(March 18th 2012)
Mainly I’m wanting to cycle by myself, but I did ask around about some group rides, just for now and then. I had the following conversation with my local bike shop:
Me: Are you still running that bike ride starting at your shop tomorrow night.
Bike Shop: Yes. Come along. You’ve got a geared road bike, right?
Me: No, I’ve only got the fixed gear one. Can I still come along?
Bike Shop: Oh…… I suppose you could come along if you a bought a road bike today.
It seems that this particular cycling group do about 40miles, meduim hilly, in just over 2hrs, averaging 17-18mph…. Some of them have ridden fixed gear bikes before, and said they wouldn’t feel confident riding those routes on that type of bike.
Renowned coach Chris Carmichael says this of fixed gear training “Because your legs are constantly in motion, this type of riding provides much more aerobic benefit than geared-bike riding. An hour and a half to two hours of fixed-gear riding is equivalent to four hours of regular riding.”
So where does this leave me? Some riders boast that they can train along side road cyclists using their fixed gear bike. I’m sure I’m not ready for that yet. But where to start? I decided, having done 30miles ok a couple of weeks ago, I’d try a flattish terrain 50mile route. I chose the one used by the Force Charity Cycle ride every year, since it looked like it had been planned so that the whole 2nd half was kind of downhill. And I decided to do it with the freewheel on (Single Speed, rather than Fixed Gear), just to give myself a chance.
Well… it wasn’t as bad as the spanner incident (which you’ll be hearing about in good time, when I’m ready). The back wheel came loose twice… which is still kind of connected to spanners, but not in the same way. I also added lots of hills by going the wrong way a few times. I was surprised to find that some of the roads turned out to be potholes held together with gravel, and there was a moment of panic when I saw a sign saying “temporary road surface”. Despite my best efforts, I also completely messed up eating and went very shaky by the end of it. I’d assumed that eating beforehand, having a snack after a while, stopping for a meal half way, and then having a snack on the way back would suffice… Completely wrong. I should have just been constantly snacking on sweet things whilst riding, and having energy drinks too. But in the end, I was very proud to do the whole thing in 5hrs on the bike, plus about an hours worth or breaks on the way.
I think all of this confirms that I’m not quite up to usual road rider standards yet. Is there anyone else out there who’s had a go at riding these medium distances fixed gear/single speed? Does anyone know of a fixed gear cycle club round here?