Thursday, September 1, 2011
Drank The Kool-Aid
It was quite delicious, and not as scary as I once thought.
What the hell am I talking about? No gears. Run what you brung. Singlespeeding. I’ve had a singlespeed 29er for a while now, but I’ve been a little nervous about taking it out on a real trail. It’s been all over the neighborhood and away on vacation with me, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle the loss of gears on a trail. Turns out I was wrong.
My singlespeed has been setup as a 32X18. I had a 20-tooth cog on the rear when I first built it, but it felt a little “spinny” on my neighborhood test rides. Since I didn’t have a 19 in my possession, I used an 18 I had in my tool box. It seemed like too much for a newbie singlespeeder to ride in the woods, so it just hung out in the shop doing nothing. After staring at my gearless 29er like it was some kind of alien spacecraft, I finally got the balls to take it out for a spin in the woods.
I took it out to North Meck, which is my “test track.” When I put on new parts or build a new bike, it’s the first place I go. It’s rough and rooty, and since it’s only 3.5 miles I won’t be stranded if something bad happens. It’s the first place I tested the Awesome Strap, and it is my go to trail for testing.
I took off at a leisurely pace, but that didn’t last long. To keep from falling over, I had to stand up and mash the pedals on climbs. The 18 tooth cog in the back seemed to be perfect for the flat stuff, and I loved my new found speed. In fact, I rode the whole trail much, much faster that I normally do (with a full assortment of gears.) Contrary to what I previously thought, it didn’t wear me out on the climbs. I actually had more energy when I finished the lap. What the hell is going on here?
Now I get it. I understand why people lose their gears. It’s simple, yet efficient. I think I could very well become a better rider if I spend a little more time on the SS too. I couldn’t wait to share my joy of singlespeeding either. When I finished the ride, I sent a text to my singlespeeding pal the MadSS. I told him how much I enjoyed my first singlespeed trail ride, and seemed happy to have another convert to the Dark Side. He also told me he liked the idea of a fast Clyde on an SS. Watch out big boys, here I come. Just as soon as I get out of the shitter.