What to do?
I have a Specialized Carmel 26 (26'' tires, comfort bike). I know it is not a mountain bike. My question is I am thinking about going to single speed gearing. I had a Diamond Back Response but had to trade it in, I have back problems and was bent over to much on it. The Carmel is a great bike for me, I have taken it out on a 42 mile bike ride before. My doctor wants me to ride 2-3 times per week for one hour exercise (back). My problem is that with this comfort bike it takes at least 30 - 45 minutes to start getting a workout, hence sweating. Would changing this bike over to a single speed possibly cause me to have a harder, better workout in a hour. I ride 3rd chain ring 6th cog (it's a 21 speed) for 90% of my riding.
Also what about tires (specialized hemisphere), should I drop the pressure and/or get different tires (mountain bike tires) to make the bike harder to pedal (riding 3rd chain ring 7th cog is way too hard). What tires would you suggest, I ride the road all the time. I just need to make my hour of riding a lot more intense. I am married and have a son so I don't have time to ride for hours on end! What do I do? Thanks for all your answers. I have Chronic Myofascititis of the back (chronic muscle pain that is continually hurting me - Fibromyalgia). Is single speed the right thing to do?
My bike shop said that they could go up to a 2nd chain ring, and a 7 - 8 cog for single speed gearing.
I will be riding in the winter when the roads allow it.
If you have a better bike for me please suggest it, around $ 500 please.
To answer you last question first, you can find alot of single speed bikes out there in the $500 price range.
I think that if you are looking for a single speed bike and have some back problems then perhaps a 29er might fit the bill. I say that because alot of the newer 29ers have the handle bars set higher which helps with a more upright riding position. There is also a large tire selection out there as well which means you could get tires better suited for the road.
Now, since you already have a bike that seems to have resolved your fit issues, I say, up the gear one click (unfamiliar with your description of gearing-sorry) The other idea is to do intervals. This is a great time saving training technique.
Basically, get yourself warmed up for about 10 minutes. Then the work begins. Put the bike in a harder gear and try to spin that gear for 60 seconds. Then gear back down a couple clicks for 60 seconds, and repeat the cycle. Your goal is 10 reps of this. I know that the first time I did this, the first 2-3 weren't that bad. But as the reps kept rolling, it got worse and I was spent in the end. All this took me about an hour.
I do not recommend you do this sort of riding more than once a week or at least allow 3-4 days between your interval training. On the days in between you can simply ride. Be it spinning or mashing a harder gear. Dong hill training helps as well. You can find a good hill that is at least 150 yards or so and simply ride into it in a gear that you are already working to keep it going. Go as far into the hill as you can. When you feel you need to stand up, do so. If you can't because of your back, turn around, cruise down the hill slowly as this will be your recovery time, turn around and go at that hill again.
I think you just need some training ideas instead of a new bike. Don't worry, if you improve your training, that gear you are struggling with now will soon be a thing of the past.
What about tires? Should I go with mountain bike tires or keep what I got. The tire size is 26 x 1.95. The gearing is I have only one gear left to use (7th gear) and there is no more gears after that. Should I reduce tire pressure and if so by how much?
Just keep what you got for now.
As for gears, your hardest to pedal gear should be with the chain on the front large chainring and the smallest rear one. If you are spinning that out easily then you are quite a beast and you must live in Kansas. Seriously, if you that gear is too easy, then you can look into getting a different cassette. Basically, a different set of gears for the rear wheel. Depending on which level you go with, it can be from 30-40$ up to $150! But you can get a completely different set of gears back there. I know when I used to race road bikes my gears on the back were a 11-19. We used to call them a corn cob since it was so small looking. But I think I would die trying to ride those gear ratios now days.
I want to say that out on the road, you can easily be riding on your big front chainring and probable somewhere around the 17, 18, 19 tooth rear cog. Once again, I do apologize for not understanding your description of your gearing. Everyone seems to describe them differently. The best way for us to understand is simply shoot a picture of the gears with the chain on the the settings you normally ride in or tell us the number of teeth that are each of the respective gears you ride in.
I will say that changing the tires to something nobby will add more rolling resistance on the street, but your gears should be able to take care of that for you.