on the route to work because I live in the hills and the city is on the plains. Going to work (or anywhere north) sees me belting down it at 55km/hr+ which is a cadence of over 160 - that's no longer scary and I'm loving it ... which probably says something about growing older and fading mental capacities. Climbing back up is still the hard bit as I'm reduced to about 10km/hr for most of that 3km which is a cadence of 30. Not good. The steepest bit hits 10% but fortunately, it's short and there are a couple of false flats where you can 'rest' - you're no faster but at least you can ease the pressure.

The rest of my riding is fun and fine. Regular trips from 30km to 80km - not enough time to do longer thanks to committments with kids (yes, at my age, I have a 10 yr old ... and her 19 year old brother).

Fixed gear - it's great. People try to justify it with all sorts of reasons, most of which are valid but to be honest, the ONLY reason I ride fixed is because I love it and that's the only reason you need to do anything.
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