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Thread: Ballsy Tour?

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    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Ballsy Tour?

    A quick question to the veterans: I'm thinking about doing RAGBRAI on my fixed gear using tennis shoes and PowerGrips. While I know this isn't the "ideal" set up for touring I'm curious if we can get past that and comment on the how much I would lose by using Powergrips instead of clipins and if riding fixed will blow my legs out of the water. Incidentally, the reason I'm thinking of riding my fixed is because I'll be riding with friends who aren't avid bicyclist so I thought it might bring me down to their speed but I don't want to die either.

    edited to add: PowerGrips (http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?s...142&PID=484346)
    Last edited by davidmcowan; 02-28-07 at 08:52 PM.

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    George Krpan
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    I tried Power Grips. Clipless pedals are way better. If your concerned about walking, mountain bike shoes have recessed cleats.
    From what I understand, there's a lot of hills on RAGBRAI.
    If you go SS you'd better gear it low.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    One suggestion ... if you are going to go the tennis shoe route, get tennis shoes with really stiff, flat soles.

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    I ride power grips all the time with no trouble.

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    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    You won't be the only fixie, but you'll be one of a handful from what I saw. You'll see a lot of everything else though. This year's route isn't one of the hillier ones from what I see, but you'll still encounter rollers along the way.

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    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I doubt the rollers will compare with the hills of colorado. I'm just worried that I might not be strong enough to do it on a fixie (I can always flip the wheel) but don't know how to benchmark it.

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    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    There is a ride in the Seattle area called Cannonball which is Seattle to Spokane in one day (about 280 miles). A rider passed me on it on his mountain bike and was standing up all the way over Snoqualmie Pass. Wondered why he didn't gear down only to find out he was on a fixed gear. He actually does all of his rides on a fixed gear including randonnees (and blows by other riders). I am not trying to encourage you to do it, because it depends on your knees and your fitness level. You will be fine w/ power grips. I have cycled w/ sandles and toe clips and it wasn't optimal but it was comfy.

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    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    The fixed info is encouraging but I have to ask: Have you pedalled long distances in sandals and cages? I think RAGBRAI is like 70 a day

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    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    The fixed info is encouraging but I have to ask: Have you pedalled long distances in sandals and cages? I think RAGBRAI is like 70 a day
    From Tasmania to Brisbane then another month on dirt roads in Fiji w/ several centuries thrown in their. It's not optimal but it was so hot and humid I traded efficiency for being comfortable and my feet loved it.

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    George Krpan
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    Shimano makes SDP compatible sandals with a recessed cleat.
    No reason to be a masochist.

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    Slowpoach
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    Have you considered taking a freewheel along just in case (or sticking a cog on the other side of your hub if it is a flipflop fixed/free)?

    Re gearing - it all depends on the individual - I die with high gears and don't ride fixed if I'm doing hills, but on a recent Tassie tour one guy on a MTB did the whole week in his top gear (with a cadence of about 15 or 20 on some of the hills).

    Re foot retention on pedals - clips and clipless are both fine - why not ask in the fixed gear forum about power grips if that is your main question. I bodged together a similar system just with straps and some stiffening, and it does hold the foot more firmly than plastic toe clips, but I prefer metal toe clips which really give quite a positive feel (you can still get out easily if the straps aren't too tight). (Remember that you can't really adjust strap tension on a fixie while you are riding)

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    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
    Shimano makes SDP compatible sandals with a recessed cleat.
    No reason to be a masochist.
    Masochist? Seems a bit strong. If you are referring to the sandals and toe clips, if it would have been painful, I wouldn't have "endured" it for 3 months. Money was not an issue. Just happened to try it and it worked. You don't have to have the latest and the greatest to enjoy yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz
    From Tasmania to Brisbane then another month on dirt roads in Fiji w/ several centuries thrown in their. It's not optimal but it was so hot and humid I traded efficiency for being comfortable and my feet loved it.
    Quick question - what kind of pedals did you use? I ride sandals and toe clips all the time and find that the front part of the clip rubs between my toes. It isn't bad for a few hours, but beyond that I get some serious issues.

    And for the OP, would a power grip be more suited to sandal use?

    By sandals here, I'm talking about thongs. Specifically Rainbow Leathers.

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    ChainringTattoo
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I doubt the rollers will compare with the hills of colorado. I'm just worried that I might not be strong enough to do it on a fixie (I can always flip the wheel) but don't know how to benchmark it.
    The difference between Colorado hills and Iowa hills may be the steepness. Most of the riding I've done in Colorado seems to be long, gradual climbs, but you can easily get short hills 2-3 times as steep (especially along rivers) in Iowa. It's a different challenge, so you may want to find some steep sections out there to figure out where you'll land on gearing.

    What you're proposing isn't all that ballsy--you'll see all kinds of people in all sorts of physical condition riding all sorts of bikes. The first time I did RAGBRAI was with an old Schwinn in a cotton t-shirt, floppy tennis shoes, and the whole kit that marked me as a noob. And you wouldn't be alone in walking some hills (if your male pride would allow it...) I wasn't anywhere near the front of the pack on that first trip (I was waiting for my mom to walk up the hills), but there's so much to eat along the way, who would want to speed by all that?!?

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    George Krpan
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz
    Masochist? Seems a bit strong. If you are referring to the sandals and toe clips, if it would have been painful, I wouldn't have "endured" it for 3 months. Money was not an issue. Just happened to try it and it worked. You don't have to have the latest and the greatest to enjoy yourself.
    Latest and greatest? Clipless pedals and footwear? Perhaps, 20 years ago.

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    Slowpoach
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    How do you skin your cats?

    The real issue is, can you ride your fixed for enough hours and up and down enough of a slope to do the ride? Powergrips vs clips vs clipless, and road shoes vs runners or thongs, are secondary concerns.

    Stiff soles help, but are not a prerequisite; you will get less foot numbness, and in the longer term less ankle pain because you won't have to point your toes to get full power.

    Foot retention on a fixed is pretty important for safety reasons. All the methods work, each has different advantages and disadvantages. If you do go clipless, practice before you go on a group tour where you will be riding in a bunch, with slow stops and manouvering, while you are tired at the end of a long day - you will probably fall a few times, you want it to happen in a safer environment.

    So, decide first if you want to do it fixed (or free singlespeed) and then try out different foot retention systems. If you have the legs and the lungs, runners and powergrips will be fine.

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    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave
    How do you skin your cats?.......

    So, decide first if you want to do it fixed (or free singlespeed) and then try out different foot retention systems. If you have the legs and the lungs, runners and powergrips will be fine.
    How do you know that you can do it unless you've done it? I'm a thirty year old daily bike commuter (about 15 miles a day but more on the weekends) I do triathlons in the summer and snowboard all winter. Does this mean I could ride RAGBRAI fixed? Hell if I know.

    p.s. I'll have a flip flop wheel so WORSE case scenario I'll ride with just a gear on a single speed.

    edited to add: pps. What is so bad about tennis shoes? My feet fall asleep all the time with my mountain bike clip ins....after like 10-15 miles, so why would these be any better?
    Last edited by davidmcowan; 03-02-07 at 07:19 AM.

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    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
    Latest and greatest? Clipless pedals and footwear? Perhaps, 20 years ago.
    Nice comeback. Why call someone a massochist and try and start an argument. I didn't advise he use the sandals and toe clips but an example that even a minimal setup can work. SPD technology compared to toe clips or powergrips are still the latest and the greatest. Sometimes I love this forum and other times.....

    BTW meteparozzi, they were just standard pedals w/ clips and lizard sandals. I didn't have any problem w/ the toes rubbing against the clips because of the straps. I don't know how thongs would work. You might just have to keep your foot back from the clip a bit and not count on being able to spin.

    davidmcowan, I would say if you are still questioning it, just go w/ a geared bike. Maybe keep it in the same gear as your fixed and pretend you can't shift. If it's your first tour, play it safe.
    Last edited by aroundoz; 03-02-07 at 11:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz
    BTW meteparozzi, they were just standard pedals w/ clips and lizard sandals. I didn't have any problem w/ the toes rubbing against the clips because of the straps. I don't know how thongs would work. You might just have to keep your foot back from the clip a bit and not count on being able to spin.
    Thanks, much as I wouldn't mind clipless I'm just not willing to invest that kind of money.

    I think by 'latest and greatest' the original intent was more along the lines of people running out to spend money on things that aren't necessary, but rather a nice thing to have. Clipless pedals aren't necessary, but they are nice to have. However, you can get by with toe clips at maybe 1/4 of the price (from what I've seen, YMMV). Some of us find that upsell hard to justify, but different strokes for different folks - literally.

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    George Krpan
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    Nashbar has clipless pedals for as low as $19.95, SPD sandals for $49.99, and SPD mountain bike shoes starting at $29.99.
    By the way, Power Grip pedals are $38.95 at Nashbar.
    How much do tennis shoes cost?
    How much do pedals with toeclips cost?
    Last edited by GeoKrpan; 03-02-07 at 10:46 PM.

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    I've riden 1000 miles in sandals and toe clips, I'm talking bike sandal, Lakes. The base of them is really stiff and it was totally confortable. I have nothing aginst the new system they just won't work for me since I broke an ankle, and since I never used anything other than toe clips or powergrips, that's what I use. I couldn't get the powergrips to work with the Lakes using the standard strap, I keep thinking of an extra size strap, but nobody sells them up here, and I haven't got around to making them myself.

    When I left on a tour never having used the sandal I did run into a problem... The metal clip pushed back on my sandal and crunched my toes into the end, with every cycle one of the toe joints would go from the srcehd up to curved down position and by the end of the first day it had gone numb and didn't come back for several months. I removed the clip and cycled on the strap only, so I would have prefered a PG if I could have gotten everything to perform as I wanted it. Lakes sandals are my fovorite cycling footware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
    Nashbar has clipless pedals for as low as $19.95, SPD sandals for $49.99, and SPD mountain bike shoes starting at $29.99.
    By the way, Power Grip pedals are $38.95 at Nashbar.
    How much do tennis shoes cost?
    How much do pedals with toeclips cost?
    Hence the YMMV. When I go to the local bike shops here, all they carry are brand name only stuff, no discounts, no generic, and definitely no Nashbar. I can get toe clips for about $20, and I already have shoes, as do most people.

    The cheapest I have priced clipless here (pedals and shoes) is over $100. For me, I find the price difference not to be worth it.

  23. #23
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    How do you know that you can do it unless you've done it? I'm a thirty year old daily bike commuter (about 15 miles a day but more on the weekends) I do triathlons in the summer and snowboard all winter. Does this mean I could ride RAGBRAI fixed? Hell if I know.
    That's what I was getting at; sounds like you have the fitness, but you need to ride your fixed gear on hills and long rides to train up for this ride, and also to decide what gear to run to still be able to make it up the hills at the end of the ride (and down again if you want the challenge of doing it all fixed). Regarding the specific ride, ask in the fixed forum to see if anyone's done it.

    I know you want a specific answer, but you won't find one unless you have a cycling coach who knows both your abilities and the ride in question!

    I suggest you make the decision to take it on, as a challenge; so now, the question is not "Can I do this ride fixed?" but instead, "What training program, and what gear ratio, do I need to ensure I can do this ride fixed?".


    edited to add: pps. What is so bad about tennis shoes? My feet fall asleep all the time with my mountain bike clip ins....after like 10-15 miles, so why would these be any better?
    Exactly, everyone gets some foot numbness, regardless of the shoe, if they ride far enough. I do think, however, that a stiffer or thicker sole helps a bit, along with not having too tight a shoe or too tight clips. I get the least numbness with hiking boots - but I'm not going to ride in those except in rain or if I'm planning a muddy walk at the end of the ride.

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