Singlespeed Birthday

by Mike on March 17, 2009

Today, is St. Patty’s day. It’s also the year mark since I converted my geared GT Avalanche into a singlespeed machine. I remember that first ride like it was yesterday…I was so green back then.

Since that inaugural St. Patty’s day ride, I’ve put in 19 more singlespeed rides totaling 150 miles. That’s been enough to give me a taste, but I still feel green. Here are a few random thoughts about my first year in one gear…

* The Forte conversion kit was a killer investment. All I needed to get started.

* I started in 34×18 then moved to 34×20

* I still have a hard time deciding if today is a singlespeed day or a regular geared day.

* I like taking friends that don’t have bikes out on the trail. They ride the geared, I ride singlespeed. No decision making involved.

* Cranking with one gear on DC for 14 miles (my longest jaunt) made my back scream.

* The highlight of my first year: Cleaning Mudflaps aka Cardiac Hill at Hawes, twice (once before the trail work, once after)

* Riding a one speed makes me feel cool. Geared riders say stuff like “whoah, you’re riding this on a singlespeed?”

* Once I felt sufficiently cool, I went and rode the Quad Bypass on my geared. I got passed by singlespeeders… and said “whoah, you’re riding this on a singlespeed?” I don’t feel cool anymore.

* One of my best rides was Hawes au natural. No gears, no suspension, no tools, no tubes, no GPS, no Camelbak… Nothing but a bottle of hydration and legs.

It was a good year, but I’m not even close to giving up on my gears. I just love the slow tech granny gear climbs too much. The ones that slow burn the legs… If I had the cash for a new bike, I’d buy a road bike before a true singlespeed. If I had even more cash I’d put it into a Niner RIP or a Turner 5 Spot.

The good news is I don’t need a sweet new singlespeed to enjoy the trails. I have one. The converted Avalanche should keep me happy at least another year. For my next singlespeed challenge…the Helipad TT. And as soon as the cool factor is kicks in again, I’ll have to hit the Quad with some real one speeders.

{ 3 comments }

1 Dennis March 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Hey MtbikeAZ
wasn’t too bad. I road out at Usery I live in AJ and road the road to get there from Idaho and Mckellips and entered in from the east end of the park.

The road are difficult going home. Miss all my little gears. But out on the coarse it wasn’t too bad. I was surprised at how easy it was to move. It was fun. Next is Hawes…
Have a good one.

2 MTBikeAZ March 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Hardtail is the only way to go with SS. When you are used to granny gearing up hills, hammering up on one speed up a hill will be new to those back muscles. At least that’s how it was for me. SSing works the muscles harder faster. So my advice, take it easy your first few rides before hammering out a big ride. Good luck with your setup.

3 Dennis March 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Just built a bike with the Forte. I am looking forward to see what a SS is like. Hope it works out. I didn’t like your comment about your back screaming…
I built a hardtail and hope it isn’t going to hurt too much…

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