Challenge for Change News

Follow the CFC team and event participants as they tackle physically challenging events to raise funds and awareness for Eagles Wings.

Single Speed Bikes

In our last blog post, Reid gave us the WHY of the ride. This post is all about the HOW.

If you’re wondering what all the talk about “Fixies” or “Single Speed” is about… our team mechanic and member of the support crew, Laith puts it in simple terms for the non-cyclists out there. Thanks Laith!

The Atma Cycles we are using for the Perth to Brisbane Fixin’ Poverty ride are a Single Speed bike. This means there will be no gears to change when the road starts to angle up.

A fixed gear bike has no freewheel and the pedals must turn continuously - there is no rest. With a massive ride like Fixin’ Poverty, resting the legs will be crucial to making it the distance. Riding fixed gears also takes a lot of thinking, if you stop pedalling whilst under momentum, the back wheel will kick up and can be quite dangerous. The Single Speed Bike is able to freewheel so when you are flying down the hill you can stop pedalling and rest up the legs if you choose.

The positives of the Single Speed Bike:

  • There are less moving parts on a Single Speed this gives us less maintenance and less things that can break.
  • The chain-line is smoother making it efficient to pedal and when you get that right it is the sweetest sound and smoothest feeling when riding a bike.
  • You do not have to worry about what gear you are in as you have none!
  • It is the simplest purist form of cycling.

The disadvantages of a Single Speed Bike:

  • Hills
  • Hills
  • Hills
  • Did I mention Hills?
  • The flats can be also hard if you have a tailwind unless you can spin your legs very fast you can sometimes not keep up with speed of the bike.
  • The wheel has wheel nuts instead of quick release this ensures that the wheel doesn’t move under load, when climbing a hill, the bike has a lot more force put through than on a geared bike.

You can change gear ratios by installing a larger or smaller cog on the rear or front.

So there you have it! People have been asking me why Single Speed? I always reply with why not!

Now back to making sure I have all the spares we need to make this ride successful. See you on the road somewhere.

- Laith

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