Gearing down and going faster: Query for those using >65 Gear Inches.
Odd experience today.
I'll preface this by saying that I am an overweight middle-aged guy that's only been riding fixed for about a year. YMMV.
Anyway, so when I started riding fixed a year ago by Steamroller was set up stock at 61 gear inches. I was way out of condition, couldn't spin faster than 60 or 70 rpm. I was always a mash-and-coast cyclist. After a few months I geared up to 69 gear inches which made mashing up the hills easier and of course better speed at the same 70 rpm.
Fast forward a year, I can now spin that 69 gear inches a bit faster, more around 80rpm and sprinting at 90 rpm. However, as a utility/commuting cycling I'm often pulling alot of extra weight including a trailer once a week or so and mashing up the hills has been taking its toll on the old knees, especially uphill into the wind with the trailer.
So yesterday I geared down to 66 inches. Knees definitely felt better, but still I could feel the cadence start to slow on the hills. So today I dropped it all the way back to the original 61 inches and the result was surprising. It seems like at 61 I can spin pretty comfortably at 90 to 100 rpm, even into the wind. Overall speed was a bit higher than when I was running 69, even though there is less sense of effort. Instead of "push, push, push," it's "move your legs."
I was expecting to be slower overall, and was pretty downbeat about gearing down, and to be faster when accelerating and faster on the flats and climbs was a surprise. Has anyone else had a similar experience gearing down or was I just way overgeared for my condition/situation?