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Hills & Single Speed bikes!

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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)

Hills & Single Speed bikes!

Old 02-14-11, 03:18 PM
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Hills & Single Speed bikes!

Hello,

I am curious as why anyone would consider or enjoy a single speed bike. I know, having a single speed has many advantages over geared bikes, but how do you cope with hilly terrains? Or is it that most of you live in flat areas?

I have a 7 speed utility bike, which sometimes makes me wish the bike had more lower gears to cope with some of the hills. I live in Maryland, which is relatively hilly, but not really as bad as many other hilly areas (eg PA).

Anyhoo...are you all expert bikers? Strong legs? Or what is it you enjoy so much about single speed bikes?

Please share your opinion.

Thank you

Last edited by sonnetg; 02-14-11 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:02 PM
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Where in MD do you live? If you are close you are welcome to come ride my bike (singlespeed or as a fixed gear) then you'll understand.

Edit: to answer your question- you just keep pedaling to get up and over the hills. It's a good workout but very do-able even by people with only a moderate level of fitness.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:04 PM
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How do I cope?
I don't cope man, I just do it, they're hills, deal with it.

If not, get a car.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:06 PM
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Well, you see, here on SSFG, we don't actually ride bikes. We just put them together and use them for mock photoshoots.

Occasionally, take them out and walk them to the local cafe.

Last edited by rustybrown; 02-14-11 at 04:06 PM. Reason: brought to you by the missing letter 'M'
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Old 02-14-11, 04:11 PM
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Yeah, the only reason I built a fixed gear was for appearances.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:15 PM
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Strength, stamina, and endurance.

All I needed when I moved over here to hilly san diego was a a lower gear ratio swap to the drive train.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:16 PM
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hills are relatively easy, you push yourself up and youre at the top. Fixed gears have an advantage over single speed because you already have a forward momentum. but then again I can only ride for 20 minutes then I need a smoke break. hipzen it up bro
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Old 02-14-11, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CamelDane
but then again I can only ride for 20 minutes then I need a smoke break. hipzen it up bro
That's not good....
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Old 02-14-11, 04:40 PM
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yeah the whole hill thing worried me when I convereted my old ten speed. now whenever I see a hill I just hit the drops and accelerate as much as I can so I hit it at max speed then push through and once I start slowing down I'll stand and push some more and if the hill is steep enough I guess you have to start zig zaggin or walk the rest. I live in LA though, where the hills are all short and sweet cuz once you make it up theres a nice down hill to bomb

this is all with a 46:17 gear ratio. if thats high or low idk. someone tell me haha. no sarcasm
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Old 02-14-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by sonnetg
I am curious as why anyone would consider or enjoy a single speed bike.
Try it, then come back and talk. That's the best advice I can give.

It's a different mindset when riding a single speed. You have two gears: sitting in the saddle and standing on the pedals. You learn to use momentum to help you get up the hills, and when momentum is gone you learn the importantance of good balance as you "walk" up the hill like working out on a stair stepper. You learn to coast down the other side and say "Weeeeeeee!" because you top out your cadence pretty quickly.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-14-11, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bikessuck
this is all with a 46:17 gear ratio. if thats high or low idk. someone tell me haha. no sarcasm
It's a little higher than mine- 46:18. It's lower gearing than what people would run in the velodrome, but not doesn't top out too quickly. Pretty good all-around gearing.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-14-11, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rustybrown
Well, you see, here on SSFG, we don't actually ride bikes. We just put them together and use them for mock photoshoots.

Occasionally, take them out and walk them to the local cafe.

You just described me...lol. I sometimes wished all my bikes were dinted and scratched up and fugly...

Last edited by sonnetg; 02-14-11 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 02-14-11, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan
Where in MD do you live? If you are close you are welcome to come ride my bike (singlespeed or as a fixed gear) then you'll understand.

Edit: to answer your question- you just keep pedaling to get up and over the hills. It's a good workout but very do-able even by people with only a moderate level of fitness.

Hey, Thanks so much for the offer. I normally use my bike on 5th gear (my 7 speed), but occasionally, I need to use 2nd or 3rd gear for uphill climb. I did have some bad experience with my muscle cramping up while climbing uphill. I guess I need to practice a lot more (i did try gatorade and bananas, but that does help much with hills .

I live in Towson, MD. I often ride on the NCR all the way to New Freedom, PA. It was difficult at first, but now it's very easy.

The reason I was asking, I may convert a bike to single speed cause I am tired of rear derailleurs, and I already have two multi-speed bikes. I could use a single speed for working out my leg muscles and just as a spare bike.

Cheers
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Old 02-14-11, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie
Try it, then come back and talk. That's the best advice I can give.

It's a different mindset when riding a single speed. You have two gears: sitting in the saddle and standing on the pedals. You learn to use momentum to help you get up the hills, and when momentum is gone you learn the importantance of good balance as you "walk" up the hill like working out on a stair stepper. You learn to coast down the other side and say "Weeeeeeee!" because you top out your cadence pretty quickly.
Yeah. Standing up really helps uphill. I need to try it more often.

There were times when i went 2 m/hr uphill with a geared bike, I guess it's better to just get off the bike and push if that is the case. I will be faster that way :-)
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Old 02-14-11, 05:41 PM
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hills/climbing have become one of my favorite parts of riding fixed. Anything over a moderate climb and I'm in trouble. But other then that i'm getting into excellent shape. Just recently I beat someone in pretty decent shape up a hill, he was riding a road bike, I was on my 48/17 fixed.
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Old 02-14-11, 05:45 PM
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Being a newbie to ridding fixed, all I can say is there is different feel to the ride. Meaning that my bike seems to run easier due to the lack of resistance of the derailer and extra chain. Of course I am running a mild 42/18 which some here will call me a wuss for, but I like it and can handle the hills. So I don't go as fast as a higher ratio, but for all around town, it works good for me. Before I decided on what I wanted, I did some research and found 2 of the guys at the local shop who run the same gearing.

Tom
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Old 02-14-11, 05:55 PM
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48x16 up hill, both ways everyday.

That was when I lived in Portland; I need a lower ratio before my knees explode.
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Old 02-14-11, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by avner
hills/climbing have become one of my favorite parts of riding fixed.
This--I've become a serious glutton for punishment since I began riding fixed. There's probably a narcissistic aspect to that feeling, i.e. "OMG I'm soooo strong!" But yeah, feels good man.
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Old 02-14-11, 06:42 PM
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48x17 fixed here... I think you need to try it and then you will understand... The tough part is not going UP the hill, it's going down the other side (on the fixed gear).

train safe-
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Old 02-14-11, 07:01 PM
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1. stand up and pedal
2. dismount and walk
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Old 02-14-11, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by streetdude
There's probably a narcissistic aspect to that feeling, i.e. "OMG I'm soooo strong!" But yeah, feels good man.
hahaha yeah everytime I'm at the bottom of a long or steep hill I think it's the scariest sight ever. then I climb it and once I make it to the top I feel all accomplished haha.

I recently tried climbing a hill on a friends road bike and I failed miserably. he had down tube shifters though, kinda hard to use IMO.
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Old 02-14-11, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by buelito
The tough part is not going UP the hill, it's going down the other side (on the fixed gear).
Am i missing something? Why would gliding down be tough? Hit the brakes and go a bit slower, no? [something, which i hate doing. My max speed going downhill was 42 m/hr. I had to keep a safe distance from the car in front of me though. It kept hitting the brakes].
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Old 02-14-11, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by macnab
1. stand up and pedal
2. dismount and walk
I am still not very comfortable standing up and riding on most roads. It's not my riding, but it seems the car drivers are freaked out and keep honking. It can get annoying, so I just sit and ride.....but on trails I love standing and riding. It's not only easy on your calf muscles, but your butt is very happy when you do that..
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Old 02-14-11, 07:40 PM
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Diamond quads. Skip iron quads. Just buy your self some diamond quads and you'll be soooo strong.
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Old 02-14-11, 08:01 PM
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This is super awesome, I wish I had one. Richmond has some very long climbs...

https://www.rivbike.com/products/show...eewheel/13-082
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