Originally Posted by stilltooslow
I said that there are no significant fitness benefits vs. training on a road bike, aside from adding a little variation to a workout routine.
Actually, I'd dispute that. Yesterday, I read your comment and while my hackles went up, I thought about my cycling log (I'm a closet nerd and log all sorts of **** that is probably of little more use than to feed my inner nerd). Anyways, I've been aware for some time that the differences between any entry (distance, time speed, max speed, heart rates, cadence, etc) really only came down to the column that lists the bike ridden. Sure, when I started riding fixed gear, it was really intense and I got knackered much more quickly, but once I'd developed the strength, fitness and skills, there doesn't seem to be much difference ... except getting up sodding great hills.
For reasons that are irrelevant to this discussion, I'm currently riding my geared bike rather than my fixed gear bike - six months ago, it was fixed only.
I'm belting along on my way to work this morning, mulling over this question of which works you more, when I started thinking about my riding style. I realised that although I use my gears a lot (and in the terrain I ride that's pretty normal for anyone other than a fg rider), my riding style on the geared bike is rather intense. For example, I don't stop pedalling - this is one of the giveaways of someone who rides a lot of fg. I my case, I just don't stop, I keep on pedaling and working the gears to suit. My ave. cadence is usually around 85 on my geared bike which really does suggest I'm not coasting much at all, either that or I'm constantly pedaling at 100+ which I'm not, the mid eighties are around where I like to ride these days (getting older does slow you).
So for starters, I'm pedaling a lot more, hence doing more work which is going to give me more of a workout.
In rolling terrain, with the gears, I get to choose how hard I go up or down a hill - mostly I use the gears to avoid working too hard going up or pedaling too fast going down. You don't have that option on the fg with the result that although my average speeds over my admittedly very lumpy trips are fairly consistent, I wouldn't mind betting that on the fg, I'm maintaining a more even speed (ie, less variation) than on the geared bike, which is why my legs complain less after a hard geared ride than a fixed ride - on the fg, there are situations where you just have to work harder.
All things considered, I think fg DOES give you a harder workout than a geared bike and one might assume from that that it is better for physical training. However, I don't think it works that way. Unless you are a die-hard 'trainer' setting and chasing goals, I think our bodies know how hard we want to work and modulate the effort to suit. To get fit and/or lose weight, you must do significant exercise regularly, and you'll only do that if you love going to your bike and riding it, how that bike is made is irrelevant because if you don't love it, you won't ride it.