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Why Ride Fixed? How Fixed Gear Cycling Can Improve Performance
Fixed gear cycling for fitness
Fixie's have become popular...
...although their popularity in many cases has been through fashion. In many cases manufacturers have jumped onto the bandwagon and produced fixed gear bicycles which are simply a fashion statement. Whereas a true cyclist is looking for function as well as forme.
So why should you consider riding a fixed gear bicycle to improve your fitness?
Fixed Gears have been around since the bicycle began
I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?
We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!
Henri Desgrange, L'Équipe 1902
Low maintenance costs and fixed gear bikes
A singlespeed bike means that you have fewer working parts as part of your bike's drivechain. You don't have the worry of having to adjust your gearing.
All you simply need to do is keep your tyres inflated, chain lubed up and replace chains and sprokets as the wear over time.
This all saves your wallet in the long term versus the additional costs of a geared bike.
Fixed Gear- Fitness and Fashion
Singlespeed bikes are great for winter cycling
In the winter you don't want anything to go wrong with your bike. The fewer working parts on a fixed wheel bike mean that you don't need to worry and can get one with riding.
Twice as fit in half the time- training on a fixed gear bike
When you train on a fixed gear bicycle your legs are constantly turning- you simply can't stop pedalling. Why you ride a geared bike you can coast when you wish to. Especially when going downhill. Riding a fixed wheel bike means you are forced to keep pedalling even when you go downhill.
This means that you do more work overall in a ride than the equivalent ride on a 'geared' bike with a freewheel. This can help give you a greater level of fitness.
Therefore a fixed wheel training ride is going to be great for your cycling endurance.
Improved pedalling smoothness- even when tired
Riding a fixed gear over longer rides helps you to maintain pedalling suppleness and smoothness. Fixed gear riding forces an improvement in your pedalling efficiency as you are forced to pedal throughout the whole pedal revolution. This means that even despite the onset of fatigue you can still learn to maintain a smooth pedal technique.
A smooth pedal technique leads to an improvement in pedalling efficiency. Every cyclist needs an efficient pedal technique to ensure as little energy is wasted throughout the pedal stroke.
Riding a fixed gear improves reactions in race situations
In a road race you can go from soft pedalling to completely 'balls out' in the space of just a few seconds. This can also involve going from a situation of low torque and power output to extremely high power output When riding a fixed gear bike you can go from 60 revs per minute to over 120 revs per minute in a matter of seconds while going over the tops of hills and flying down the other side.
Fixed gear riding trains the legs to react to such situations and your body to be able to improve it's ability to handle lactate.
Fancy your own fixed gear bicycle?
Has fixed gear cycling worked for you?
Please leave your comments on how it's worked? Are you considering getting yourself a fixed wheel bike?
Why not tell others why they should ride fixed?
Looking for more cycling inspiration?
- Cycling Anatomy- Leg Muscles and The Bicycling Pedal Stroke.
How the muscles within the leg work including cycling pedal stroke muscle utilization and recruitment.