Thoughts on Riding a Fixed,
Editor's note: Larry began riding fixed-gear about half a year ago. He wrote this shortly after his first 80-mile solo fixed ride. See his article "My Recent Fixed-Gear 80-Miler."
Counter-intuitively, it seem much easier to go on a long fixed ride than a similar ride on a geared bike. I remember reading that long distance hikers sometimes started jogging in order to use different muscles and forestall fatigue. Maybe something like this happens on a fixie, as you naturally vary cadence. I was not really fatigued at the end of the ride or the next day, although I did sleep very well the night after.
I started riding a fixie about 200 days ago. Before that I use to think a lot about protecting my knees (formerly injured). I followed the standard "high cadence" advice to avoid knee pain. Since riding a fixie my legs must be stronger, as I no longer have any knee pain and climb much better. I started out with a 42X17, and then switched to a 42X16. Each time I went through an adjustment period of muscle soreness. Now I'm ready for a 42x15. This seems to have progressively built strength and endurance, without a conscious training program.
Now, fixie touring seems like a great idea.
I am grateful for the generous advice of many contributors to Internet newsgroups and mailing lists, including the various rec.bicycle groups, iBOB ("Internet Bridgestone Owner's Bunch"), "Folding Bikes," "Touring Phred," and the fixed-gear e-mail list, and to Sheldon Brown's information on fixed-gear conversions.