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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3

    Newbie intro + sanity check

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    Hello! I'm a designer living in Berlin and I've been lurking for the past week before today's intro post.

    The intro part
    I've lived in Europe for most of my life and I rely on biking and public transport to get me around. I don't even have a driver's license (not a big deal here, but it is in my American and Asian hometowns where everyone drives). I just really like riding my bike. Sometimes I'd just go for a ride, aimlessly cycling in the city with no destination in mind. Distances I ride on these "I'm going out for a bike ride" can be anything between 10-60km.

    I've dabbled into cycling as a sport with mountain biking some years ago. I wouldn't say I was the fittest person, so the 60-80 km is the amount I could do easily without any training beforehand/at my fitness level, e.g. I bought my Giant mountainbike, and the next day cycled 60 km on it in about 3 hours.

    I'm riding a mixté single speed since because Berlin is pretty flat. Even when I am riding in the countryside, where it's a bit hilly and cobblestoned, it's all been manageable on my single speed.

    The sanity check part
    Some friends and I signed up as a team for the Berlin Velothon in May, the 60km race (there is also a 120km race for the pros/non-beginners). My friends on the team are all guys and we are all regular bike commuters, some of us in better physical condition than others. We plan to train together on recovery rides in the countryside, and then do speed training at Tempelhof (former Berlin airport, the runway is now open for sports training) individually. As a team we are trying to do the 60km in less than 2 hours 30 minutes, ideally.

    Is it sane that I do this race on a single speed bike? There are 1-2 others on the team who also have single speeds.

    Otherwise, we were thinking of renting racing bikes 2 weeks prior to the race to get accustomed to it, but we would train on our single speeds. Less insane?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Welcome!
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    Welcome!!!

    I can't speak to the sanity part since I have cruddy knees and ride a bike with a bazillion gears... but your rides sound like fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the welcome, Pax and lrulan.

    After some thought, the guys and I think it's best to do the race on racing bikes rather than on our singlespeeds. It's likely that we'll rent race bikes for 2-3 weeks prior to the race day so we can train and get used to the bikes. Most of the training we'll do on our current bikes though, and I've been totally paranoid about damaging my knees after taking up running, so cycling is my cross-training to balance out my running.

    My husband and another friend actually suggested getting a race bike and if I don't like the sport, I could re-sell the bike after the event. I'm not sure if that's practical (I'm 156 cm/around 5 foot, so need a small frame in the land of tall German women) but I'll look around the shops here and also had a read through the forum discussions about bike purchase + smaller frames.

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Saskatoon, Sask.
    Posts
    345
    How hilly is the course? If there are some fairly steep hills, you'll do yourself a favour by getting gears. If it's sort of gently rolling, you might be able to get away with single speed. If you do buy a road bike, you don't have to be a bike racer to appreciate it or keep it afterward. I'm old and fat, have no intention of ever taking up racing again, and absolutely love my carbon fibre road bike. (In fact I think I love it because I'm old and fat. I need all the help I can get.)
    Queen of the sea beasts

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3
    Hi Nuliajuk,

    The course is mostly flat: 80% flat and 20% hills with the hills being slow, gradual inclines rather than steep, sudden inclines. I'm going to try out a few bikes this week at different shops. I'm going for a longer ride this weekend to see if I can keep up with the others on my singlespeed. Thanks for the reassurance on buying a road bike: I'm currently inclined towards this.

    My husband thinks that splurging on a new road bike I love will get me out riding most days. I love my singlespeed and ride it almost every day.

 

 

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