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  1. #1
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    Coast to Coast on a SS?

    Any one ever ridden a SS on an extended self supported tour or know of links to people who have? I'm riding Seattle to NYC this summer and I'm currently planning on doing it on a SS. I've done numerous centuries on a fixed gear but the terrain was mostly flat. The mountains and long days have me thinking a freewheel would be better. Any opinions or input?
    Later, eVile

  2. #2
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    Ay!

    Quote Originally Posted by eVile
    Any one ever ridden a SS on an extended self supported tour or know of links to people who have? I'm riding Seattle to NYC this summer and I'm currently planning on doing it on a SS. I've done numerous centuries on a fixed gear but the terrain was mostly flat. The mountains and long days have me thinking a freewheel would be better. Any opinions or input?
    Later, eVile
    ...a freewheel would be better.

  3. #3
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    Think freewheel

    I rode Oregon to Massachusetts in 1982, though on a geared bike. The steepest roads we encountered were in upstate NY. It is hard for me to imagine a good gear which will get you across the praries fast enough without going mad, but then able to climb hills with all your gear. Maybe bring different gear changes? I would recomend freewheeled, too. I got to changing clothes and making sandwiches while riding, hard to imagine while fixed.

  4. #4
    try driving your car less
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    ohh...

    Quote Originally Posted by eVile
    Any one ever ridden a SS on an extended self supported tour or know of links to people who have? I'm riding Seattle to NYC this summer and I'm currently planning on doing it on a SS. I've done numerous centuries on a fixed gear but the terrain was mostly flat. The mountains and long days have me thinking a freewheel would be better. Any opinions or input?
    Later, eVile
    I have done some touring, never SS. I have pondered coast to coast SS and I envy you.
    Consider a flip flop hub in back? climbing and flats gears.
    self supported coast to coast fixed? you would have some serious bragging rights. i would say go for it with a flip flop hub. pack a freewheel and fixed cog. start fixed. you can always switch.
    Only boring people get bored.

  5. #5
    KgB
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    I have considered it

    but after reading dozens of accounts I decided it was not my thing.There is a lot of boring land to cover and I have better ways to spend my time(like on the internet) .It would be an adventure and I would definately be a little envious.

    Single speeding would easily be feasable but I would do the flip flop.

    Fixed would be fun to,depending on how much weight you carry.Could be a nightmare on the big downhills.

    SSJimbo did a little touring SS,maybe he will chime in.Try the 29 board there are quite a few endurance type people there(boy is that an understatement)

    check here also
    crazyguyonabike.com

    Good luck and you are welcome to stay here if you pass through Fruita.
    I've been inside too long.

  6. #6
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    I rode last year's cycle oregon, about 500 mi, on my single speed. it was a supported ride which made it much easier. i did swap out chainrings for a bike climbing day. i found it easier to switch chainrings and chains (or a chain extension with another power link and length of chain) than to swap freewheels. here's the bike.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    don't try this at home
    Reputation: moschika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eVile
    Any one ever ridden a SS on an extended self supported tour or know of links to people who have? I'm riding Seattle to NYC this summer and I'm currently planning on doing it on a SS. I've done numerous centuries on a fixed gear but the terrain was mostly flat. The mountains and long days have me thinking a freewheel would be better. Any opinions or input?
    Later, eVile
    might want to ask this on rbr general or fixed gear boards. there are some long distance riders over there that might be able to shed some insight, i wouldn't be surprised if some have done something like this too.

  8. #8
    Medium?
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    Coast to coast? How about around the world?

    On a 50" Highwheel fixie in 1885? It's been done! This is an awesome read! The guy was more faqing hardcore than anyone we've ever known.

    https://www.gutenberg.net/browse/BIBREC/BR5136.HTM

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/081...65#reader-page

    <center><img src="https://www.pedalinghistory.com/PHGifs/PHStevensAround.jpg"></center>

  9. #9
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    You need MY drivetrain!

    My 'crosser/roadie is typically set up with 2 rings and 3 cogs. 3 possible gear combinations: I usually have it set up 42x16 for fast cruising, 42x18 for rollers and moderate hills, and 38x23 for steep hills. The 38x23 is about the same as a typical MTB SS gear, so it's also usable for offroad riding if you feel so inclined at various points along your ride.

    So it's not a true singlespeed anymore. But you still get the benefits: minimal weight, reduced pedaling resistance and reduced maintenance.

    Last year I did a 70 mile ride in rugged eastern Oregon terrain with several thousand feet of climbing. Changed gears about 6 times total on the whole ride, and I timed my rest breaks with the gear changes so it had no effect on my overall ride time. Worked great.

  10. #10
    beer *****es n' bikes
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    I think if you are serious about this you're just going to have to get used to the idea of walking some really steep parts. There is no gear in existance where you can get any sort of speed on long flats with the ability to power up a mountain without shattering your knees. 44x18 is as close as I have come to a truly perfect gear, but for a long distance I would probably run a 44x20 as the 18t is a little tough on long/steep hills. The 20t spins out noticeably faster on downhills and flats though.

    Actually though, come to think of it... I can run either gear with the same chain just by swapping cogs. I have enough dropout to run the larger 20t and still have the wheel sufficiently seated in the dropouts. You might consider doing something like this. Only tools needed then are a chainwhip and a cassette wrench, swapping takes about 3min, and you can used the additional cogs as spacers on your freehub body. I can actually run 16,18,20t w/ the same chain with track dropouts on my Peugeot Commuter (26" MTB frame).

    Good luck!
    Jon
    bike dude, velocity employee (this is my personal account)

  11. #11
    viva la v-brakes!
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    uuhhhhh, are we talking fully loaded here?

    I'm certainly no hard core SS'er. I have one SS MTB, but I also have two other geared MTB's. But I have toured cross country, from San Fran to Bar Harbor Maine. It was a fully loaded self supported tour.

    From my experience I would say it would be very difficult to do something like that on a single speed. One instance that springs to mind is a full day climbing up to Boulder, UT on up to 16% grades, there were times I was standing up mashing as hard as I could in my 22x32 granny gear, wishing I had a 34t cog. The next day we climbed some more, but then went down. For quite some time I was totally spun out in my 44x11 I reached speeds of up to 55 mph. Through all of this I was carrying about 40 lbs of gear. Typically tourist carry about 60 lbs, but we like to go light. The extra weight makes you much slower then normal climbing and much faster then normal descending, and that's why gears are nice.

    I just don't think a SS will work well for such an adventure. A fixed gear might be downright dangerous with all that weight pushing you downhill. I suppose single speed touring might work with the flip flop hub, but bear in mind you'll have 75+ lbs of bike and gear to flip over every time you get to the top of the pass and want to switch gears.

    Fully loaded touring is tough enough as it is, but still very enjoyable as you get to see the country in the best way possible. I don't think a SS would make it any more enjoyable, but I'm sure it would make it tougher. I would think it would wreck your knees, hours on end pushing into a headwind in Kansas.

    Another thing springs to mind, can you gear a SS low enough for fully loaded climbing? I had it tough in my 22x32 at times, but was determined to ride the whole trip and never walk. It's hard to stand up and crank with much english on a fully loaded bike because of all the weight, you have to sit and spin, or more gently stand up and torque it. I would think that you would need at least a 1:1 gear ratio, I'm thinking more like 1:1.25. Assuming you can, on the same bike, can you have a flip-flop gear that will be fast enough for any reasonable amount of speed on the flats? What are the biggest and smallest freewheel sizes available?

    If you are convinced you want to do it on you SS, plan on packing as light as possible. Maybe try it credit card style touring. Carry only enough clothes to have one spare pair for tomorrow, and some warmies. That and some tools will keep your wieght down. Buy all your food, cook nothing, sleep in cheep motels. Much more expensive then camping and cooking your way across the US, but would be a lot more fun with a SS. Might be able to run a 38t chainring and 16 and 22 teeth freewheels and have it work pretty well with such a light load.

    If you still want to do the tour but may go the route of a geared bike, the new Surley Long Haul Trucker seems like it would be a sweet ride. Outfit that thing with some Deore compoents (with the ever durable Dura-Ace bar con's for shifting) and you'd have a relatively cheep ($800?) touring bike that could last you for decades.
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  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    You could go fixed, just have a large and small gear

    Also carry a chain for each gear combo. Yeah, its extra stuff to carry, but it would allow you to run a large gear for flats and downhills and a small gear for climbing.

    The only problem I would see there is that they may not make a fixed cog big enough so that you get a small enough gear without sacrificing your flat gear.

    Only solution I can think of in that case is to run a rear disc hub, use a Surly Fixer on one side (the cassette body side) and then, using a technique I saw on this board, mount a large cog on the disc mounts...effectively creating a fixed gear cog. Voila, flip flop fixed/fixed with a flat gear and climbing gear. I honestly don't know if this would work, worth a shot though eh?

    I'd recommend a front disc too, depending on the kind of wheels you are running. I say discs simply because they can handle the extended braking and they won't ruin your rims.

    They had a talk about this kind of thing on the rbr board. A guy wanted to ride a 508 mile race (Furnace Creek 508) on a fixed gear. His biggest problem was finding a way to keep the bike in control (braking) on the downhills. Most everyone suggested disc brakes.

    I hope that you find the info you are looking for! Good luck and maybe I'll see you out there!

    KavuBiker

  14. #14
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    I've done pleny of loaded climbing in the Cascades with 42/32 as my lowest gear. Gear weight was probably about 35-40 lbs. The cranks on my Road bike won't take anything smaller than a 42. Highest gear was 54/11.. I didn't use it much. I've done a loop down to Diamond lake twice now, first time low gear was 42/34 and I had to walk sections of Sharps Creek Road.. Second time I rode the whole climb in 42/32 (With a couple rest stops). Singlespeeding made it possible because I got used to riding standing for extended periods.

  15. #15
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    You can get fixed cogs up to 25t I think.. With a fix/fix flip flop hub you could run like 14 on one side, 24 on the other with a 48t ring and probably get close to the range you need.

    Use a 110mm crank and you can carry a 33t chainring for the really steep days.

    If you use a cassette hub, mount a 14t and a 20t cog, with a 24t granny ring and a 44t outer you can manually shift without having to do anything but modify the chain (powerlinks) and have a tool-free system.

    But then it's not really a Singlespeed is it?

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