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What does one gear do for your training?(11 posts)

What does one gear do for your training?LC
Nov 13, 2002 12:49 PM
I am just starting out with a SS and have only ridden it for a few weeks. It would seem that it would increase leg strength and spin, but the big dog type Cat 2 racers I asked did not seem to think it would help much. Anyway, it is still hell of fun to ride so I plan to use it at least once or twice a week. Does anyone use it as a recovery only bike?
re: What does one gear do for your training?RedPat
Nov 13, 2002 1:23 PM
A lot of riders will tell you it improves your spin speed. In reality, at least for me, it increases my control of my spin. I can feel the muscles in my shin reacting to the effort of "staying on top of the gear". Also, for me, it's more about strength and muscular endurance than spinning, but I've always had a pretty decent fast spin. Recovery? Not around here! Too many hills! It works nicely on the rollers for recovery, though. Mostly, it's about fun. My fixie is far and away the lightest bike in the stable, and rides very nicely. It's a blast to ride, a whole different kind of riding experience.
Broadens your powerband ...Humma Hah
Nov 13, 2002 1:32 PM
In the beginning, there were only fixies. The riders would slog up hills, and spin out going down the other side, and figure, "Hmmm, maybe things would be better if I had gears"

So somebody tried, and, sure enough, you could do a LITTLE better if you could match the gearing to the conditions of the moment. So suddenly the racing community HAD to have gears, the more the merrier. In short order, riders became dependent on them. Today, most folks are amazed that its even POSSIBLE to ride singlespeed. The myth has it that human legs are only capable of turning cranks at about 80-100 RPM.

What was lost is this dirty little secret: if you have been training singlespeed or fixed, gears give you an advantage, but if you train only with gears, and don't force yourself to develop power and speed the way you do singlespeed, it is likely that all you've done is fail to develop your full powerband.

A singlespeeder can power up a hill at 30 RPM cadence, or sprint at up to maybe 160 rpm. He has great strength AND great speed, which gearing can extend. A gearie who lacks that strength and high-speed spin will typically never put out the climbing power a singlespeeder will, and will spin out early in a sprint when he runs out of gears.
In the beginning, there were only fixies . . .micha
Nov 16, 2002 2:52 AM
. . . without brakes. From a 1908 German cycling manual (my translation):

"The practice of breaking off tree limbs and tying them to the bicycle to slow your descent is not only uncivilized, but also illegal. If you cannot slow your bicycle sufficiently by back-pedaling, or are afraid of spinning out, walk your bicycle downhill."

As Humma Ha said, everyone rode fixed. That's all there was.
Leg speedAlex-in-Evanston
Nov 13, 2002 1:52 PM
My club does fixed gear rides in late winter/early spring. Gearing is 42/18. Long rides with that tiny gear makes you feel like an uncaged beast when you finally gear up.

Alex
Sometime suprising things.MB1
Nov 14, 2002 6:47 AM
This year I noticed how much harder it has been for me to keep up with Miss M on the downhills. We talked about it and she said that all our miles riding Single Speed (not fixed) really improved her downhill skills since she couldn't fool around for most of the downhill and just crank it at the bottom for a minute or two and catch up with everyone. Now she glides downhill nice and smooth and fast all the way.

I think riding SS helps my spin more than riding fixed-I don't worry about cranking the SS up to some crazy rpm on a downhill (or anywhere for that matter) since I'll beable to coast out of it. Really high rpms fixed can get really wobbly and hard to recover from so I am more careful riding fixed about not really spinning out.
Yeah, when you were riding fixed ...Humma Hah
Nov 14, 2002 12:30 PM
... I'd find myself struggling to keep up on the hills, and then tapping the brakes coming downhill to keep from shooting by you.

After working up a nice 1200-ft hill, I think it would really tick me off to not be able to coast down the other side. I figure I've earned the right to tuck in and see how fast I can get it to go.
Sometime suprising things.look271
Nov 14, 2002 3:50 PM
But don't you think that even spinning a crazy rpm on the fixed, even if your legs are basically just along for the ride, helps acclamate (sp?) your muscles to a higher rpm so that when you really need to spin fast, your muscles will "remember" that ability? I think that I've found that to be true this year riding a fixed for the first time. I'm able to spin alot faster, easier, than I could in the past, not to mention the fact that it has helped me be able to push a larger gear while climbing. Well, that settles it; it's a fixed (or maybe SS) ride tomorrow! =)
I'll get to higher rpms SS than I will fixed.MB1
Nov 14, 2002 5:37 PM
Because I know I can coast anytime. I've done 32.5mph fixed with a 42/16, 34mph spinning the SS with a 42/17.

After you get up to those really high rpms fixed you have to stay there for a while (or brake).

After riding both on tour for 700+ miles we came to the conclusion that fixed is more efficient and smoother for steady riding but you can't go quite as crazy fixed as you can SS.

Of course there is probably nothing crazier (and crazy fun) than fixte in the dirt (I'll have to do a photo essay-soon).
You're probably right.look271
Nov 14, 2002 6:40 PM
I haven't flipped the wheel yet this year-had too much fun on the fixed side. I think I'll do a SS ride tomorrow to check it out. There is a hill here that I've hit 34,5 on the 42x17 fixed. Now THAT was crazy. (Not really sure if it was fun though!=) )
Well, I had to do it.look271
Nov 15, 2002 1:06 PM
Flipped the wheel and went for a SS ride on the Bianchi. Easier than the fixte, for sure, but fun nonetheless. I did hit an incline that I couldn't climb (my back has been bothering me this week-that's me excuse, and I'm sticking to it!), but had a great ride. I think I'll ride it like this for a while-this way I can climb stuff that I normally would avoid on the fixte. May get a larger freewheel-an 18 perhaps.