Single(speed) and Free(wheel)

What can I say that hasn’t already been said?

Singlespeeders get off more

Less Gears, More Beers

I’m too dumb to shift

Pick one and be done – gear that is.

As far as I know, my first bike was a single speed and maybe yours was too. The concept is the same, why pay extra for something you’re not going to use. Mine first two wheeler was a hand-me-down Strawberry Short Cake theme one gear with a pink seat and white tires. I eventually upgraded to rad 1986 Huffy Warp Factor 5, with the coolest white disc wheels and also white tires.

Until the Krampus was introduced, I was still riding white tires on my SS Pugsley as my go to trail/bar/bike polo/winter bike. I’ve now tried my best to keep the storm trooper out of the dirt and only saddle ‘er up when it snows because as they say, white is really hard to keep clean. The On One Floaters are super hard to get these days, maybe even discontinued? And after a few tours in the red Cuyuna dirt and the sandy SingleSpeed Arizona course, white tires become… ugly brownish, reddish used to be white tires.

There are a lot of reasons to go without the gears. Today’s tidbit of no gear knowledge is:

Simplicity – If you’re on a single speed and you want to go faster, just pedal more.

While a single speed is just another bike, there is a way to ride it well. When I started riding bikes, I went through everything that was available at the time. Fixies, full squish, hell I even had a road bike for like a week. Ew. Now my trail rig, bar bike, gravel bike, cruiser – all single speeds.

I’m out of the saddle more than I’m in it and I think that is for a couple of reasons. One is the power needed to mash those cranks. Maybe it’s to keep my weight forward so I can drop my heavy ass one thigh at a time on the pedals. The other is flow. I’m not a fan of a seat kicking me in the ass and personally, I feel like I can move with the bike a lot better when it’s in my hands and not under my ass. I think I’ve become pretty good a picking lines and avoiding the brakes when I’m coming into turns. Once you have a SS moving, you want to keep it that way. When it comes to speed, it’s a lot easier to maintain than to gain.

As these articles manifest from the hop and barley fog in my head into words, sentences, paragraphs and god willing, coherent articles on your screen, I’ll work through my fleet of single speeds. I’ll dive into why I have more than one and why I think it’s weird when someone says “I have a single speed”. I’ll argue that gears and a derailleur are the weakest link of the bicycle. Why shedding the cassette just plain makes you a better rider. And the serenity you can can find in the simplicity of a single speed bicycle. Namaste… or whatevs.

Until the next article I’ll leave you with this question and please answer with your thoughts in the comments.

Not all single speeds are klunkers, but are all klunkers single speeds?

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6 Responses to Single(speed) and Free(wheel)

  1. Gomez May 4, 2021 at 10:59 am #

    yes yes

  2. JP May 4, 2021 at 11:02 am #

    I can’t wait to go down this rabbit hole!

    • Erv Spanks May 5, 2021 at 6:55 am #

      Educational AND Entertaining!!

  3. Joe May 4, 2021 at 11:44 am #

    To answer your question.. yes, can confirm… at least that’s the way I see it.

    I tend to ride my singlespeed Pugsley as much as my other bikes. Just something about the big ol’ honkin’ Sunrise Bars on it that draw me in. And of course any time the weather is wet and sloppy, I grab a 1 speed.

  4. Jeff Shamansky May 8, 2021 at 11:26 am #

    Love it, been gearless for more than a decade now!

  5. Phil May 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm #

    Wise words. My Kramp became my first singlespeed. Now my back hedge is liberally decorated with cassettes, derailleurs and shifters. Re the Q? Yes.

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