Gear increase in fitness

Discussion in 'Fixed Gear and Single Speed' started by Rupie, 21 Aug 2012.

  1. Rupie

    Rupie Senior Member

    I have riden geared bikes for years and cycle mainly around the cotswolds, where fixed would be no use. I have a Bianchi and normally go out and cover about 25 - 55miles, using the gears to keep my cadenance and heart beat within small range, for fitness, cycling on my own. Then I started working on the Olympics and by far the best way to get to work was cycling, not wanting to bring my expensive bike to London, I bought a cheap single speed machine. It is 4miles each way to work and i did it every day, including weekends, for 4 weeks. Being fairlly sensible i did not jump every red light or dart on and off the pavements to reduce my stationary time, some would say this takes away the fun of the machine but it meant I had lots of starts from being stationary. And I wore a helmet, which doesn't look cool on one. But I loved it.
    My point is that when I got home I went out on my usual bike and could not believe the increase it made in the power I could deliver, both in acceleation and climbing hills. Over 40miles it made a big difference to my times and average speed.
    I'm back for the Paralympics and cannot wait to commute to work again for the next month.
     
    djb1971 likes this.
  2. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    They are good fixed - certainly improved my cadence when back on the road bike.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Rupie

    Rupie Senior Member

    Mine wont go above 20mph, In terms of fitness do you think its best to stop/start and accelerate or keep things constant ?
     
  4. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    Start and stop. Fit a bigger gear or pedal faster. What chain ring/sprocket do yo have.

    I've got 46 x 16 which is about 77" and good for 24-25 mph on the flat.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Rupie

    Rupie Senior Member

    Pedal faster! My old legs won't go round any quicker.
    Can't find out gear ratio til tomorrow but will find out
     
  6. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    Congratulations for getting into it.

    I live near the cotswolds and run 69" gearing.

    Really, I think fixed helps whether you do steady-state or stop-start. If you like it, it will help you.

    Some don't like it and that's fine.

    My cruising speed on the flat is 19.5 to 21 mph and my brain-out descending speed is around 34-35 mph.

    Choose your gearing to suit the hills where you'll be riding.

    I too spend most of my time on geared bikes, but the fun of fixed is priceless and the fitness, souplesse and speed benefits are real.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Rupie

    Rupie Senior Member

    46x18 and the benefits are real. If I was winter training i would go out short distances twice a day. being stocky build I do not have the tall personal frame to gluide along the flat ay 35mph but I do have the power to fire up the hills and this is great training.
     
  8. zigzag

    zigzag Veteran

    single geared bike puts you out of comfort zone more often and that's where fitness gain comes from
     
  9. tyred

    tyred Legendary Member

    Location:
    Ireland
    Single speed or fixed is great fun, works wonders for fitness and is low maintenance.

    My personal advice would be not to go much above 70" unless you live somewhere very flat or have a hugely powerful pair of legs. The important point is that you are able to comfortably spin the gear on the flat at 85 rpm+. If you're not, you are over geared.
     
    MrGrumpy likes this.
  10. antonypo

    antonypo Regular

    mmm. interesting. I have a specialized triple and have already thought what a waste of gears i never use! having said that i do NEED SOME for really hilly parts on my run and could not comprehend a fixed speed because of that. I or anyone would surely have to get off their bike for steep hills or avoid them because of the bike - which removes the freedom of cycling doesn't it? I can see the power improving though. After watching an older guy fly past me the other week, I watched his back sprocked as he was flying up a small hill. He did not change gear. So I though to myself lesson learned. If possible keep in small back gear if poss and improve power. I can say in a small amount of runs out my power (if not overall speed) has improved and I now get up inclines easier. NOW FOR THE SPEED!
     
  11. Old Plodder

    Old Plodder Living at the top of a steep 2 mile climb

    Interval training is the key to improving fitness.
    Some times ride hard, sometimes ride casually; & occasionally feel as if you're busting your lungs or legs, but don't ever overdo it.
     
    Drago likes this.
  12. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    Location:
    East Devon
    Living in Devon and often riding fixed, I'm interested in the notion that fixed is no use in the Cotswolds. It definitely helps me improve fitness, in part because of the hills. If you don't gear too high it also helps with suppleness and pedalling technique.
     
  13. Pennine-Paul

    Pennine-Paul Goth on a bike............

    I started out riding fixed on a 72 ",now 4 years later I'm a lot fitter and I ride 77" in the
    hills and 87" on the flat,
     
  14. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Huge Member

    Location:
    Fly Fifer
    I switched to 48x16 setup by default earlier this year and its actually no bother, certainly builds the legs! Was toying with the idea of putting my old 105 chainset on and the 42 ring on the front but feel I`d maybe be a bit too spinney now.
     
  15. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Huge Member

    Location:
    Fly Fifer

    Just chucked my stats into http://software.bareknucklebrigade.com/rabbit.applet.html and found out my average rpm is 70 odd on a 48x16.
     
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