first commute and introduction- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    first commute and introduction

    Well guys, I've been lurking on this board for quite awhile and decided it was time to post up finally. I used to commute to college for all 4 years but after I graduated and found a job unfortuntately it was just too far away. Well I have a new job now about 8 miles from my house so I commuted today for the first time on my built up Spaulding Blade Singlespeed....i know i know its not a mt. bike but its all i got. Anyway the commute was great till i got to the end. I had to ascend a mountain. Unsure of elevation but it was about 4 miles long...it sucked and totally took my confidence away about commuting as I walked more than half of it. Any ideas about this part of my commute I want to keep doing it but it was just such a treacherous climb.....thanks for listening guys....this forum is great.

  2. #2
    a lazy pedaler
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    Congrats! and welcome!!...

    did you study all your possible routes? yes? do it again.....When I started it my first commutes were like that (even with my geared bike)......now I can do the hill but at the beginning was impossible (I started it pretty much at the same time I start biking)...at that time I preferred to add a mile to my commute than do the hill....check that out.

  3. #3

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    Unfortunately the way I take is the only way to get to the my job. Its one way up and one way down...I work at a car dealership (go figure...lol) and its at the top of this mountain...sooo steep....its ridiculous...but i guess i should just keep at it right?

  4. #4
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    Yeah keep at it...

    the town I live and work in is pretty hilly in areas. And of course my place of employment is on top of one of the taller ridges that run through the area. The first time I rode up that last hill on the way to work I thought I was going to die. And I did walk about half of it. It was a freaking blast heading home though! But I kept at it. It's amazing how great it'll make you feel the first time you make that climb without stopping. The way to do it is, the next time you go to ride that hill go at it with the thought in mind of making it as far as you can. When you have to stop and walk, pick a land mark where you stopped. The next time you ride it remember that land mark and try to make it past it. Then if you have to stop and walk again, pick another land mark. Keep at it and after a while you'll be riding all the way to the top. Don't be in a hurry, it may take a while, but looking at it as a challenge and setting goals to meet it can be fun.

    Anyway, congrats on the first commute, good luck, and welcome to the tribe!

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  5. #5

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    Thanks guys....thats a great idea squash

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
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    8 miles is a long way on a singlespeed, no matter how you slice it. I'd seriously consider getting ahold of a geared bike, or converting yours if it's possible. Even if you go 1x8 (that's what I use currently) it will make a world of difference.

    Diving straight in on a singlespeed is commendable, but it's going to be tough. Don't be discouraged... I've been commuting 5 years and I've never done my commute on a SS. You're already ahead of most of us in that area of challenge.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  7. #7

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    Hey thanks commuterboy for the words of encouragement. I might just do that in terms of converting the bike back to geared...would be pretty simple. Gonna have to look into that.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by heym
    Well guys, I've been lurking on this board for quite awhile and decided it was time to post up finally. I used to commute to college for all 4 years but after I graduated and found a job unfortuntately it was just too far away. Well I have a new job now about 8 miles from my house so I commuted today for the first time on my built up Spaulding Blade Singlespeed....i know i know its not a mt. bike but its all i got. Anyway the commute was great till i got to the end. I had to ascend a mountain. Unsure of elevation but it was about 4 miles long...it sucked and totally took my confidence away about commuting as I walked more than half of it. Any ideas about this part of my commute I want to keep doing it but it was just such a treacherous climb.....thanks for listening guys....this forum is great.
    Half the ride is up a mountain? If it were me, this would be a challenge to be conquered, but you could install a smaller chainring so you have an easier gear to push.

  9. #9

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    another good idea....i might just do what commuterboy said and convert it to a geared bike...i am currently building up another singlespeed so its not like I would be missing out on anything....again thanks for all your help.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    My commuter bike is a SWOBO Del Norte ... which is a single speed. The stock gear is (luckily) perfect for my 9 mile commute. I only have one 200 yard section that is very steep and close to redlines my heartrate. I see this as a benefit.

  11. #11
    weirdo
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    Single speed, climb-heavy route, and December- you sure did jump in with both feet! Hang in there, Heym. I agree with the other advice already posted. Keep at it, knock out a little more each day, see what you can do about your gearing, and eventually you`ll have it licked. One thing that hasn`t been said is don`t burn yourself out. If your can manage every day right from the start, great- if not, three times per week is still enough to keep yourself improving and it`s a lot more than not riding at all.
    Recalculating....

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Technique is important. Seattle is full of people who insist or riding fixed and/or singlespeed, despite this being a very hilly city. They also insist on doing all their climbs in the saddle; my knees and back hurt just looking at them.

    When I run out of gears, I get out of the saddle - if you're using your upper body anyway, you may as well get the benefit. Try to place your hips over the pedal you're pushing on, and move yourself laterally across the top tube to transfer to the other. Ideally, you should only be putting a very little bit of pressure on your handlebars, just enough to balance, and using your legs to exert all the force. On something really steep, though, you may have to pull up on the bars to go anywhere. Anyway, try doing that at a slowish cadence so you don't just blow up. You may not be able to complete a 4 mile climb that way - it's a long time to be out of the saddle - but if the hill has undulations, standing climbing is a good tool for the steeper bits and a good break from spinning.

    Toe clips or clipless pedals are helpful if you don't already have them. Cycling shoes are a little bit helpful and more comfortable, but they also mean you get to work in funny shoes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13

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    thanks for all the encouragement guys..its really helping...instead of going the full conversion route i might just try fudging with my rear cog and see if i can find a better hill climbing setup. Actually im going to go check right now to see what my setup is and then report back.

  14. #14
    local trails rider
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    What sort of a gearing are you running?

    Maybe that climb would be easier in lower gearing. Sounds like gravity would make you fast enough on the way back.

    (disclaimer: there's no such thing as a big climb where I live. 20 seconds out of the saddle is usually the toughest I have to do during my 5 mile commute)

  15. #15

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    ok im currently running 40T chainring and 17T rear cog. When i put the bike together i just used whatever i could get my hands on (ie: old parts) so this might be somewhere that needs improving. Anyone know of any good hill climb setups.

  16. #16
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    . Cycling shoes are a thousand times better and will change your entire world, and they're more comfortable...
    Fixed it for you.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  17. #17
    local trails rider
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    Singlespeed gearing depends so much on you and where you ride.

    40/17 is not tall for most city riding. My 36/15 is in the same ball park (with fattish 26" tires).

    Do you happen to have a smaller chainring or bigger cog lying around? Then you'll need to deal with the changed chain length and/or chain tension. Something like 40/20 or 34/17 would put you in the range that most use for SS trails riding (which is a bit much for wimpy me).

  18. #18

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    good suggestion might try this out

  19. #19
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Sounds like you're off to a great start! I have a lot of hills in my area and when I first started commuting I had to stop and rest frequently on climbs. I think the best suggestion is switching back to gears for now. Or you could try a "dingle speed" with two chain rings up front and two cogs in the back. You'll have to move the chain manually, but it will give you two gear ratios; a higher one for flats and a lower one for climbing. Or you could keep the single chain ring and switch to a flip-flop hub in back with a small cog free-wheel on one side and a much larger one on the back. Good luck and hang in there!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  20. #20

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    Thanks so much for all the kind words....i get out of work at 9 and just realized that i dont have a lighting system for my commute home (i know...stupid me). Half the ride is a two laned highway so I dont think ill be commuting home by bike tonight...gotta pick it up tomorrow on my off day. Stinks I was really looking forward to blazing down this mountain...it will have to wait til thursday. Gives me time to figure out my gearing situation and how I'm going to attack this hill come thursday.

  21. #21
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by heym
    another good idea....i might just do what commuterboy said and convert it to a geared bike...i am currently building up another singlespeed so its not like I would be missing out on anything....again thanks for all your help.
    Did you keep the rear derailleur? Pics on the 'net show it with one of the claw-type ones that doesn't need a hanger, and those are a little hard to find.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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