Fixed Gear Long Distance



valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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Hey guys!

I'm thinking about a ride from Phoenix, AZ to Mission Beach, San Diego, CA. Never done a ride like this but I'm really up for the challenge and am just looking for as much advice as possible to keep me safe and out of trouble.

I ride a Specialized Langster (fixed gear). I know, sounds like a horrible idea when it comes to the mountain pass, but the challenge is why it's tempting!

Any of you guys ride fixed gear long distance?
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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FWIW. If I were even close to being up to the challenge, since I am a Wuss, I would probably put a 32t chainring on the front & use a 13t "Fixed" cog from an old Shimano Hyperdrive (?) cassette (i.e., the last cog threaded on the Freehub body) ...

AND, I would strongly consider putting a 22t ACS or 23t (¿[COLOR=686868]Phil Wood[/COLOR]?) [COLOR=3300FF]FREEWHEEL[/COLOR] on the other side of the Flip-Flop hub for the up-and-down portions of the ride ...

ALSO, I would try to figure out a way to mount a rear derailleur hanger (maybe, one of the bolt-on hangers from the 70s-and-before) + an appropriate chain tensioner ...

BTW. I know that the SGS cage on a Shimano "Rapid Rise" rear derailleur might be able to handle the difference in the chain ... if necessary. greater capacity can be achieved by swapping the 11t pulley wheels with 13t pulley wheels.

  • I don't think that the STOPS on a "regular" rear derailleur can be adjusted to 'lock' the parallelogram far enough inward, BTW, to use as a chain tensioner on a Single Speed
 

valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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alfeng: You've definitely given me a lot of good things to consider. Thank you for your advice!
 

valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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Swampy1970: I really don't know to tell you the truth. I was thinking about taking the 8 but would like to talk to someone who has already made the trip.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by valentin84 .

Swampy1970: I really don't know to tell you the truth. I was thinking about taking the 8 but would like to talk to someone who has already made the trip.
You do know it's illegal and extremely dangerous to ride on a freeway. The shoulder of a freeway is one of the most dangerous places to be on a highway.
 

Nukuhiva

Active Member
Jul 14, 2004
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Never mind the gears.
Get all the blinky lights, reflective vests, strips and doodads you can possibly plaster all over yourself and the bike, reflectors on everything that can be reflected, one or more of those flags that stick WAY up, some tires that won't immediately blow up when they hit dirt and practice wiping out, mostly to your right (= out of the way). Elbow pads may not be a bad idea.
Appreciate the fact that anything larger than a dualie pickup can suck you into their draft (or throw you) when they rocket past you going 80 in a 55.
Research your route very, very carefully and get ready to be honked at, yelled at, spit on and bombarded with bottles, cans and other debris, not to mention the gravel their tires will throw into your face.
Whenever possible, take the access roads, state roads, dirt trails, etc. rather than larger highways.
 

Andrew Pancroft

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Feb 16, 2010
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I ride my fixie all over Denver. Gets kinda tough on some hills - I ride 46/13. Couple weeks back, I was climbing Lookout Mtn on my road bike - 4 -9% grades - and a fellow shot right past me going up on a fixie. WHen I got to the top, he was there...riding 46/15!! Animal!!!
 

coolcamaro12

New Member
Apr 22, 2012
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Why in the world would you ride a fixed gear long distance? You would always be in the wrong gear. I think tht is just torchure with all of the mountain passes. Just go buy a bike with gearing on it as that would be much more suitable for long distance
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by coolcamaro12 .

Why in the world would you ride a fixed gear long distance? You would always be in the wrong gear. I think tht is just torchure with all of the mountain passes. Just go buy a bike with gearing on it as that would be much more suitable for long distance
That's a bit like saying "Why in the world would you have spelling errors in a post when you have a spellchecker handy?"

"torchure"... indeed it is.
 

veteranmaxi

New Member
Feb 17, 2015
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I agree with everybody else that is a little crazy to do long distance on a single speed. But then again, that's exactly why people like us want to do these things, because it's just a little crazy and worth it. I would recommend that you check up on the laws and regulations of riding depending on where your travelling through, simply because it would really suck if one small problem would ruin your whole trip.
 
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welshdude3

Member
Jul 6, 2015
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pittsburgh
http://www.amazon.com/Around-World-Bicycle-Fred-Birchmore/dp/1887813128

Having read the above it would seem to put your ride in perspective. There are also stories of people riding 'ordinary' or 'penny farthing' bicycles for long distances in the mid to late 19th century. So, it isn't as if what you're proposing to do hasn't been done before.

So, I say go for it. Make your gearing a compromise between climbing and decending. In climbing one can always do switchbacks or the 'hike of shame' on tougher hills.

Ultimately, it's YOUR dream. Your adventure. Tailor it to suit yourself. Check Googlemaps for an elevation, gradient % for the trip to know where your physical stress points will be.

Afa riding distance fixed I regularly ride from my home to a little coffeeshop in town. It's 80 miles rt, but 1/3 of it's on a bike trail. And I've done numerous 100-150 mile rides on my fg.
 

welshdude3

Member
Jul 6, 2015
126
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pittsburgh
RetrogradeCustoms said:
A couple of my friends did the ALS ride on Langsters.
This reminds me. In 2009 there was a Wounded Warrior Ride in Franklin, TN. Many vets were riding specially designed cycles according to their injuries.

Out of 1500+ people I was the only person on fixed. The route covered an area I had ridden hundreds of times on my fg so I knew the terrain really well as I lived in the area. An old Fuji Del Rey conversion was/is my fg ride.

There were several cycling teams that DEFINATLEY were racing. So, I thought WTH, give it a shot. Probably 200 people were racing over and above the 4-5 teams. Finished 111th. I'd never be in any sort of competitive environment while cycling before. One guy rolled up afterward on a 4,000.00 Litespeed and laughingly told me every time he'd look back and he hadn't dropped me it crushed his spirit. lol

Btw, the distance was 58 miles.
 
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