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"Underbiking" more the older I get...

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"Underbiking" more the older I get...

Old 07-09-20, 10:29 PM
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pbass
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"Underbiking" more the older I get...

Maybe it's a desire for simplicity, focus, zen.....I find the older I get, the more I'm "underbiking". Just turned 60. I have a "modern" gravel bike, 1x11, tubeless, et al. I ride it everywhere I used to ride my MTBs, even some gnarly singletrack. I also have a singlespeed cross bike, that is getting more and more miles in, and I ride it on...everything. In fact, I could see riding nothing but singlespeed/rigid the older I get. It can be harder on the body of course, but alternatively, the connection to the bike and the earth I feel can actually make it....easier in a way? If, you're not in a hurry. I don't race, obviously. Just curious if any other geezers have drifted thisaway...

EDIT: just to clarify, by "underbiking" (as I'm using it here at least) doesn't suggest biking easier as I get older. I'm making it actually harder by riding ss, with no suspension, skinnier cross tires instead of huge MTB rubber, etc, on all the same trails and rides I used to ride with suspension, etc.

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Old 07-09-20, 11:28 PM
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Started riding around age 28. 52 now and never raced or anything. Many a MTB wrecks in my younger days. I cruise my gravel bike the most at a good comfortable pace to get that natural high. I have a rigid one speed MTB I enjoy cruising for the simplicity it starts to get all spiritual at times,



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Old 07-10-20, 07:43 AM
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I have found that my riding has turned from what is my PB on Strava and how can I beat that time to "I think I will stop and enjoy the view." At 71 I have to realize that some of my physical limits are real but not the final decision. I will keep riding and embrace your mindset Be safe and keep moving.
Frank.

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Old 07-10-20, 08:01 AM
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While a single speed "rigid" frame won't quite work for me, at the age of 46 I decided to trim my heard of bicycles down from 7 to 2. I now have 1 endurance bike (2020 Trek Domane SL7 Disc) and 1 mountain bike (2010 Cannondale F29). I had considered even getting rid of the mountain bike and just having two wheelsets on my endurance bike, but this GCN video convinced me not to:


To summarize the video, a gravel bike can handle road and gravel better, but when it comes to serious off-road adventures, I'll want a mountain bike.

In terms of simplicity, I agree that "less is more"... to a point. I was thinking about converting my mountain bike to a single speed earlier this year, however, I did a simple test that convinced me not to... I simply tried riding it w/o shifting gears and that experiment was a total fail. Unless one lives where it's totally flat, I think a single speed would just be totally frustrating... you'd be in too hard of gear on most hills and would run out of gears going down the hill. I could see having a single speed as an urban bike or grocery getter, but not as a recreational bike where I put any kind of miles on it.
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Old 07-10-20, 08:06 AM
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I seem to be going in the "other" direction. As I age, the more I'm appreciating having a range of gears from which to choose. Hats off to those who can ride with minimal gears tho!
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Old 07-10-20, 08:34 AM
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55 years old here. Got my first single speed since I was a kid last summer. Sure it isn't a MTB or a fixie/track bike, but a diamond frame adult sized city cruiser with 700x42 tires and 66 gear inches. The only hills here are the wind or man made. This machine sees mostly pavement, but I take it down dirt and gravel paths and tracks as it does so easily.

The single speed is simple and doesn't drop the chain. It makes me decide to accelerate slowly or stand up to accelerate quickly. In fact this single speed bike makes me stand up much more than a geared bike as I can't merely downshift for lower gearing. It turns out that getting out of the saddle works me out better than being glued to the saddle, which also makes my bum last longer on a ride.

My only geared bike at this time has a 8 speed IGH with as high as 22% between gears. Riding the single speed has effectively made those wide gear steps on the 8 speed feel much closer together.

For whatever reason, a single speed bike makes me feel younger mentally and physically. It's just a different kind of fun. I like it.
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Old 07-10-20, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post

In terms of simplicity, I agree that "less is more"... to a point. I was thinking about converting my mountain bike to a single speed earlier this year, however, I did a simple test that convinced me not to... I simply tried riding it w/o shifting gears and that experiment was a total fail. Unless one lives where it's totally flat, I think a single speed would just be totally frustrating... you'd be in too hard of gear on most hills and would run out of gears going down the hill. I could see having a single speed as an urban bike or grocery getter, but not as a recreational bike where I put any kind of miles on it.
I've done that type of test as well on many occasions to consider purchasing a bike with a different set up of gears. Somehow it didn't translate fully to really riding a single speed.

All I can say is riding a geared bike as a single speed bike isn't nearly as fun as riding a single speed bike. It's not for everyone, especially if you are riding with or near others. In my opinion, a bike with a solo gear ratio is most enjoyed when riding solo.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Maybe it's a desire for simplicity, focus, zen.....I find the older I get, the more I'm "underbiking". Just turned 60.
You have my permission to surrender to geezerdom... but for myself, I enjoy keeping it away. I still enjoy going on hard efforts on hill segments, maybe get my best time of the year, or maybe the best time of my Strava friends. I have a fixed-gear urban bike that I ride all over town and commute to work on - it's fun. I just don't enjoy "easy" miles unless I don't have anything else to do.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I've done that type of test as well on many occasions to consider purchasing a bike with a different set up of gears. Somehow it didn't translate fully to really riding a single speed.

All I can say is riding a geared bike as a single speed bike isn't nearly as fun as riding a single speed bike. It's not for everyone, especially if you are riding with or near others. In my opinion, a bike with a solo gear ratio is most enjoyed when riding solo.
I concur. For MTBs I have had singlespeed 29r's, 1x's, 2x's....in theory you should be able to just stay in one gear and simulate ss'ing, but it just doesn't translate fully as you say. Maybe it's mostly mental but I think the direct chainline from the cranks to the rear cog is part of why a ss feels special.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
You have my permission to surrender to geezerdom... but for myself, I enjoy keeping it away. I still enjoy going on hard efforts on hill segments, maybe get my best time of the year, or maybe the best time of my Strava friends. I have a fixed-gear urban bike that I ride all over town and commute to work on - it's fun. I just don't enjoy "easy" miles unless I don't have anything else to do.
When I say "underbiking" I mean using a tool that makes the job HARDER. So, no surrendering here! No suspension either
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Old 07-10-20, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
....For whatever reason, a single speed bike makes me feel younger mentally and physically. It's just a different kind of fun. I like it.
Hear hear. I ALWAYS come back with a big smile on my face after sending it on my ss, pushing the limits of what I can do on it.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I...In my opinion, a bike with a solo gear ratio is most enjoyed when riding solo.
I ride solo 80% of the time. The only person I currently ride with is my 15 year old. He's pretty new to MTB'ing but he crushes it on a geared 29'r hardtail, while I ride either my geared gravel rig or my ss cross bike. It can be harder to ride my ss with him, or rather, harder to stick together--I'm always way ahead of him on climbs, just out of necessity.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
While a single speed "rigid" frame won't quite work for me, at the age of 46 I decided to trim my heard of bicycles down from 7 to 2. I now have 1 endurance bike (2020 Trek Domane SL7 Disc) and 1 mountain bike (2010 Cannondale F29). I had considered even getting rid of the mountain bike and just having two wheelsets on my endurance bike, but this GCN video convinced me not to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvYFzKjdGmU

To summarize the video, a gravel bike can handle road and gravel better, but when it comes to serious off-road adventures, I'll want a mountain bike.

In terms of simplicity, I agree that "less is more"... to a point. I was thinking about converting my mountain bike to a single speed earlier this year, however, I did a simple test that convinced me not to... I simply tried riding it w/o shifting gears and that experiment was a total fail. Unless one lives where it's totally flat, I think a single speed would just be totally frustrating... you'd be in too hard of gear on most hills and would run out of gears going down the hill. I could see having a single speed as an urban bike or grocery getter, but not as a recreational bike where I put any kind of miles on it.
I have watched that very video in the past. It's true the MTB is still ultimately the better tool for the job off-road, but that's what I mean by "underbiking" - riding a rigid drop bar bike with narrower tires offroad presents a different challenge that for whatever reason, I'm enjoying more and more. I do come back beat up sometimes though. As for ss'ing, I live right at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Everywhere I go involves climbing. I have it geared with that in mind. But I do see how some would find it too limiting or frustrating. It's just a different experience, and it's actually a different kind of workout. I wouldn't have it as my ONLY bike where I live, but somewhere a little flatter, for sure.
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Old 07-10-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
but that's what I mean by "underbiking" - riding a rigid drop bar bike with narrower tires offroad presents a different challenge that for whatever reason, I'm enjoying more and more.
Ah, I think I understand now. You're saying that you decided to break the unwritten rule of cycling that says that every ride needs to be as fast as possible or else you failed? I think that's what is actually been said subliminally in the GCN video (maybe all of their videos?) I.e., if you don't ride on or off road at 100 mph, then you can't possibly be enjoying the ride!

I like where you're going... instead of riding a full suspension mountain bike that turns a technical trail into a non-event so you can finish it as fast as possible, you desire to slow down a little and enjoy tackling the trail with the skills of your body instead of the shocks on your bike.
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Old 07-10-20, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I like where you're going... instead of riding a full suspension mountain bike that turns a technical trail into a non-event so you can finish it as fast as possible, you desire to slow down a little and enjoy tackling the trail with the skills of your body instead of the shocks on your bike.
Exactly. I've been riding rigid offroad for some time now--had nothing but a rigid 29'r for a few years--and it taught me all about picking a good line and body english as you say. You can't just plow over things. Take away the gears too and then you're really talking! Not for everyone I know. Goes without saying of course that I'm not the fastest guy on the trail...
I will say though, on my gravel rig with tubeless 650B x47s, I run really low pressure on singletrack, like 19-20psi at times. Pretty cushy. I'm certainly faster on that compared to my older school tubed-tire cross bike where I have to run 'em a lot harder.
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Old 07-10-20, 01:15 PM
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I say when on a single speed you get only one gear and one beer.
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Old 07-10-20, 01:17 PM
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I've found as I get older, that I use my gears more. In fact, I'm pretty sure if someone built a 24 gear cassette that got me 11/75, I'd probably go for it.

In all honesty at pushing 62, I recently decided staying in the big ring until I was gassed was just getting stupid, so I've been embracing the small ring.
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Old 07-10-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
I say when on a single speed you get only one gear and one beer.
After a hard ss ride I usually require more than just one beer...
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Old 07-10-20, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
When I say "underbiking" I mean using a tool that makes the job HARDER. So, no surrendering here! No suspension either
Human nature being what it is, using a tool that makes the job harder can sometimes result in giving oneself permission to go easier, knowingly or otherwise. Doesn't sound as if that's happening with you, though!
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Old 07-10-20, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
I say when on a single speed you get only one gear and one beer.
Sounds about right.

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Old 07-10-20, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Sounds about right.

Now THAT'S a recovery drink!
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Old 07-10-20, 07:42 PM
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60 and my stable gives me several different options for whatever mood I'm in. If I want to play in TT mode then I just jump on the old TT bike, it's not set-up as aggressive as in days past. If I want to get simple then I roll out on the old single speed (52x15). If I want to be just regular then I pull out the standard road bike. I have two fat bikes one 26" and one 27.5", and a 29 plus bike for some trail riding which I do more and more. I've been thinking about getting a gravel bike or full suspension trail bike. Just haven't made up my mind and will be visiting the bike shop to get a demo of both soon.


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Old 07-10-20, 08:08 PM
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OP....I recently turned 60 too and rediscovered riding my 11yr old single speed roadbike (Langster).
I probably haven't ridden it in 5+ years but its now my Go To for solo rides. The familiar routes look a little different now as I enjoy the ride vs focusing on optimizing whatever gear I'm in....
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Old 07-11-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Maybe it's a desire for simplicity, focus, zen.....I find the older I get, the more I'm "underbiking". Just turned 60. I have a "modern" gravel bike, 1x11, tubeless, et al. I ride it everywhere I used to ride my MTBs, even some gnarly singletrack.
To me, this means that your "gnarly singletrack" simply isn't very gnarly.

Underbiking is awesome but really fun MTB trails would be insanely difficult to climb (lots of trials hopping on the tech ups, gearing is way too low) and not nearly as much fun coming down on my gravel bike.
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Old 07-11-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
To me, this means that your "gnarly singletrack" simply isn't very gnarly.

Underbiking is awesome but really fun MTB trails would be insanely difficult to climb (lots of trials hopping on the tech ups, gearing is way too low) and not nearly as much fun coming down on my gravel bike.
It's all relative of course. I just mean it's as gnarly as I've ever ridden on a MTB. I'm talking SoCal, San Gabriels, rocky, steep. I just go slower when necessary and pick my lines differently. Who knows, maybe I'll jones for another MTB one day - I can certainly see that possibility!
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