Fixed Gear Century – 100 miles!

Fellow fixed riders – have any of you ridden a century ride (100 miles) on a fixed gear?  Having never ridden a century ride at all, I’ve always wanted to do so.  I had planned on riding a geared road bike if I ever attempted the century ride.

However, I only ride fixed gear now, and decided if I would ever ride a century ride, the best accomplishment would be riding it on a fixed gear!  I have now accomplished just that.  I managed the 100 miles with an average speed of 15mph, a top speed of 30mph, a gearing of 48 x 16,  and a pretty significant level of exhaustion when it was all done.

Conquering 100 miles on a fixed gear feels like a huge accomplishment, particularly when you consider how the fact that you can’t coast means every one of those 100 miles was pedaled, not just ridden.  I’m going to have to try to figure out how many revolutions of the pedals it took to ride 100 miles, but I am guessing the number is staggering!

If any of you are considering such a ride, I’d encourage you to try, provided you are prepared and conditioned for it.  Like many huge athletic endeavors, it is a combination of physical endurance, mental endurance, and proper training/hydration/nutrition/etc.  Once it’s done, there’s nothing quite like knowing you rode 100 miles in one gear with no coasting!!

Let’s get some discussion and stories started here – how many of you have ridden a century on a fixie?  If so, share your story with other fixed riders here at fixedriders.com – it might help encourage others!

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22 responses to “Fixed Gear Century – 100 miles!

  1. Just today i completed 100miles fixed. 15/44 gearing. went from cardiff uk to bewdley through wakes, herefordshire then worcestershire. the malverns were tough. completed in 5hrs 37mins! 5200ft of climbing. not looking forward to tomorrow. the best approach was short 5min stops for proper fueling. Longer stops cause pain as i have previously found out. hydration hydration and more hydration. i consumed 7 750ml bottles! The pain is worth the sense of self achievement! Do it and do it hard!

  2. I just did 120 fixed this past weekend.
    7.5 hours riding
    9.5 hours from start to finish with breaks.
    48/14 gearing.

    my friend just took off for 100 fixed miles this morning, i’ll be meeting him in a few hours to help him finish the loop.

    Buckskin Bikes – Anderson, IN

  3. Jenny: How’d you get on? Just done mine….. it promised to be flat and no hills on the blurb. IT WASN’T! Despite being fairly determined to keep to below 150bpm I regularly went to 160 and twice topped 176, heavy lactate stuff. Finished in 8 hrs with on bike speed of 13.5. Recovered fairly quickly and now planning 24 hrs at Goodwood next year.

  4. I want to do a century ride! I have been riding my beloved fixie for just about three years now. I don’t really want to train… I am healthy, active and ride 3-10 everyday. I kind of just want to it. There is the Reach the Beach ride here in Oregon. I think I am gonna go for it!
    Great post and comments!

  5. Delete or at least revise that. Just had a Saul/St Paul moment! (or Gautama/Buddha ).
    The Murray was an experiment: could I survive my regular cycling commitment with a single fixed gear? OH YES I COULD.
    So…… why not reduce and refine my beloved Bob Jackson custom built frame to a fixie? No. I couldn’t find any reason not to either. Watch this space and I’ll give you the results.

  6. I did my first century this year and thoroughly enjoyed it, 7 hours and no ill effects: pain, tiredness, sore bottom etc. I’d been toying with a double century as a celebratory goal for next year (I’m 60 in Feb), but the training for this would seriously compromise my family life.
    Over the summer I’ve been converting an ancient Murray into a fixie for winter riding http://www.myfixedgear.net/american-flyer-too-good-to-hurry-a-murray
    This was my first ever fixie and I’m loving it so much on daily commutes and the occasional 30 mile errand. (Do we all make these excuses/reasons to ride?) Eventually a cunning plan emerged:
    I’m now committed to doing a fairly level century on it next May! Lots of skills and techniques for an old dog to learn, I know, but it’s so much fun. Any advice will be gratefully considered.

  7. I just completed my first fixed century (well, my first “any bike” century) this weekend, riding from Bristol to Birmingham (UK). It worked out at about 112 miles. I rode out on Saturday, setting off at 6 in the morning, thinking that I’d have the whole day in case I got really tired. I reached my destination at about 2pm, so after subtracting stoppage time it took about 6:45. I’m not a superhuman by any means, and I’d done no training for it at all, so was pleasantly surprised by how well it went.

    Then on the following Monday (yesterday) I rode back again! I paced myself a little better, taking the first 20 miles very gently until my aching thighs had stopped complaining, but then a very muscular chap on a MTB came flying past, which gave me a strong incentive to push harder!

    I found it very hard work keeping up with him – my gearing was nice and easy (48×19), and the route wasn’t too hilly – I found myself wishing for a few more gear inches so I could spin up to a better top speed.

    It was an overcast day, and the sun was low in the sky. I’d started a bit later (about 9am), and was worried that I wouldn’t make it home before dark set in. But stopping at a petrol station about 10 miles from home, I was amazed to discover that it was only 2:15! The return was a little bit more downhill, which must have made a big difference, because I was almost 2 hours quicker coming back! I took significantly shorter breaks, but was still amazed at the time.

    By the time I got home and had some dinner, my body was so tired it couldn’t even digest the food I’d just driven into it, so I spent the evening feeling weak and queasy. But today I feel almost normal. A good long warm-down, some stretches, and a hot bath was all it took.

    Loads of positive endorphins flowing; I’d recommend it to anyone. I think I’m going to finish building up my geared bike before attempting another distance ride, but it’s an amazing feeling knowing that it can be done, even by a mere mortal.

    - Chris

  8. I know this is an older post but I plan to do my century fixed ride tomorrow. I think it will top out at about 110 miles. It is way early in my biking season and I am going to have a hard time on the ride. That is a fact. This is a solo ride so I won’t have any company with me. Planning to go pretty light on my Swobo Sanchez. Praying for no rain!

  9. I’m going for it on feb 12th for the tour de palm springs. 102 miles and I’m doing it on my fixed felt tk3. I’ve got a 48/17 ratio and the ride, from what I’ve read it’s supposed to be a fairly flat route but I’m expecting a challenge. This is my first century and I’m so amped to get after it. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to take some pics and let you know how it went. Thanks for the thread. It’s nice to hear about other riders getting after it like this. Good times!!!

  10. I’ve been riding my fixed gear(46×19) for a month now, yesterday it was time to take it on the anual 200km ride(+/-120 miles). It was the first time I rode such a long distance on any kind of bike, and I’ve to say the most crucial part was the mental endurance, also long downhills are kind of painful if you aren’t used to a fixie.
    What really matters is the big smile on my face during most of the ride and that surprisingly I was able to finish it.

    You can take a look at the track here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/59416660

    My advice, get to know your bike and have fun!

  11. I have been doing progressively longer rides on my Schwinn Fixie, and I’m up to 50 miles. I can’t wait to do my first century. I have only been riding fixed for 6 months and I love it. It is especially satisfying to be the first to the top despite my fixed gear “handicap”. I have caught many a roadie out on their carbon 30 spd bikes on climbs many times..they are always surprised!

    • Chris, thanks for your comment and keep it up! I started riding fixed gear about three years ago, did my first really long distance ride of 62 miles last year, then 100 miles this year. Once you realize you can push past 50, it’s all just more pedaling after that. I know what you’re saying – all the roadies with carbon frames, aero wheels and full kit think they’ve got it all figured out until they watch the fixie with no downshifting leap ahead of them on the hills. Good luck on your way to 100 – be sure to drop a note back on FixedRiders.com when you get there.

  12. Last year I rode my brakeless fixed gear Schwinn Tempo from Minneapolis to Chicago in 5 days. 120 miles the first three days, and around 80 the second two. It is an amazing experience covering so much ground on a fixed gear. I will never tour another way. Just keep in mind, keep pedaling and you’re not gonna die!

    • That’s awesome! For others who might be interested in such a ride, what route did you take? Do I understand correctly that you rode the entire Minneapolis-Chicago ride over 5 days not only on a fixed gear bike, but brakeless? Obviously that’s partly amazing and partly crazy, but I appreciate hearing about the accomplishment. Thanks for giving us your update. Do you have any photos of the event or any other comments to inspire other fixed riders to tackle a 100 mile (century) ride or a fixed gear touring ride?
      With an accomplishment like that behind you – what’s next?

      By the way, where did you hear about FixedRiders.com? Don’t hesitate to tell your friends and post some fixed gear pics at FixedRiders.com – thanks for letting us know about your fixed gear century +++. Amazing ride.

  13. I did a fixed gear century in June, 2010, The Ride to Montauk, on Long Island. My bike is a 1984 Pinarello Record SL frame converted to fixed gear, and very at home and comfortable on the road. I prepared by doing two 70 mile rides on flattish terrain. You can see photos of the bike and of the ride on my blog: http://www.jwanermanbikeblog.blogspot.com
    I am also planning to do the Seagull Century in Maryland, in October 2010. This century is flat as a pancake.

    Happy Riding,

    Jeffrey Wanerman

    • This is great – let’s keep the comments coming. For everyone who has ridden a fixed gear century ride, post a comment. If you haven’t ridden 100 miles on a fixie, but you know someone who has, tell them about fixedriders.com, and let them know we’re interested in their story too!

      Jeffrey – it’s almost October – is the Maryland Seagull century still in the works? If so, please take some pictures and let me know if you’d like to offer part of your ride feedback/remarks here at FixedRiders.com – we’d love to keep a community journal of cool ride stories. Riding a 100 miler on a fixed gear is quite an accomplishment – but for those of us who have done it, we are not alone. Keep posting your stories and maybe we can inspire some others!!

  14. Did 100 miles fixed gear today Manchester 100 sportive. I too only ride fixed gear now and I had been building up my mileage for the 100. It is indeed very satisfying to know I did all 100 miles fixed and out of all the other bikes I saw today, ones I passed and ones that passed me, I was the only one doing it fixed gear. I had a few ‘respect’ comments along the way and also a few ‘wtf fixed?!’ comments lol.

    The toughest part was some very steep hill climbs in which I could bearly move the peddles but with lots of effort I got up huffing and puffing.

    A great experience and one I will deffinately do again.

  15. i did my second fixed century last month, both were amazing for different reasons. the first was slow, took about 13 hours, and as it wasn’t a loop, it was a great feeling ending up so far away from where i started, and having to get a train back.

    the second was definitely more about the challenge. there was only 2 of us and we just tried to do it as quickly as possible, only stopping to check the map and a short lunch. did it an about 9 hours, which inst amazing but still ok having done no training.

    http://newcastlefixed.wordpress.com/

    • It all starts somewhere. It doesn’t matter how fast you rode your fixed gear century – the fact that you did it is something you can consider as an accomplishment throughout your life – and you among a select group. The fact that you decided to repeat the fixed gear 100-miler can certainly help encourage others who are wondering whether they can make it and whether those who have ridden a fixed gear century would ever commit to conquering such a challenge again. Thanks for your comments Phil! Let us know when you are going to try fixed gear century #3, and we’ll post your photos and story at FixedRiders.com!

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