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  1. #1
    dmt
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    space cowboy dmt's Avatar
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    Touring on a Fixed Gear

    I'm just curious if anyone has any experience with touring on a fixed gear bicycle.

    If so, where did you go? Did you bring extra chain rings and cogs? What sort of bike did you use?

    Any info would be great. I would like to try this one day and would love to hear some first hand accounts.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    there have been some threads about this within the last couple of months, at least since I joined. if you scan back a few pages you might get some more responses with less wait time

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmt View Post
    I'm just curious if anyone has any experience with touring on a fixed gear bicycle.

    If so, where did you go? Did you bring extra chain rings and cogs? What sort of bike did you use?

    Any info would be great. I would like to try this one day and would love to hear some first hand accounts.

    Thanks!
    It is impossible.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Rowan did it in 2007 in France. This was our trip:
    http://www.machka.net/pbp2007/2007_PBP.htm


    Another friend of mine, Rob, did it in 2002. He cycled from Vancouver to Kamloops with his gearing set up as single speed. Starting in Kamloops, he did the Rocky Mountain 1200 (where I met him) on a fixed gearing. Then he switched back to single speed and rode across Canada and the US to Boston, where he switched back to fixed and rode the BMB 1200.

  5. #5
    Senior Member emarg0ed's Avatar
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    it sounds like torture to me. but to each his own

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    i did a loaded century with a collapsed lung on my fixie, but thats about it.

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    call me a fuddy duddy but there's something very wrong about loading up a bike with extra weight then forcing your legs to be spinned by that weight down hill in braking. Makes as much sense as wearing a big packpack while riding.

  8. #8
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    "call me a fuddy duddy but there's something very wrong about loading up a bike with extra weight then forcing your legs to be spinned by that weight down hill in braking. Makes as much sense as wearing a big packpack while riding."

    A fixie can be equipped with breaks and still be a fixie.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    It certainly can be done. I don't see the attraction, but to each his own.

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    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...ge_id=7607&v=0

    worth a look, though it is a single speed, not sure if fixie.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Yeah, bikes with multi-gears are way too complex, I'd rather blow out my knees on a bike with 1 gear than to deal with that kind of complexity. Also I like a challenge and like to brag about what types of riding I do with my fixie, so loaded touring is perfect for me. Shoot, anyone can tour on one of those new fangled, multi-gear wimp-nose bikes, but it takes a real man like me to do it with a fixed gear bike. I'm an individual, no one tells me how to do things, gears are for wimps. (insert that rolled eyes smiley)

  12. #12
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw View Post
    Yeah, bikes with multi-gears are way too complex, I'd rather blow out my knees on a bike with 1 gear than to deal with that kind of complexity. Also I like a challenge and like to brag about what types of riding I do with my fixie, so loaded touring is perfect for me. Shoot, anyone can tour on one of those new fangled, multi-gear wimp-nose bikes, but it takes a real man like me to do it with a fixed gear bike. I'm an individual, no one tells me how to do things, gears are for wimps. (insert that rolled eyes smiley)
    Well said.

  13. #13
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Tell us gregw, how do you really feel?

    Try a short weekend tour when things warm up (it it's cold where you are now) and see how you like it. I don't mind riding fixed around town, and I sometimes do circular loops around town... I think I've done around 50km but it's not super-hilly here, and I wasn't loaded... but if you're young and in decent shape, plan your route ahead of time so you know what kind of hills you're facing, I think it could be doable. I've seen some setup with two chainrings at the front, and a flip-flop hub with different gears for hilly terrain and flats. It seems like a bit of a pain to stop and change out the chainrings and lengthen/shorten the chain with something like that, but it's another option to consider.

    I know hating on fixie riding is kind of "the new black" or whatever, but if you want to try it go for it, I say. Do you have any previous touring experience?

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    It is done. It has been done. People were touring before freewheels and gears were invented and enjoyed themselves. It would probably be unpleasant in the mountains but not terribly much trouble on the Great Plains or in Holland.

    Touring on a track bike, though, would be unpleasant. Steep geometry would get awful tiring.

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    I don't quite understand the hostility here... I personally like to use a flip-flop hub with a smaller free cog and a larger fixed cog (42-14 free, 42-17 fixed for me but you will find your own combos depending on terrain). It's nice to be able to coast down long hills and cruise on the flats (even if this is technically not pure "fixie") and have a larger fixed gear for getting up long hills and false flats. Don't pack an ounce more than you have to, and keep most your gear in your panniers so you can easily remove them to flip the wheel to change gears. If you don't already have them, invest in some clipless pedals as the added efficiency will help you power the bike over some of the steeper hill crests and use a more efficient stroke while cruising.

    The bike I ride is a Bianchi, San Jose. The longest leg I've taken it on loaded was 77 miles along the Virginia shore of the Potomac with rolling hills but no sustained climbs, I really did not suffer any worse than my variable geared compatriots and in fact had a great time; however, I was a bit more miserly in the camp comforts I brought along to keep over all weight down.

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    I rode the long way from the bottom of Illinois to the top of Kansas while holding a roofing nail under my tongue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    Tell us gregw, how do you really feel?

    Try a short weekend tour when things warm up (it it's cold where you are now) and see how you like it. I don't mind riding fixed around town, and I sometimes do circular loops around town... I think I've done around 50km but it's not super-hilly here, and I wasn't loaded... but if you're young and in decent shape, plan your route ahead of time so you know what kind of hills you're facing, I think it could be doable. I've seen some setup with two chainrings at the front, and a flip-flop hub with different gears for hilly terrain and flats. It seems like a bit of a pain to stop and change out the chainrings and lengthen/shorten the chain with something like that, but it's another option to consider.

    I know hating on fixie riding is kind of "the new black" or whatever, but if you want to try it go for it, I say. Do you have any previous touring experience?
    how dense can you be to not get the sarcasm in his post?

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feaduin View Post
    I don't quite understand the hostility here...
    I don't get it either ... but it comes up every time someone asks or talks about doing a tour on a fixed gear. I find it really strange that people who have never ridden fixed gears, or who have never toured with people who are touring on fixed gears, should feel so hostile toward those who do or who want to.

    And they always make the oddest comments about it ... as if they think it is somehow incredibly difficult or would be very painful. Very odd.


    Although I've never personally ridden a fixed gear, I've ridden with those who have. I've seen Rowan climb steep hills (some of which, I had to walk even though I had gears) with his loaded touring bicycle ... and he was doing just fine. No knees blowing out, no pain, or anything like that.

    Here's a shot of our bicycles ...


  19. #19
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
    how dense can you be to not get the sarcasm in his post?
    Not as dense as you I suppose, since it seems you've never heard anyone use the expression "tell us how you really feel" as a sarcastic reply to someone that really lays on it in a thick in ignorant manner about something... it's a response to a really lame opinion (and I'm cool with people posting their opinions, as I'm doing that right now ) that's nothing original or even the author's own thoughts, those are standard fixie bashing lines but certainly not the best. I mean, he totally missed the chance to suggest to the OP that he should acquire a vintage rene herse and grind off all the braze-ons and put on some garish wheels... there's a lot more he could have done if sheer mockery was his intention. I think it's pretty lame to just post a bunch of recycled lines and not even offer anything helpful.

    To the OP... I think you should do it to piss off the fixie haters... but I'll also reiterate the thing about gear selection and starting small. Do you ride fixie now? What kind of gearing? You'll also want to consider how much additional weight you'll be carrying and all that regular stuff you have to worry about whilst touring. Come back with some more info!

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feaduin View Post
    I don't quite understand the hostility here... I personally like to use a flip-flop hub with a smaller free cog and a larger fixed cog (42-14 free, 42-17 fixed for me but you will find your own combos depending on terrain). It's nice to be able to coast down long hills and cruise on the flats (even if this is technically not pure "fixie") and have a larger fixed gear for getting up long hills and false flats. Don't pack an ounce more than you have to, and keep most your gear in your panniers so you can easily remove them to flip the wheel to change gears. If you don't already have them, invest in some clipless pedals as the added efficiency will help you power the bike over some of the steeper hill crests and use a more efficient stroke while cruising.

    The bike I ride is a Bianchi, San Jose. The longest leg I've taken it on loaded was 77 miles along the Virginia shore of the Potomac with rolling hills but no sustained climbs, I really did not suffer any worse than my variable geared compatriots and in fact had a great time; however, I was a bit more miserly in the camp comforts I brought along to keep over all weight down.


    Or................................................. You could just click a shifter and get that other gear, Duh!

    Oh, and I love that part about coasting.

  21. #21
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I love riding the fixed gear and I've enjoyed doing century and double centuries on them, even an over night credit card tour. But I don't think I would enjoy hauling 30+ lbs of touring gear on the fixed gear. I would be walking up every little hill with it.
    For carrying loads, I use my Surly LHT. It has plenty of gears...
    Last edited by roadfix; 01-29-10 at 10:21 AM.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  22. #22
    Wanderlust burtonridr's Avatar
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    Personally, I couldnt see myself riding with 30lbs of gear on a fixed gear bike, especially here in the rocky mountains. Might not be to bad in the plains states thoough, I dont know. If you do take the tour on a single speed, please share some pics and your experiences
    -Early 90's(maybe late 80's?) specialized hardrock, touring setup
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  23. #23
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    I light tour on a fixed and full load a direct driven cycle. Ride what makes you happy at the end of the day, not what some schmucks on the internet tell you to or not to. As for fixed, I'd suggest 3-4 cogs total probably. Freewheel I'd say is completely dependent on your riding style. I'd suggest brakes, even if I don't usually. When I tour/bikecamp with a single gear, I try to pack as light as possible - that's the best suggestion you'll get. Seeing the vast differences in "fully loaded" is purely crazy. I saw two girls going Arizona to Maine this summer with their bikes loaded to the max (easily 60 pounds of gear each). You can travel light. It's even easier if you want to hotel/hostel every night .
    http://bygonebicyclist.com
    Penny-farthing adventures, touring & collecting

  24. #24
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaise_f View Post
    I light tour on a fixed and full load a direct driven cycle. Ride what makes you happy at the end of the day, not what some schmucks on the internet tell you to or not to. As for fixed, I'd suggest 3-4 cogs total probably. Freewheel I'd say is completely dependent on your riding style. I'd suggest brakes, even if I don't usually. When I tour/bikecamp with a single gear, I try to pack as light as possible - that's the best suggestion you'll get. Seeing the vast differences in "fully loaded" is purely crazy. I saw two girls going Arizona to Maine this summer with their bikes loaded to the max (easily 60 pounds of gear each). You can travel light. It's even easier if you want to hotel/hostel every night .

  25. #25
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    My friend and I went on a 5 day tour 2 weeks ago. We started in San Bernardino, went through Joshua Tree, and ended up in Palm Springs. We were carrying all of our camping equipment and food with us so we were riding kind of heavy. It was tough but very fun, this was done on fixies with no extra cogs or chainrings.

    You tour because it's fun, for no other reason but that. If you want to do it, do it.

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