How to Use a Fixed-Gear Bike for Training

How to Use a Fixed-Gear Bike for Training
In recent years fixed gear bikes, or "fixies", have become popular with commuters and recreational cyclists alike. They're relatively easy to maintain, and employ a single fixed gear that allows for no gear changes and no coasting. Fixed-gear bikes were traditionally used for track racing and off-season training. For many competitive cyclists, the tradition continues today. Fixed-gear bike training is an excellent way to improve technical skills and physical condition.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Increase your power. Training in a hilly area is good for any cyclist, but training on a fixed-gear in a hilly area presents challenges of another order. You can't change gears, so you'll be tackling hills with power alone. Stand on your pedals for extra leverage and launch yourself at the base of the hills. The technique will improve both your sprinting and climbing capabilities.
Step 2
Develop a faster and smoother spin. This might be the greatest gift of the fixed-gear. A fixie will not allow for coasting, so you'll be pedaling constantly. The perpetual motion not only helps develop muscles but also creates a faster, smoother spin. A closed course, such as a racetrack, is ideal for developing this ability. Unlike tackling hills, a flat course offers the best opportunity to pedal at an even cadence.
Step 3
Practice cornering. Cornering is an essential technique in racing, particularly in criterium and circuit racing. Learning to safely and effectively pedal through a corner can give you a huge advantage over the competition. On a fixed-gear bike, there's no option--you have to pedal. Cornering repeatedly on your fixed gear will instill a level of comfort and proficiency in this crucial discipline.
Step 4
Choose your cogs wisely. Having a fixed gear doesn't mean you can't replace the gear with a smaller or larger cog. Tackling hills with a 13-tooth cog will present a problem for most mortals, while riding the flats with a 21-tooth cog may cause you to over-spin. Choose something in the middle or stick with terrain that complements your particular gearing.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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