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  1. #1
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    beginner gear ratio

    hi there,
    i'm thinking about going to a beginners session at the Hellyer Velodrome. does anyone have any suggestions for a gear ratio to use for a first timer?

    i ride 44/16 on the street currently... i figure i can go a little higher for velodrome (?)

    thanks,
    Dennis

  2. #2
    exPhillyMessngrInJapan
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    anything and everything you would want to know about track racing on the net can be found at www.oldskooltrack.com, harriscyclery.com (fixed gear section), cyclingnews.com, businesscycles.com (sequential gear table, look for it), and fixedgearfever.com

    of course there are more sites, but these are my favorites and have lots of useful info. remember, its better to find something out yourself instead of just having someone tell you (does that make sense?)

  3. #3
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    I went through the 3 class series at Hellyer Park recently and used an 81 " gear (49/16) as the instructor suggested, and that worked well....unless you can spin REALLY fast, 44/16 will be too low and it would be very tough to hang with pacelines and in practice races. Tried the Wednesday practice races once so far and used a 87" gear and that worked well too, as even the Cat 5 races were waaay faster than than those in the classes....(FWIW I did OK in the classes but not so hot in my first races...the other riders were new to track racing, but not new to racing) If you don't want to fool with your gearing right now you can rent a bike at the track for $5, but the quality and condition of the rental bikes varies quite a bit...BTW the instructor did not show on the 3rd Saturday of the month, but those on the 1st and 2nd Saturday were great..
    Anyway, the classes were an absolute blast, and I'd highly recommend them whether or not you intend to race...a great way to spend a Saturday morning and they will make you a better rider too...


    Quote Originally Posted by harryhood
    hi there,
    i'm thinking about going to a beginners session at the Hellyer Velodrome. does anyone have any suggestions for a gear ratio to use for a first timer?

    i ride 44/16 on the street currently... i figure i can go a little higher for velodrome (?)

    thanks,
    Dennis
    Last edited by tommasini; 07-17-04 at 08:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommasini
    BTW the instructor did not show on the 3rd Saturday of the month, but those on the 1st and 2nd Saturday were great..
    thanks for your input. well it's too bad i didn't even get to spin out on the track. we drove down there from SF this last saturday morning, and we were really quite disappointed that the instructor didn't show up! a bunch of other people were stranded there too. <sigh>.

    luckily, all 4 of us brought our bikes (most of them fixed gear road conversions), and we went on a pretty nice ride down the coyote creek trail. good thing i didn't up my gearing!

    hope to see you down there some time. and hopefully the guy will show up

    -Dennis

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryhood
    thanks for your input. well it's too bad i didn't even get to spin out on the track. we drove down there from SF this last saturday morning, and we were really quite disappointed that the instructor didn't show up! a bunch of other people were stranded there too. <sigh>.

    luckily, all 4 of us brought our bikes (most of them fixed gear road conversions), and we went on a pretty nice ride down the coyote creek trail. good thing i didn't up my gearing!

    hope to see you down there some time. and hopefully the guy will show up


    -Dennis
    hmmm, figures.....thats the same guy (Brian Lindsay) that flaked last month, and he didn't even bother to post to the Hellyer email list to let people know either time...though all the other volunteers I've met there have been really helpful,friendly and knowledgeable. I also did a ride with some very dissapointed and pissed-off people on the same trail (reinstalled my brake and flipped my fixed/fixed wheel around for road gearing), but got lucky and returned just as an afternoon class was begining for a womans race team, told the instructor my tale of woe and he let me ride the class, had a great time after all. Anyway, hope it works out for you next time, AFAIK the other instructors DO show up...and maybe see you down there some Wednesday, plan to try racing again at least once or twice this season, (would like do more but live almost 3 hrs. from the track)
    Last edited by tommasini; 07-20-04 at 12:00 AM.

  6. #6
    Its already fixed JeStOnE's Avatar
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    I have a 48/16 and I do well with it but it is a pretty tough gear, im thinking about going to a 48/18 to try it out, I dont really get to spin my current gear up enough I know I can get my cadence much higher so I'll start working with on it more.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about checking out the beginner class, but I am a little weary. Mostly due to the fact that I am just a BMXer with a Langster, and have never done anything of this sort before. I guess I just don't want to get in over my head and have a ****** time.

  8. #8
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    you won't know unless you try, right?
    the beginner class is only $5 (i think), so if you hate it all you're out is 5 bucks and some time.
    (though with the way the weather looks it might be a while before they have another beginner session )

  9. #9
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    Don't worry about getting in over your head, people of all ages, speeds, and abilities were in the classes when I went...some had not ever riden fixed before the class, so if you have that helps a lot. It is a good idea to check the other riders out though...nearly everyone rode well, but a few were squirelly and needed to be given plenty of room...though if someone is riding badly the instructor will (politely) give them some tips. FWIW there were no crashes or conflicts in the classes I went to.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  11. #11
    asleep at the wheel fixedpip's Avatar
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    At Hellyer I was told by our instructor that somewhere close to 85 gear inches is typical for that track. But at the beginner sessions the bikes do vary in gearing quite a lot so as long as you're not madly spinning out in the sprints you can run smaller gearings.

    It may be better to rent a bike from the track for your first session just so you have something to compare your current setup to and so you can talk to the instructor about whats right for you. You can go from there in figuring out what you need for the training sessions.

    Once you get to racing your gearing will obviously change dependent on the race.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixedpip
    It may be better to rent a bike from the track for your first session just so you have something to compare your current setup to and so you can talk to the instructor about whats right for you. You can go from there in figuring out what you need for the training sessions.
    I think I am going to go this Saturday, and I plan on renting as well.

    Am I going to get jocked for using skate shoes/Welgo pedals with clips & straps?

    I mean, it's not like I have anything else...but eh...it shouldn't be a problem for a beginner session?

    -Levi

  13. #13
    asleep at the wheel fixedpip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wunder
    Am I going to get jocked for using skate shoes/Welgo pedals with clips & straps?
    I have seen people do the beginner session on just platforms. As long as your comfortable riding with them then it shouldn't matter.

    Everyones too busy to notice what folks are wearing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    Well, I went this morning.

    Had an absolute blast. Met some cool people, got dropped a bunch.

    I borrowed a Pista and it felt okay...during the open track at the end of the session I brought out my Langster and it just generally felt better. I think I might look into getting some drops and better pedals/clips/straps for my Langster. But we'll see.

  15. #15
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    did you notice what gearing the renatl bikes had on them?
    also, were there a lot of people there?

  16. #16
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    I did not. Though I am guessing like 48-50/16.

    I'd say there was like about 25 people there. Everybody had their own bike for the most part.

    Are you planning on coming down?

  17. #17
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    yup, definitely coming down, prolly with some other folks from the board.
    won't be until after the 6th though (at least for me), since i have a race that weekend.
    Last edited by dolface; 01-23-05 at 10:39 AM. Reason: can't spell

  18. #18
    Senior Member wunder's Avatar
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    Shoot me a PM before ya come down. I'll be out too.

  19. #19
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    you got it

  20. #20
    nickel, cadmium, and iron the_loin's Avatar
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    If there's room for another SFer I would like to join in on the track trip. If there's no room I could at least drive down same day, have room for a passenger as well, but only one bike (no rack, yet). PM me.

  21. #21
    old codger icithecat's Avatar
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    I just found out that they have rentals at the 'drome here and beginer classses. I have to wait 'till it dries out though. This could be fun come spring.

  22. #22
    i hate haters dubteka's Avatar
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    hey. a few of us were talking about going down around mid february as well: SF - Who wants to go to Hellyer?

  23. #23
    Its already fixed JeStOnE's Avatar
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    Most coaches would recomend you start at a 48/16, if thats still tough you go to a 48/17 or 48/18, you should get a print out on your cadence per mph scale, then kinda just work from there for your final gear.

  24. #24
    Paul pstrauss's Avatar
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    I started to ride the track with 46/16 which was stock for the bike. I is okay on the street but I spin too fast on the track. I am waiting for a 14 rear cog to ride on the track and street. Got it on ebay and bought the tools to change the cog at harris cyclery.

    Paul

  25. #25
    _______Member Litespeedy's Avatar
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    I am also a beginner training for my first season on the track.
    An experienced guy on the other forum suggested 47 or 48x14. Checking both on a gear ratio spreadsheet would give about 26.97 or 27.54mph at 100rpm. 48x16 is 24.1mph at 100rpm.
    Hope I am not biting off more than I can chew! Maybe I should be training to spin more. I've been doing lots of squats etc. this winter.

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