Single track mind

Single track on a single speed adds up to a new obsession and some lessons in speed.


This weekend was all about dialling in the new singlespeed bike. Reality was it was more about dialling in the new singlespeed rider. Momentum is your friend when you only have one gear - both up hills and down.
On the way up, even more than usual, that slow guy in the queue in front of you is an obstacle to progress. On a regular bike you can put it in a lower gear and just creep along behind but on a bike with only one gear, there is a certain minimum speed. Below this speed and the strength requirements of the legs gets too high.
On the descent, once you exceed a certain speed, you cannot contribute to forward progress due to the small gear on the bike. So carry as much speed as possible at all times and don’t slow down for anything. Which should translate nicely to faster descents on a geared bike.

Something I know I have to work on is taking hairpins standing. Not only does it produce more power for that one gear, but it should result in better climbing speed too, and generally better control on the rougher corners. It also helps to rip into them quickly so some momentum can help out. On the descending side for me it is about not slowing down just because my brain keeps screaming at me to slow down - the tyres will grip at much higher speeds than I go so I need to learn to deal with it.
I anticipate that the one-speed will help with all this.

What about the fitness aspect?


Climbing the steeper sections definitely works on leg strength.
Chasing younger or fitter riders all the time, without the benefit of gears, works on aerobic fitness.
The unrelenting nature of being stuck in one single gear cannot be overlooked.

Other benefits


Better skills.
Lower maintenance.
No derailleur to rip off with a stick.
Quiet mindful riding (a bit Zen really).
It’s cool!