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  1. #1
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    Single Speed Bikes and Caloric Burn

    Hello All.

    Just coming to you all with a question that's been in the back of my mind for a few days now and I wanted to get some insight/opinions on the matter.
    To give some very brief background. I started road cycling around a year and a half ago, found myself getting a carbon fiber Fuji SST 1.0 around 3 months ago and she's great.
    (I'm 19 years old, 5'8.. 135-137lbs give or take.. after my morning "business")
    I was doing around 50-60 mile rides on the SST a few days a week, and liking it. Usually the rides consisted of me cycling at an average speed of around 17-18mph and lasted around 2-3 hours give or take, no breaks, I wasn't necessarily "going hard" but I did battle wind a lot and found my strava readings saying that my total elevation climbs were in the 2,000-3,000's after rides.

    My weight stayed steady as well as my caloric intake (ate at maintenance calories, and usually had a meal or TWO before rides).
    NOW
    three months later, I have my very own "single speed bicycle" the Fuji Feather.. she obviously weighs a few more pounds than my SST (A bit of an understatement here.. just put on gatorskins today from my old ultra races *sigh*).. ANYWAYS, I started school and I've moved into my own apartment. My classes start at around 7 a.m and my college is around 10-12 miles away.. I basically commute to school.. 6:00 in the A.M for my first class on an empty stomach, ride home, and then commute back to my 2nd class around 12-1 p.m... 4 days a week. I do also do some other forms of "Commuting" after school between 1-4, but it's no more than 10miles usually. At the end of the day.. Strava usually puts me at a total of 25-30 miles for the day with around 1,500-2,300ft elevation gain. Somedays it DOES dip into 35 - 40 (2,800ft elevation gain), but I adjust caloric intake for that.
    I usually get my first meal in when I get home around noon, or after my first commute at 10 a.m and I get my last meal of the day in at around 12 a.m at night.

    The reason why I'm posting this thread
    I've recently lost around 5-10lbs ever since getting my single speed, didn't weigh myself for a month/month and a half.

    Now to my question/s
    - Even though I ride a single speed, I never "coast". I always spin, even on decents. While my heart rate does drop from obviously being on a decent as opposed to a flat/climb.. My cadence is obviously super high, could this be keeping my heart rate up and OR elevating my caloric burn? (I'm aware of the fact that elevated HR doesn't necessarily mean elevated caloric burn
    - Could it be my "riding style"? on the single speed? As I stated, I almost never coast.. only occasionally. I stand almost 75-80% of the time on flats and find myself powering up all the hills and really getting the "most" out of my first commute of the day.
    - Should I start using a Heart Rate monitor again? I used it in the past, but found it to be pretty un reliable.

    All in all, I almost actually like my Single Speed BETTER than my SST at the moment. Since I use her so much, and love getting in my workouts in the morning. (1st commute I usually do "repeats" and do around 1,100 ft elevation gain and ride for around 45 minutes).

    Just looking for some opinions.
    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Not sure what the question is, you want to know if the weight loss comes from riding a fixed gear?
    Well probably not to the point that you loose 5-10 pounds. What would have a big impact on your weight is riding more miles and it seems that you increased your weekly millage since you got the fixed gear if I read your story correctly?

  3. #3
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    ^^^ Err.. Not sure if you read my post in full.

    1. I'm not riding a fixed gear.
    2. More miles wouldn't necessarily mean MORE weight loss.



    On a side note, I DID commute this morning on a WAY lower tired pressure than normal. It almost felt "too easy" to ride, and I found that I was able to put less effort into my climbs. Could it be the weight from the tire pressure that I was previously riding at that was causing me to carry more lbs ---> resulting in a higher caloric burn.
    Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FujiKid View Post
    ^^^ Err.. Not sure if you read my post in full.

    2. More miles wouldn't necessarily mean MORE weight loss.
    We usually ask for more information in posts but in your case ... can you provide us a Cole's Note version?

    So ... what was your weekly mileage on the Fuji? And what has your weekly mileage on the single speed been over the past month or so?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FujiKid View Post
    - Should I start using a Heart Rate monitor again? I used it in the past, but found it to be pretty un reliable.
    Why would you want to monitor your HR? Like mr_pedro I don't really understand what question you are trying to answer?

    The reason you lost weight was because you burned more calories than you ate. If you want to reverse that trend eat more or ride less. If you want to continue losing weight, keep it up. There is nothing inherent in riding a single speed bike that results in more power output. If you're excited about riding the single speed then perhaps you push a little harder than you do on a geared bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Well ok single speed not fixed gear, doesn't change much to the answer.
    Agreed that distance is not all that matters for the calories, but let me spell out my point: it seems that you started riding more and lost weight, why don't you first estimate if you are indeed spending more calories on the bike by just looking at distance, speed, aero position and tire width? It could be as simple as that.

    I have no explanation why riding with WAY lower tired pressure makes it easier for you.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
    I have no explanation why riding with WAY lower tired pressure makes it easier for you.
    Lower tired pressure ... less tired ... more energy.

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