Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I realize on the mountain bike I'm a total geartard. The time I've spent riding singlespeeds has rendered my ability to select the proper gear for the situation moot.
But on a road bike?
Come on, road bikes are easy. You just keep on shifting until you reach the desired amount of suffering, I mean resistance. How hard can that be?
I used to ride geared road bikes all the time, but since last Fall, I've been on a geared bike maybe a half dozen times.
Two of those time were this week.
On Monday, everything went wrong due to poor preparation (I'm firing my mechanic!), so Tuesday I was back on the Fun Machine as a sort of bicycle sorbet, to clense my pallet.
Pretty good ride too. My ride into work rivaled some of my quickest rides in on any bike.
So today, I gave the Univega another chance. I had gone over it last night to make sure I had crossed my "i's" and dotted my "t's".
Mechanically it performed flawlessly, but I felt I was fighting it the whole way in. I kept thinking "this hurts, why am I going so slow?".
When I got to the shop I was indeed slow; 1:45 slower than the day before.
WTF (that's "text" for what the fuck)! Why am I slower on a lighter geared bike than a heavier fixed gear?
On the ride home, I was grinding up the climb to Roger's Orchard, you know sitting and spinning, looking at my speed. Man am I going slow. Maybe I'm this slow on the fixed gear, but I don't realizes it because I can't see the speedo standing?
The climb after the orchard, I jumped out of the saddle and it dawned on me. I don't have sit and spin muscles anymore.
All the fixed and singlespeed riding has developed my muscles differently than if I was trying to do a Lancy-pants impression.
From there on I decided to ride to my strengths. Don't shift down to a spinny gear and sit, but stand and use my upper body, like I'm used to. Ride like "me".
By the time I got to RT10, I was equal on time to Tuesday's commute.
By the time I got to the spot I flatted on Monday I was 30 seconds up.
Finally, when I got home I was up by 55 seconds. I pulled back 2:40 on the ride home. This was in the rain too, so I couldn't capitalize on coasting down hills either.
So what does all this tell us:
  1. Geared bikes are faster
  2. fixed gears are more reliable
  3. Charlie has too much time on his hands
  4. absolutely nothing
  5. all of the above


Mookie said...

You've hit the nail on the head with that one: You've conditioned your body to the point where your sit-down muscles are "out of shape", at least relative to you. IMO, mixing different styles of riding is the best recipe. For what? I'll get back to you on that one.

James said...

All the above. I think the geared bike you can coast down hills and rest a bit and make up time. But I think you can climb better/faster on the fixie. You should try it single speed and see how fast you are.