We all know that riding a bike is good exercise. It definitely beats hopping in the car. And it tends to burn more calories than walking. But which types of bikes offer the best workout?
There are lots of choices to make when choosing a bike. Deciding between a geared bike and a single speed bike is one of them.
So how do these two compare if pushing your body and finessing your form are priorities? Are single speed bikes good for fitness? Or should you stick with geared bicycles if you want to feel the burn?
Geared bikes vs single speeds
First, let’s start by clarifying the difference between a geared bike and a single speed.
When you ride a geared bike you can move between gears as you ride.
Riding uphill? Then a low gear means low resistance and an easy(ish) ascent. Cruising along a flat stretch? Then a higher gear will help you to travel further for each turn of the pedal.
Single speed bikes have only one gear. So when you’re riding a single speed, you don’t switch between gears depending upon the terrain.
You can change the gear setting before you set out on a ride. With just a couple of tools, you can alter the gear ratio to better suit the terrain you plan to tackle.
But when you’re out on the road, you have to live with the single gear setting across the ups, downs and flats of your journey.
Out on a hilly ride, this can prove challenging. But it’s exactly the type of challenge that will help you push your fitness to new levels.
Reasons to choose a single speed bike for fitness
There are lots of very good reasons why choosing a single speed bike for fitness makes total sense.
You can’t get away with easy riding
Think of a single speed like a personal trainer in bike form.
On a geared bike, there are moments when you can sit back and let your gears do the hard work. But with a single speed, it’s all on you. Your bike forces you to push yourself.
It may not be easy. But every time you challenge yourself to a long or tricky ride, you know that you’re improving your muscular endurance and your cardiovascular fitness.
You’re always pedalling
Pick a fixie bike (all Steed Bikes can be switched from fixie to single speed and vice versa) and you don’t have the option to coast.
Your pedals turn when you’re pedalling uphill – and when you’re travelling back down. This means your legs are getting a much better workout than they would on a standard geared bike.
When the going gets tough, you have to keep going
You can test your fitness with a geared bike by banning yourself from gear changes. But when your legs are like jelly and you have a bailout option at your fingertips, the temptation can easily prove too much.
Riding a single speed, you don’t have an easy way out. You can’t switch into a lower gear as you struggle up a hill. So it’s up to your legs and your willpower to keep on going.
The best bike for fitness?
Are single speed bikes good for fitness? We’d argue that they’re the best.
Pottering around the city on your single speed is a breeze. But, when you want to push yourself, riding a single speed across a range of terrains, or simply riding a long distance single speed bike, will test and hone your fitness.
Some riders choose to take their single speed out in winter months, when riding long distances through wind, rain and snow proves unappealing. They get a great workout, without having to travel so far. And they then hop back on their geared bike, with top-level fitness, when spring rolls around again.
Other riders use a single speed all year round. They get to enjoy the many benefits of single speed bikes and work on their health and fitness too.
Single speeds are light, affordable and easy to maintain. And their fitness credentials are yet another thing that makes single speed bikes good for a wide range of riding styles.Want to start your single speed adventure today? Then check out the range of fixie bikes available from Steed Bikes, all of which come with a lifetime guarantee.