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So Do People Tour with a Single Speed?

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So Do People Tour with a Single Speed?

Old 04-11-17, 11:10 PM
  #26  
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I ran a dinglespeed gearing setup for the southern tier route, high was 42-18, low was 39-20. Ran 39-20 all the way from San Diego to New Orleans except for one day with awesome tailwinds in west Texas. I don't mind spinning and that could hold around 16-17 mph with a nice high cadence.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:30 PM
  #27  
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I'm pretty much only in it for popularity reasons, yeah
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Old 04-12-17, 02:39 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I'm definitely NOT into the idea of a fixie. My legs are getting stronger, but I'm too old for that silliness now.
Can you explain this, along with how old you are? I cannot see how riding a single speed is any different from the fixed gear in terms of having the same gear... you have to go up the same hills in the same gear, and get going from a standing start the same.

If you are referring to braking with your legs, I've never done it because my fixies have had brakes from and rear. And if you are talking downhill, just use the brakes to feather the speed so you can cope with the cadence.

I also will let you into a little secret... there is a sort of "perpetual motion" thing that happens with fixed gears that doesn't happen with a single speed. It makes standing to pedal uphills easier than you would think.

And yes, I speak from experience having toured on fixed gear and done a Century a Month series with one.
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Old 04-12-17, 02:51 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Can you explain this, along with how old you are? I cannot see how riding a single speed is any different from the fixed gear in terms of having the same gear... you have to go up the same hills in the same gear, and get going from a standing start the same.

If you are referring to braking with your legs, I've never done it because my fixies have had brakes from and rear. And if you are talking downhill, just use the brakes to feather the speed so you can cope with the cadence.

I also will let you into a little secret... there is a sort of "perpetual motion" thing that happens with fixed gears that doesn't happen with a single speed. It makes standing to pedal uphills easier than you would think.

And yes, I speak from experience having toured on fixed gear and done a Century a Month series with one.
Guess I just haven't ridden fixed enough...I love single speed riding but also love the ability to coast, especially on a long tour. Being able to stretch the legs while riding as just one perk, I can think of plenty of things I do on the bike that would seemingly be harder whilst my legs are still spinning (eating, taking pictures, digging stuff out of frame bag, accessing and returning water bottles, etc)
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Old 04-12-17, 03:01 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by john_mct View Post
Guess I just haven't ridden fixed enough...I love single speed riding but also love the ability to coast, especially on a long tour. Being able to stretch the legs while riding as just one perk, I can think of plenty of things I do on the bike that would seemingly be harder whilst my legs are still spinning (eating, taking pictures, digging stuff out of frame bag, accessing and returning water bottles, etc)
Like a lot of things, it takes a bit of practice to do those things, preferably practising away from traffic and difficult situations such as a steep climb.

I find it interesting to hear people talk about resting their legs by coasting. It's not something that worries me. In fact, it can be beneficial... after a long hard climb, continuing to pedal on the downhill side will help remove the latic acid from the muscles faster, and in fact keep the legs "limber" (and old-fashioned word, but still evocative). I keep "ghost" pedalling on downhills when riding a geared bike for this same reason.
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Old 04-12-17, 04:25 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Can you explain this, along with how old you are? I cannot see how riding a single speed is any different from the fixed gear in terms of having the same gear... you have to go up the same hills in the same gear, and get going from a standing start the same.

If you are referring to braking with your legs, I've never done it because my fixies have had brakes from and rear. And if you are talking downhill, just use the brakes to feather the speed so you can cope with the cadence.

I also will let you into a little secret... there is a sort of "perpetual motion" thing that happens with fixed gears that doesn't happen with a single speed. It makes standing to pedal uphills easier than you would think.

And yes, I speak from experience having toured on fixed gear and done a Century a Month series with one.
Thank you for your candor, Rowan. I'm almost 59. I'll admit that I've never ridden a fixed gear, and now I suppose the right thing for me to do would be to try one. Its rather like saying that you don't like spinach, when you've never even tried it. Verdict: Guilty. I'll try a fixie when I get the opportunity.
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Old 04-12-17, 05:41 AM
  #32  
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Just to compare, I am now almost 62, and I've been riding fixed gear on and off for around 15 years. I have been using it more and more this year, although not loaded. But I do plan to do a century and maybe a 200 randonnee before the end of the year, and may even toss in a lightly loaded overnight tour.

As with a geared bike, picking the right chainring/cog combination is helpful. Along with brakes.
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Old 04-12-17, 12:40 PM
  #33  
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Heh! As a child in the '50s I rode a single speed bike with balloon tires and hub brakes. Now in 2017 we have at least four threads on the front page of BF extolling the virtues of each. We've come around a complete circle! I should have kept my childhood Evans-Colson. Complete with fatties, drum brake, gas tank, 36 spoke wheels, fenders, light and Jones bars!

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Old 04-12-17, 01:53 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Heh! As a child in the '50s I rode a single speed bike with balloon tires and hub brakes. Now in 2017 we have at least four threads on the front page of BF extolling the virtues of each. We've come around a complete circle! I should have kept my childhood Evans-Colson. Complete with fatties, drum brake, gas tank, 36 spoke wheels, fenders, light and Jones bars!


Sorry, but without hydraulic disc brakes you could not stop sufficiently and would die.
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Old 04-12-17, 02:44 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Sorry, but without hydraulic disc brakes you could not stop sufficiently and would die.
Nope. The brake on my Evans-Colson was a "direct chain link" driven system, stronger than any braided cable or hydraulic line. All brake components were internal in the hub, unaffected by rain or humidity. As kids we used to have trials, locking the brake up to see how far we could skid.

Last edited by BobG; 04-12-17 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 04-12-17, 03:24 PM
  #36  
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tRode a 5400 mile road trip back in 2014 single speed, chain tensioner on a regular road bike. Crossed the Appalachians going both directions with no problems. If I remember I was riding a 52x19 for the whole trip with 40 pounds of gear in a backpack.

After having the chain tensioner break on me in late February 2015 I came up with a slick way convert the road bike/vertical dropout over to a fixie and have been riding that bike fixie ever since, way north of 10,000 miles since the conversion.

I was going to do the bike trip in 2015 fixie but I ended up getting a heck of deal on a brand new 2010, never sold, Specialized Secteur that had the rackmounting options on it and I knew since I live by bike, not car for almost 7 years now, I needed a back up bike and only pay for $525 for a brand new bike with warranty, I couldn't be stupid and pass up the offer.

Yeah, I would do a fixed gear trip anywhere in the country. It just takes being in shape and learning how to route a trip so you avoid the worst of the climbing, even when you are routing from one day to the next and changing your trip agenda daily.
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Old 04-12-17, 04:03 PM
  #37  
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63yo fixed-gear rider here. Started at age 55 when I'd read that people were converting old ten-speeds and thought it sounded like a fun way to re-purpose my bicycle from 1970. Never looked back. It's my regular ride because I love the simplicity and the direct rider-bicycle-road connection.

This past summer I toured on that bike (39x18) and had a great time. The only downside is downhill! Grinding uphill or even pushing was not an issue for me. But I missed the downhill payback

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Old 04-12-17, 04:57 PM
  #38  
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I toured in England on a Quickbeam which can have a couple of gears.....but you have to stop and move the chain by hand and adjust the back wheel to tighten the chain.



here I am changing the gear before riding up onto the North Yorkshire Moors

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Old 04-12-17, 05:47 PM
  #39  
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Internal brakes

Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Nope. The brake on my Evans-Colson was a "direct chain link" driven system, stronger than any braided cable or hydraulic line. All brake components were internal in the hub, unaffected by rain or humidity. As kids we used to have trials, locking the brake up to see how far we could skid.
Agree! When I was a kid, most bicycles were single speed and had internal 'cone' brakes.
They were very efficient and could easily lock up the back wheel. Most bikes only had that
one brake.
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Old 04-12-17, 06:25 PM
  #40  
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Lew- Although my exchange with indyfabz was tongue in cheek, you have a good point about just one brake. The 50's coaster brakes were also powered by the quad muscles whereas rim and disc brakes are powered by fingers.

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Old 04-12-17, 06:33 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Lew, a good point about just one brake. The 50's coaster brakes were also powered by the quad muscles whereas rim and disc brakes are powered by fingers.
You just wait. I'll bet there are Illuminati engineers plotting designs to reintroduce coaster brakes as the next big thing.
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Old 04-13-17, 12:08 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
You just wait. I'll bet there are Illuminati engineers plotting designs to reintroduce coaster brakes as the next big thing.

The $4,000 Urban Racer from Speedvagen/Vanilla Bicycles released last year has a coaster brake.

http://www.thevanillaworkshop.com/sp...n-urban-racer/
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Old 04-13-17, 12:35 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
The $4,000 Urban Racer from Speedvagen/Vanilla Bicycles released last year has a coaster brake.

Urban Racer ? The Vanilla Workshop
I have now seen everything, at least for now.


BTW...The perfect fashion accessory for the Urban Racer owner:



Last edited by indyfabz; 04-13-17 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 04-13-17, 12:48 PM
  #44  
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I would not hesitate to tour with a simple 3 speed gear hub and 28" wheels. I'm not sure about single speed unless the terrain was particularly suited for it. Nun's post with pictures gave me a new thought though.
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Old 04-13-17, 01:03 PM
  #45  
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I don't find coaster brakes to be more efficient than rim or disc, but I wouldn't shy away from either if there were some compelling reason to use them.

In fact, I was thinking about building up a two-speed, auto (or kick-back) hub wheel, with coaster brake, for my World Troller. Reason being that if I were ever willing to settle for just two gears (Just spent a week bumming around Scottsdale/Phoenix and could have survived easily on 2 gears, or 1), it would greatly simplify the splitting, packing, and reassembly of the bike if I didn't have to rerun the brake and gear lines.

Used to love my old, Sears Tote-Cycle that was set up with a 3 speed and a coaster brake, but I never really toured on it, except one time when I was camping on an island, and left my car on the mainland, using my bike to get the gear over on the ferry. I don't think that counts.

I could see long descents being a problem.
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Old 04-13-17, 02:08 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
The $4,000 Urban Racer from Speedvagen/Vanilla Bicycles released last year has a coaster brake.

Urban Racer ? The Vanilla Workshop
That's a lot of cash for a bike with one $65 brake. I guess I'm not hipster enough to appreciate it. Thank God.
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Old 04-13-17, 02:31 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
You just wait. I'll bet there are Illuminati engineers plotting designs to reintroduce coaster brakes as the next big thing.
Heh! Back in 1965 Charles Siple, father of Adventure Cycling co-founder Greg Siple, was "plotting" a design for a stealthy drive motor hidden in the seat tube of a racing bicycle as the "next big thing". He wrote about the "Checkered Flag Special", including a detailed sketch, as an April Fool's article for Bicycling magazine that year...

Vintage Bicycling Illustration Shows Mechanical Doping in Pro Cycling as April Fool | Bicycling

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Old 04-13-17, 02:51 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Heh! Back in 1965 Charles Siple, father of Adventure Cycling co-founder Greg Siple, was "plotting" a design for a stealthy drive motor hidden in the seat tube of a racing bicycle as the "next big thing". He wrote about the "Checkered Flag Special", including a detailed sketch, as an April Fool's article for Bicycling magazine that year...

Vintage Bicycling Illustration Shows Mechanical Doping in Pro Cycling as April Fool | Bicycling
Some would call that prophetic.


I remember many years ago "Adventure Cyclist" totally got me with its April Fools book review of something like "The History of the Spoke Nipple". It was so convincing I truly believed that some bike techie geek (IIRC, the fake author was Swedish) would actually write such a book. The only reason I finally figured out it was a joke because a couple of the other joke pieces were easier to spot. Total face palm. I actually sent AC an email congratulating them. Someone wrote back and said they got a lot of messages from people saying they had been fooled as well.
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Old 04-13-17, 02:56 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by john_mct View Post
Did coast to coast earlier this year on an SS Vassago Fisticuff, roughly following the southern tier route west to east. Only walked one hill on the whole trip...

Of course, now I wanna know "which hill"? I know there's a couple of good ones just east of Alpine in San Diego County.
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Old 04-13-17, 05:12 PM
  #50  
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Subbed to this thread! I find that I am riding the Kilo more than my Tourist as the years go by. Just something about it. Maybe an over-nighter is in my future?
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