Monday, November 12, 2012

Singlespeeding: One Year In

About this time last year, I wrote a blog post about my then new singlepseed. One year later, I find myself drawn more than ever to this bike. Out of my collection of rigs, it is certainly my favorite.

How did this happen? How did a bike which delivers one gear, exponentially more pain on climbs, and zero rear suspension become my first choice for fun?

There are a number of reasons, some of which are easier to understand for those who already attend the Church of One True Cog:

SIMPLICITY: The shifting system of modern bikes is precise. It is also heavy, complex, expensive and prone to misfire and even self destruction in mud and weather. I choose to ride this bike frequently in the colder months partly because of its simplicity. After a ride, just hose it off, wipe it down and hang it up.

CHALLENGE: This is the part that non-singlespeeders find most confusing. They shake their heads as they see us standing up, grunting away at climbs on which they can gear down and ascend with relative ease. But here is the thing: I don't want "relative ease". Twenty years into this mountain bike thing, I look for different experiences, including hard ones that test my stamina and determination. I already know that my uber plush bike can zip down rock gardens with ease. Question is: how can I perform without all this technology?

WEIGHT: This point is easiest to understand: the bike is six pounds lighter than my full suspension pig.

TRAINING: When I compare my times on my usual local loops, the singlespeed almost always bring me in faster. Why? Because you have to go faster/work harder on climbs, there is no choice. See aforementioned Challenge section.

My singlespeed does not work well for all rides, I would never take it to Grouse Ridge, nor would I choose it for rides with exceptionally steep, prolonged climbs. But this bike has found a place on my local trails. And in my heart.

See article from last year.