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The Next Big Thing

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

The Next Big Thing

Old 04-14-21, 05:16 AM
  #1  
Colorado Kid
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The Next Big Thing

According to those in the know, the next "Hot" thing is to tour on a Fixed Gear. Touring on a FG is done super light and fast. Has anyone tried touring on a FG?
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Old 04-14-21, 02:16 PM
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I haven't. However, back in the day, it was a regular thing for club riders or "road men". Fixed was just another way of riding. They was 'ard in them days.

A chap fairly recently went round the world on a 36 inch "fixed" unicycle with all his camping gear. With sufficient determination, these things can be achieved.

There's no practical reason to choose fixed for touring, which is no doubt why some people will.

I'd certainly give it a go if time allowed.
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Old 04-14-21, 04:27 PM
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Clearly, "hot" is a relative term.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:36 PM
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I did sub24 trip on my single speed/fixed gear randocross funtime machine a while back and had a blast. However I have a lovely touring bike for actual long distance touring.
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Old 04-14-21, 09:05 PM
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A few years back I did a solo 4 day, 400 mile ride Minneapolis to Grand Portage on a gorgeous Klein Quantum Pro full Dura Ace...so proud of myself till the next morning I met a kid who had done the same ride, leaving/arriving at the exact same days...only he did it on a Surly fixie....said he had to walk up a lot of the hills. So then I was just proud of him...if thatís what at least some of the Millennials are doing, God bless them! He had a set of panniers that worked well to keep the weight low, only they werenít waterproof...so that was his take-away lesson.
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Old 04-15-21, 09:05 AM
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Several weeks ago I got this idea for a fun ride and have been preparing and planning ever since, fully intent on making it happen. Iíll probably go either in the next month or this fall...

I want to ride around the circumference of Utahís Great Salt Lake, on my single speed. (Technically, itís a two speed. I have an All City Nature Boy with a double crank and White Industries Dos freewheel.) Itís about 300 miles, including some long stretches on dirt or gravel. Challenges posed by this tour include the following:

- In the summer itís very hot and dry.

- In the spring it can be too muddy to allow safe passage over some stretches.

- In the winter it gets miserably cold, wet, and/or muddy.

- There are long stretches with no fresh water sources. Like, not even if you can filter or boil it... no water.

- Rattlesnakes are abundant.

- Some of the route includes very rough, jagged, or thorny terrain. Itís brutal on tires.

- Cell phone service is spotty, with no signal over a few stretches.

- You have to cross an Air Force test and training range, where restrictions are enforced. Passage is allowed, but you canít leave the road and canít stop to camp.

The thing that makes it doable on a single speed:

- Elevation profile is pretty flat.

The reason I want to take my single speed:

- Itís my only bike thatís reasonably close to being set up for any kind of touring.

I will take four or five days to complete the route, and go fully self-supported. Because I need camping gear, food, and lots of water, Iím towing a trailer. I donít want to try packing everything on the bike. Iíve done a few shakedown rides to see how the bike handles pulling this much weight, and how I handle it. It will not be light or fast, but actually quite slow. Iím convinced I can do it though.

Iíve explored parts of the route in years past by truck and motorcycle, but never done the complete loop, and Iíve never done any bikepacking or bicycle touring. It should be a real adventure.

Last edited by Broctoon; 04-15-21 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 04-15-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Several weeks ago I got this idea for a fun ride and have been preparing and planning ever since, fully intent on making it happen. Iíll probably go either in the next month or this fall...

I want to ride around the circumference of Utahís Great Salt Lake, on my single speed. (Technically, itís a two speed. I have an All City Nature Boy with a double crank and White Industries Dos freewheel.) Itís about 300 miles, including some long stretches on dirt or gravel. Challenges posed by this tour include the following:

- In the summer itís very hot and dry.

- In the spring it can be too muddy to allow safe passage over some stretches.

- In the winter it gets miserably cold, wet, and/or muddy.

- There are long stretches with no fresh water sources. Like, not even if you can filter or boil it... no water.

- Rattlesnakes are abundant.

- Some of the route includes very rough, jagged, or thorny terrain. Itís brutal on tires.

- Cell phone service is spotty, with no signal over a few stretches.

- You have to cross an Air Force test and training range, where restrictions are enforced. Passage is allowed, but you canít leave the road and canít stop to camp.

The thing that makes it doable on a single speed:

- Elevation profile is pretty flat.

The reason I want to take my single speed:

- Itís my only bike thatís reasonably close to being set up for any kind of touring.

I will take four or five days to complete the route, and go fully self-supported. Because I need camping gear, food, and lots of water, Iím towing a trailer. I donít want to try packing everything on the bike. Iíve done a few shakedown rides to see how the bike handles pulling this much weight, and how I handle it. It will not be light or fast, but actually quite slow. Iím convinced I can do it though.

Iíve explored parts of the route in years past by truck and motorcycle, but never done the complete loop, and Iíve never done any bikepacking or bicycle touring. It should be a real adventure.
Now this should be its own string...in some sort of Ďhow would you do it?í forum. Assuming 6 days (50/day due to mud, air force protocol, etc.), early summer, and no (!?) water..... how many gallons of water would you plan to carry? Iíd guess .... 5?
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Old 04-15-21, 11:07 AM
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I want to average at least 60 miles per day and finish in four or five days.

Iíll take three gallons of water, both for drinking and cooking my freeze dried meals. There is water available along half to two-thirds of the route, so in that sense I wonít be truly unsupported. Itís the hundred-ish miles along the west side of the lake that gets desolate.

I live on the east shore of the lake, about midway along its north-south length, so I will start and end at home.

I will probably do it solo. Iím not opposed to riding with a buddy, but donít know anyone whoís keen to join me.

Iíve been studying lots of maps and thinking about what I need to take for tools, first aid, and camping gear.

My trailer has been mostly packed for weeks, but Iím not able to leave just yet, because of work and family responsibilities. If I donít get it done in the next 30 days, Iíll probably have to wait until fall, because I donít want to go during the hot months.

For avoiding snakes, I should have gone before now because Iím hearing theyíre already active. They stay in the ground through the winter.

I have also been reading notes from people whoíve ridden this route. Several years ago, two guys did it on geared bikes and wrote about it here.

Two guys made a successful trip around, hugging the shoreline, with fat bikes and pack rafts. Another attempted it on a fat bike but was only able to do a few sections. I will not try sticking to the shore, but will take roads which more or less follow the lake but sometimes diverge from it by several miles, like the guys linked above.

My apologies to the OP for hijacking his thread. That was not my intent, but in hindsight see I probably should have put all this somewhere else.

Last edited by Broctoon; 04-15-21 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 04-15-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Iíve explored parts of the route in years past by truck and motorcycle, but never done the complete loop, and Iíve never done any bikepacking or bicycle touring. It should be a real adventure.
Sounds like it will be a great adventure ó and worth a write up here when you've finished.

Gear down with all that rough ground and extra weight. If your ratio is too low, the worst that can happen is you go slowly. If your ratio is too high, the worst that can happen is you have to walk sections of rough or steep ground.
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Old 04-15-21, 03:09 PM
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Not a FG....but this guy rode around the world on a SS in 2015-2016
https://bikepacking.com/plog/around-...d-singlespeed/
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Old 04-15-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Sounds like it will be a great adventure ó and worth a write up here when you've finished.

Gear down with all that rough ground and extra weight. If your ratio is too low, the worst that can happen is you go slowly. If your ratio is too high, the worst that can happen is you have to walk sections of rough or steep ground.
The smallest chainring I can get for my 130 BCD crank is 39 teeth. So I have 39x19 low gear and 41x17 high. (56 and 65 gear inches). I've been testing it on local rides with ballast in the trailer and panniers to represent the weight of gear I plan to take. So far so good. If I decide I will need lower ratios for the rough unpaved sections, my only choice will be to get a different crank.

There are already lots of jackrabbits in the area, so I'm going to be a tortoise. I plan to enjoy the scenery and solitude, with an understanding that I'll get there eventually... even if it takes all day (times five). But I'm also evaluating my ability to tolerate 5-8 hours a day in the saddle. Even at low exertion, I know I will get fatigued just by sitting on the bike for that long.
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Old 04-16-21, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
The smallest chainring I can get for my 130 BCD crank is 39 teeth. So I have 39x19 low gear and 41x17 high. (56 and 65 gear inches). I've been testing it on local rides with ballast in the trailer and panniers to represent the weight of gear I plan to take. So far so good. If I decide I will need lower ratios for the rough unpaved sections, my only choice will be to get a different crank.
That sounds well planned. You don't want to go much lower than 56. 65 is a good general ratio. I'm running 63 inches on my fixed at the moment. It works well on unmade tracks and rough ground and is fast enough for the road. There is only one local hill I can't get up, and I can spin along merrily most of the time and can briefly hit anywhere between 25 and just over 30 mph on short descents. Not bad for a 58 year old with a "sedimentary" job.

I hope you enjoy your adventure.
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Old 04-16-21, 09:52 PM
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The next 'big' thing? Ok...guess it depends on your idea of 'big'...
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