long distance singlespeeding tips- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 32 of 32
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    147

    long distance singlespeeding tips

    I'm planning on riding several long distance rides this year on a rigid singlespeed 29er. Most rides are 60 miles or more over steep hilly terrain, hills are usually like 2 miles max long. I'm an experienced geared mountainbiker and long distance singlespeed gravel rider but have not much experience on the 29er.
    I've always liked longer events but because of my lack of experience on the SS 29er, I'd like to know what to be aware of. I'd like to ride my first couple of rides on 32/22 and see how that goes. I've got some spare cogs to install a harder gear if needed but I doubt it.
    So, what are some common mistakes made on longer rides? What DO I want to do?

    Fill me in on the secrets...

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    7,167
    Try drop bars - worth an extra tooth on the back.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57║36' Highlands, Scotland

  3. #3
    Bike Dork
    Reputation: sin3kal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    67
    As much as a lot of people won't agree. Don't be afraid to walk to conserve energy on super steeps.

  4. #4
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    6,589
    On longer rides than you are used to, definitely resist the urge to redline it up hills. Walking is a good way to prevent this and to use a somewhat different muscle group for a few minutes. If you don't like drop bars on shorter rides, I would think it would be the same on 60 milers. But got ahead and give em a shot if you want.

  5. #5
    .
    Reputation: Timon's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,529
    for long standing climbs i think getting into a breathing/pedal rhythm helps. i don't know if its mental or physical or what, but it seems to make things easier and gives me something to focus on. typically 1 breath per crank rotation.

    don't burn too many matches early on. harder to stay out of red zone SSing on hills, and being in that red zone too long will make it really rough later.

    other than that...just gut it out, i guess.

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,366
    I second the walking and I'd use a lower gear than what you usually ride. Save the legs where you can. You want the downhill to be fun.

    From your post you sound like you ride longer distances often- but for 60 I try to move more gear onto the bike and off my back.

  7. #7
    Out spokin'
    Reputation: Sparticus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    9,657
    The hardest thing I ever did on a singlespeed was the Cascade Cream Puff 100 Mile Race. I was astride a 26" wheeled bike running a 34x20 gear. There was 16,300' of vertical gain in that event and by the 2/3 mark I was wishing I was running a 20x34 gear, not the other way 'round.

    So my experience tells me for ultra-endurance riding I'll bring a lower gear than I would for a 30-50 mile excursion. I may feel it's too low in the beginning but later I might be happy to have it.

    --Sparty

    P.S. I'll never singlespeed the Puff again.
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  8. #8
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,366
    Sparty reminded me of another thing that is extremely important for endurance rides- something that makes you legitimately angry so you can get up the climbs.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by sin3kal
    As much as a lot of people won't agree. Don't be afraid to walk to conserve energy on super steeps.
    That makes perfect sense. I usually start a ride to finish it, no matter what it takes and I've been walking my geared bike too, more then I would like to admit.

    Keep the advise coming. It's interesting!

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    7,167
    Unless you are racing, walk the steep bits.

    1. it rests you
    2. it's about the same speed anyway
    3. you can look around and enjoy the view* instead of figuring out how you are going to get past those rocks 10 feet in front of you.

    *If you are not there to enjoy the view, you may as well be on a spin cycle in the gym.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57║36' Highlands, Scotland

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Unless you are racing, walk the steep bits.

    1. it rests you
    2. it's about the same speed anyway
    3. you can look around and enjoy the view* instead of figuring out how you are going to get past those rocks 10 feet in front of you.

    *If you are not there to enjoy the view, you may as well be on a spin cycle in the gym.

    Oh, I'm not there to race! Even though some of the events I enter are races and others are long distance mountainbike 'time trials', races with individual starts between certain hours, fastest time wins. I've never been a very competitive person. I love riding and seeing new places. This is a nice way to get to do some nice long rides without having to worry about getting lost or looking on the map at every turn in the forest.

  12. #12
    aka baycat
    Reputation: Ryan G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    8,478
    After long climbs on my ss have a tendency to just coast the downhills and recover. And then when I attack the next hill my legs are a bit tight. To fight this I will spin my legs at a nice relaxed speed even if I am coasting faster than I can pedal.

    That and breathing.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smaxor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    973
    great tips here, i have been off the SS for a few months and will bu dusting it off next weekend if the trails are in better shape.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by smaxor
    great tips here.
    Great tips indeed!
    Keep them coming.

    As I will probably walk more then on a geared bike, should I wear SPD shoes with a more supple sole. On the other hand, I've been singlespeeding my cross bike all winter with my stiff winterboots on and really like the feel of the stiff sole. Any pros and cons for a little more supple shoe?

  15. #15
    @adelorenzo
    Reputation: anthony.delorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,670
    Riding singlespeed is all about attacking hills, but on long rides/races I find I really have to focus on pacing and looking for places I can recover. On a long climb, if the grade eases I make sure to ease off my effort and recover, get my HR down. Sometimes I'll be barely moving.

    I'll surge ahead of steady-effort, geared riders on steeper sections and then dial it way back somewhere I can recover. Like others have said, you've only got so much high-octane juice and you need to conserve that wherever possible.

    Personally, I would think twice about a really low gear. I would rather use my two-foot gear on the steeps and be able to cruise more comfortably on the flatter sections. But that's just me.

  16. #16
    you do this at my size
    Reputation: BOAB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    198
    A friend that races SS, tells me all the time," there is no shame in walking a SS uphill".
    if you don't feel like riding, that's usually when you need it most

  17. #17
    aka baycat
    Reputation: Ryan G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    8,478
    Quote Originally Posted by annoying crack
    As I will probably walk more then on a geared bike, should I wear SPD shoes with a more supple sole. On the other hand, I've been singlespeeding my cross bike all winter with my stiff winterboots on and really like the feel of the stiff sole. Any pros and cons for a little more supple shoe?
    Hike a bike in SIDIs are OK but as soon as you step on a slick root, rock or some steep muddy section be careful!

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,510
    It all depends how steep the climbs are but 32 X 22 seems awfully easy.
    I would think you will be spinning out almost every where and that gets really frustrating after a while. There is nothing i hate more than spinning out on a flat trail for a few miles.

    I ride all over colorado and always keep my gearing at 32 X 20 on a 29er.
    I like the idea if it gets too steep just walk.

    My first huge ss ride i decided to try and climb some really steep short climbs near the end of the day and it ruined me. I never got my heart rate back to where it needed to be. My friends walked these sections and chuckled as i rode up them and chuckled as they blew past me while i was hurting.
    I learned a valuable lesson that day!!

    This winter i have been doing a lot of zero resistance out of the saddle and sitting down spin training in the gym and I am amazed at the results. I now have the strength to spin out and keep ridding at a fast pace.
    Some of my friends were convinced that i swapped out my gearing because they were pedaling as fast as they could and i would just disappear out of their site with identical gearing.

    Your SS has three gears
    1. Sit
    2. Stand
    3. Walk

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    7,167
    Quote Originally Posted by annoying crack
    ...I will probably walk more then on a geared bike, should I wear SPD shoes with a more supple sole. On the other hand, I've been singlespeeding my cross bike all winter with my stiff winterboots on and really like the feel of the stiff sole. Any pros and cons for a little more supple shoe?
    There are ardent fans of both ways.

    I ride in walking boots. I like to explore in places where I can't ride. In the winter I race in walking boots too for 24 hour races.

    In summer I use stiff soled walking shoes.

    I use track style pedals (not platforms) and buy my shoes/boots according to how well they grip the pedal.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57║36' Highlands, Scotland

  20. #20
    Occasionally engagedů
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,640
    I've done a 70 mile mtb race on a SS each of the last two years. All went well the first year -- and it was by about 30 miles the longest SS ride I had ever done. The second year I was a bit cockier and aggressively rode more of the tough climbs. On the last mile long hill my arms gave out -- I had reasonable power sitting down, but the steepness of the hill required me to stand and I just couldn't support my weight on them, let alone torque the bars for power. So...I guess my point is to that you might think about saving your arms, perhaps doing more of the moderate climbs seated than you might be want to do on a shorter ride.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    55
    Dumb question on this awesome thread- I am building a retro 29er Single Speed. Basically a 29 inch BMX. I want the looks of old, circa 1979. However with this build I am using a 43T front chainwheel. What freewheel would you people recommend? I will want to do a lot of riding on level ground as well as slight hilly stuff.

    Based on what I am reading, when it gets too hilly- walk, and I have no problem with that.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,510
    Dumb question??? Absolutely not!!!!!
    I rode a friend's SE Racing Big Ripper and i want to make a bike exactly like you are talking about it and ride on all the mountain bike trails.

    I can't recommend a freewheel but i can suggest what size rear cog, or at least point you in the right direction.

    2:1 gear ratio is a pretty tough gear to push via mountain bike trails. At least in colorado. A 29er is tougher to pedal, subtract about two teeth in the back. 32:18 is considered 2:1 on a 29er. 32:16 is a true 2:1

    Since you mentioned lots of flats you might want to start around a 22 tooth.
    Since you are riding a 29er it would be 43:20.......2.15 gear final gear ratio

    So many factors in calculating gear ratio so there is no perfect application, especially with your unique build!

    I would buy a couple of crappy steel cogs that cost about $8 a piece until you find what you like and get something that will last a bit longer


    Quote Originally Posted by spistols
    Dumb question on this awesome thread- I am building a retro 29er Single Speed. Basically a 29 inch BMX. I want the looks of old, circa 1979. However with this build I am using a 43T front chainwheel. What freewheel would you people recommend? I will want to do a lot of riding on level ground as well as slight hilly stuff.

    Based on what I am reading, when it gets too hilly- walk, and I have no problem with that.

  23. #23
    Out spokin'
    Reputation: Sparticus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    9,657
    While not a dumb question, it's a little odd to ask in within this thread. Just sayin'.

    --Sparty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  24. #24
    Only dead people are old
    Reputation: Super E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    624
    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450
    It all depends how steep the climbs are but 32 X 22 seems awfully easy.
    I would think you will be spinning out almost every where and that gets really frustrating after a while. There is nothing i hate more than spinning out on a flat trail for a few miles.

    I ride all over colorado and always keep my gearing at 32 X 20 on a 29er.
    I like the idea if it gets too steep just walk...
    Yeah, I argree that a 32x22 is quite easy for gearing unless you live in an area that is nearly all steep up/down.

    I run a 32x19 up nearly anything (which were I live is initially a steep 2000-ft climb out of the valley in any direction). My rides typically cover 30-100+ miles on the SS with 3000-12000 feet of vertical gain. I can make it up any climb faster on my SS than on a geared bike, but my speed on flat sections is always compromised (which I just suffer through). Up the steep stuff I just get into a rythm and use my back/abs and arms alternately to keep everything moving smoothly (gives different muscle groups some rest). If I get too tired, I just stop for a minute or so then keep going. Walking is always an option up the ultra steep stuff. Racing I normally go one easier gear than what feels good on the pre-ride.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: idaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    499
    It can be really easy to get bogged down behind geared riders on climbing singletrack. It's pretty frustrating and and energy sink. I look for other SSers when possible or try to jump ahead of gearies before the trail turns up and narrow.
    Any section of course where I'm spun out is an opportunity for recovery and nutrition/hydration, make the most of those times.
    I've found 32x20 (on a 29er) a great all around choice for races 50+ miles with lots of climbing.
    Have fun with it and make sure to rekindle this thread after the next long race to share your observations. Lot's of good advice above I wish I had seen a year+ ago.
    Cheers,
    M

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gatman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    578
    Getting stuck behind the gearies can suck the energy out of you, but if you learn how to control yourself it can be managed.

    I thought that I needed to power up the hills to make it or at least that was the easy way to climb. Last year I did a 75 mile ride on my SS that tested me more then before. It was very soft and slick on most sections so the whole ride wore you out more then normal.

    Somewhere late in the ride I found myself climbing a little differently and it was a good change of pace. It seemed like I was barely turning the pedals. Just enough to keep moving and making sure to spin the arms not have thrusts on each stroke.
    I found myself climbing things when a lot of other riders were walking. These sections were slick and if I would have pushed it like normal I would not have had traction. The real benefit to this style was that I could actually feel like I was recovering while I was climbing these hills. It was a very weird feeling, but it made it possible for me to finish much stronger on a ride that I had even thought about using a bail out road.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by gatman
    Getting stuck behind the gearies can suck the energy out of you, but if you learn how to control yourself it can be managed.
    And I was worried about the gearies getting stuck behind me...

    Ok, I will most certainly post back on my first experiences. Might be a 60 mile solo ride next weekend (or at least an attempt). Have a nice ride in the back of my mind, around 7000 feet of climbing. It will have to dry up a bit though as the snow has just melted and it has rained hard for the past few days.

    Again, thanks for all the input. It's really apreciated!

  28. #28
    @adelorenzo
    Reputation: anthony.delorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,670
    Singletrack climbs in a tight group with geared riders can be tricky. You get bottled up behind them because you want to surge on a section where they are gearing down to climb it, or maybe you waste a ton of energy passing them beside the trail, and then they are speeding up and pass you on the flatter stuff where you are trying get your heart and lungs back into your chest. I'll often let a gap form at the base of a short climb, just so I have room to attack the bottom. Riders behind you don't like it but they can always pass if they want to try.

  29. #29
    Really I am that slow
    Reputation: SlowerThenSnot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    3,777
    unless its really steep i try and stay on the bike however i try and walk about 10 min for every hour.... just move some different muscles and stretch and maybe snap a photo or two... kinna mixes it up just a bit...
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  30. #30
    awesome
    Reputation: dblspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    800
    Here's what I do:
    I save energy staying in the saddle as long as possible and walking the short steeps or whenever pedalling would just kill my legs, arms and hearth without going any faster.
    I keep nutrition (almonds, peanuts) handy and eat/drink a bit every few miles and after longer climbs. I try not to stop for more than a couple of minutes at a time, as I've seen that cooling down and warming back up represents an added effort as well.

  31. #31
    .......................
    Reputation: ionsmuse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,049
    -Pick the right gear. Easier said than done. I think that the surface of climbs is more relevant than their grade, frequency, or length.

    -Train properly. Train on your single, using the gear you'll race on. Train on climbs like the ones you'll race on. Do intervals and raise your LT as much as you can tolerate.

    -As has been said, you'll have to decide whether it's worth it in the long run to attack a tough climb or walk. Make the choice and stick to it.

    -Get fast at hike a biking. For real. Get shoes with reasonable soles for walking. I really like my Lake MX165s, but Specialized are also good.

    -Take advantage of being spun out or hiking to fuel up.

    -Be patient and pick off gearies late in the day. As a wise man told me, the effort to speed curve climbing is linear. On the flats, it is exponential (wind). Thus, it is more efficient to try harder going up.

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation: More nuts than gears's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10
    My 20 cents worth in no particular order.

    Shoes - unless you plan a lot of walking, wear good stiff riding shoes (maybe 2 pairs of sox's).
    Bike Interface - as an SS standing helps ease the pain at the interface but still get the best nix's you can afford.
    Controls - get bar ends, a J-bar or H-bar so you have plenty of different hand positions available.
    Gloves - get good comfy gloves but not too thick that they widen your hand grip.
    Tyres - run tubeless if possible at a low psi (I run 24F and 26R) floats over bumps and absords them.
    Water - drink, drink, drink - if you are not stopping to have a leak every so often you haven't drunk enough water.

    Hills - unless you can power up them, consider walking
    Flats - draft and be patient. It is very easy to go into the red on the flats spinning too hard.
    Downhill - breath

    All the best
    Go Big or Go Home

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.