Thanks to this wonderfully social hobby (wife would say obsession and I can’t argue) I’ve had the pleasure of riding with many different folks this last year. The riding skills and fitness of a number of them have left an impression on me and there is often a common denominator – those who indulge Singlespeed to varying degrees.
As you may have read, I am keen to add a SS rig to the stable to keep Albert company and thanks to Dave C, I finally got to see what all the fuss is about on Wednesday’s night ride. Losing gears was more than enough to contend with, I thought as I drove to Dave’s house, but I had forgotten what else he had in store for me. My On-One Inbred for the night would also feature:
- 29 inch wheels
- Rigid carbon forks
- Mary Bars (think Mary Poppins and you’re getting close)
Now I admit to being guilty of a fair bit of sledging in Dave’s direction concerning those bars. Add the big wheels and rigid forks and you have yourself one ‘alternative’ looking bike. I was sure the occasional motorist did a double-take as they clocked it but it was really just my imagination as I was feeling a tad self-conscious.
The first proper test was the climb from Tanners up to Ranmore. Not normally a favourite of mine on the best of days and my mind had pretty much convinced me I was buggered before I even started. But then the obstinate, belligerent side of me kicked in and I stood up and went up there faster than I ever have done before. Even Jem said he couldn’t keep up and that is saying something. OK, I was breathing very hard, seeing stars and had the biggest stitch of my life at the top, but it was FUN.
Next climb was from the bottom of White Down back to the Ranmore Road and once again, with much more seated pedalling this time, I went faster than ever before.
I hadn’t appreciated what a huge physical workout it is and on Thursday morning, my WHOLE BODY ached, not just the pins.
The other thing I really liked was the peace and quiet. I was actually able to fully concentrate on hanging on down White Down – no chain or drive gear slapping around to put me off. The only downside to SS is on fast flat sections where you are pedalling like a b’stard just to hit 18mph.
Other than that, the Inbred was superb and big thanks to Dave. Yes I want an Inbred Singlespeed but no, I most certainly do not want big wheels and rigid forks.
As for the bars, I quietly admit I really liked them but, no I won’t be buying some. I think there’s some parallel to men wearing their wives undies – they like it but don’t admit it and unless its David Beckham, they won’t do it in public! Vanity wins that argument for me so mine will feature normal bars.
I’d urge anyone to try it and don’t think that just leaving your usual bike in 14th gear will suffice – it won’t. Borrow, beg but don’t steal one to try it, certainly don’t knock it.
You’ll be surprised and possibly, like me, converted.