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Minor Adjustment: Significant Results

by on January 7, 2013

It’s a Fixie thing.

Those of you who have ridden only geared bikes may have a hard time understanding.  I know when I’m riding geared, I’m shifting without even apparent conscious thought.  There is a comfortable cadence and shifting up or down to maintain that cadence is second nature.  Not so on the Fixie.

It is one gear, all the time, up hill or down.  The trick is to find the right gear for the riding conditions and vary the cadence appropriately.

Last year, I chose a 46/16 gear ratio as I was contemplating a 115 mile ride across the Eastern Shore.  It was a flat route and doing 20 mph with a 90 rpm cadence seemed just right.  I continued to ride that gearing into the fall and winter, but have been struggling with it as of late.  Friday, when I cleaned and lubed my bike, I flipped the wheel over to the 46/17 gearing and this morning’s ride was the first in this configuration for a while.

Most simply put, one extra tooth drops me from 20 mph at 90 rpm to about 19 mph for the same cadence.  This makes uphill easier and downhill either slower or with a much faster cadence.

I liked the difference.  Now, we had a fast pace this morning with 10 riders out, 40° F, and no patience for a “Mosey Monday”.  I still achieved 35.4 mph on a fast stretch with my legs spinning to a blur (165 rpm).  I drifted off the back at times, struggling with all this extra weight I’m carrying.  But the result was that my legs felt the burn and I increased my overall speed from what it has been the past few months.  That’s right, “shifting” down increased my speed.

It was a good morning to be out and riding.

This Morning’s Ride: 20.4 miles
Month: 100 miles
2013: 100 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 19,872.9 miles

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From → Fixie

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