Author Topic: technique, particularly descending  (Read 6124 times)

technique, particularly descending
« on: October 19, 2016, 11:17:56 am »
I'm a new fixed rider with a Pompino. Six months ago the idea of riding fixed, particularly for any distance, seemed crazy to me, but I'm having fun.

The Pompino arrived with 48/16 which I've changed to 48/17 and I have a 19 tooth cog in a drawer (planning to replace the back wheel with a fixed/fixed hub) . 48/17 is okay for most of the uphills I encounter and I'm fine with walking if necessary.

My concern is mostly around descending. 45km/h is something like 120rpm and, at that rate, my bum starts to bounce on the seat with the effort of moving my legs around fast enough. I see people talking about doing LEL on 44/18 and I can't imagine the required cadence to go quickly downhill. Is improved cadence something that comes with time and training, or should I get used to dragging the brake to allow my legs to keep up?

If it's relevant I'm pretty big (6'4" and 90kg).

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 11:23:56 am »
It'll come with time, but you can practice being as smooth as possible.  Try to pedal in circles not up and down, if that makes sense.  Relax your grip on the bars, cover the brakes and put pressure on the pedals while descending rather than just letting your legs get dragged round.

benborp

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 11:42:03 am »
Yup, increasing cadence will come with time.

It will get easier as your legs become accustomed to riding fixed but there are things that you can do to feel more comfortable with fast leg speeds. I find that rather than concentrating on pedalling faster it helps me to think of being more relaxed, keeping my feet just ahead of the pedals rather than thinking that I'm pushing the pedals forward, although that is what I am in effect doing.

Setting a fixed wheel bike up on a turbo with a very low resistance and doing some extreme spinning can allow you to experiment with what helps you maintain greater leg speed and you'll be more sensitive to any bouncing. Don't let being on a turbo allow you to forget you are riding fixed, although low resistance will give greater leeway to experiment with technique you still don't want to stop pedalling!
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Oaky

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 11:45:44 am »
cover the brakes and put pressure on the pedals while descending rather than just letting your legs get dragged round.

For me, this ^^^ is key.
You are in a maze of twisty flat droves, all alike.

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2016, 12:27:25 pm »
Make sure your chain tension is OK to prevent sudden, skiddy stops and unwarranted rear tyre wear - DAMHIKT  ::-)

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2016, 12:32:06 pm »
You have to sort of let your hips go into neutral whilst, as chris says, maintain contact with the pedals. It all about not bouncing in the saddle.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2016, 12:38:29 pm »
All of which does improve your pedalling technique. 

20 years ago I could get over 200rpm;  nowadays my max is nearer 160. 

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 12:40:37 pm »
Been up to around 64kph on 47/19. You need to keep your upper body stable while your legs are a blur. Some people do seem to be more natural at this than others.

Many people seem to think that you should be riding bigger and bigger gears as you get stronger. An alternative view is that you start off bigger and as you learn to spin better, move to lower gearing.

zigzag

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 02:51:25 pm »
i haven't mastered relaxed descending in few months of riding fixed, so decided that fixed bikes belong to velodromes and never looked back*. dragging brakes on the descents seems counter productive.

*i ride three ss bikes now with 72", 79" and 86" gearing

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 07:25:06 pm »
I've been riding fixed for forty years, and enjoy it - but I still can't pedal at half the rate that some people can.

I'm not even sure I want to, which may be a major factor ;D

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 07:42:54 pm »
I have immense hip flexibility, which I suggest might help. I was born with it.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 09:14:11 pm »
I have immense hip flexibility, which I suggest might help. I was born with it.

A future on Strictly, perhaps?

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 09:44:22 pm »
They are amateurs.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2016, 09:53:33 pm »
I've survive (up to ~190rpm) by trying to out pedal the pedals on descents and using the brakes to keep me from destruction.

I can't 'just let my legs go'.

I read somewhere: "To go faster, try to pedal in smaller circles. To go slower, try to pedal in larger circles." and that made sense for me when I tried it.

I've often questioned my sanity whilst not being able to admire the views across to Dinorwig.
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woollypigs

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2016, 12:07:43 am »
Two options spin like a loon or unclip. As shown in the below link, me riding with 94" gear clocking 48mph and then Crumbling Nick unclipped.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gebgoidxHjA

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2016, 06:45:26 am »
Unclipping is a really bad idea.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2016, 07:18:55 am »
Unclipping is a really bad idea.

I agree.

I've never been great at spinning for the same reason I find riding at a high cadence in general rather inefficient - I have big heavy legs. The guys and girls who spin best don't have elephant legs.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2016, 07:24:23 am »
Unclipping is a really bad idea.
I see flesh flayed from calves - if not worse.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2016, 07:30:50 am »
Imagine having to react to something unexpected on the road, whilst descending at high speed, unclipped....

Advising to unclip is just a really silly thing to do, sorry.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2016, 07:57:25 am »
I'll just carry on pedalling down slowly ;D

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2016, 09:39:16 am »
If you feel the need to unclip on descents (other than for the occasional but risky shits and giggles) then maybe fixed is not for you.

You can put off learning to spin by putting on a bigger gear and making climbing harder, or you can put on a smaller gear and force yourself to spin more.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2016, 11:17:19 am »
Or use your brakes.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2016, 06:41:13 pm »

vorsprung

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2016, 07:53:50 pm »
The whole descending thing is what put me off when I tried a fixed gear.  I could already spin at 150rpm (on a single speed) but I found that pedalling really really fast on fixed and controlling the bike was exhausting and tedious.  Consider fitting a freewheel on your Pompino, there is no law that says you have to ride an 1890s bike

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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2016, 09:00:38 pm »
Two options spin like a loon or unclip. As shown in the below link, me riding with 94" gear clocking 48mph and then Crumbling Nick unclipped.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gebgoidxHjA
Love that video! But I note that both you pedaling like a loon and Nick unclipped are passed by at least two freewheelers. That's not particularly important of course (unless you're racing down a hill!) but it does remind me of the time I freewheeled past RegT as he span his legs off (probably the only time I have ever overtaken him) – and that was on the flat! (There was a monster tailwind.)
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