Riding just one gear

Natural single-speeding terrain?

So far, I have ridden my single speed only in cities and on pretty flat terrain. Isn’t that the natural environment for this kind of bike that was born for track speeding and has been re-invented by the bike messenger scene?

Well, today’s Olympic road racing ladies inspired me to go biking. Only that thunderstorms have been brooding all day. And I certainly did not feel like riding in(to) one.  So, it needed to be a short spin but one that made it worthwhile to change into shorts and jersey still. It felt a little mischievous, but what the heck: Why not go on a short ride around the hills of our „backyard“ on the single speed?

1 gear + short ride + lots of vertical meters = highly efficient training

How much more direct can a cycling experience be than when you have nothing else to do than keep your legs spinning, keep your bike upright and keep your eyes and consciousness trained on what is around you (not on the numbers of all those computers riders apparently like to crowd the cockpit with)?

No distraction from the really stunning scenery that I rolled through. No self-set goals to meet since the bike has been kept lean, i.e. without any electronic gear that only rushes and chases you along, keeping your eye from what surrounds you. Those gadgets only tend to diminish outdoor biking to something that is not too far from the stupidity of riding a stationary bike: move your legs, but train your eyes on digital numbers in front of you, because they are dictating your speed and determining whether your ride was a good one or not.

Not so my ride today. It was strenuous, admittedly – but it also triggered lots of endorphins and a whole new perception of the scenery I have ridden through so many times before.

An epic ride - in more than one way

Funny, although it has – unfortunately – come a bit out of fashion among road bikers to greet each other when meeting during a tour, every single guy out there raised his hand for a friendly wave today. Hope this was not a tribute of pity to my inability of making my uphill life a little easier by shifting; but a sign of respect and, who knows, maybe a brief flash of envy when they saw the big grin on my sweat-drenched face – they may well have realized that even outside of the city, it is the purebred biking of single speeding that is the most rewarding way of earning sore muscles.

© Copyright 2012 bxa, All rights Reserved. Written For: bxa's Greetings from Germany