Wednesday 10 October 2012

Single Speed (or Sunday Best)

Cycling is a ridiculously expensive hobby. Having had both my road bike and my mountain bike serviced this year has caused financial distress. Please give generously to my bike fund! Ha!

My top bikes (Scotty and Cayo) have lots of parts that require servicing, maintenance, repair or replacement. It's these factors that have caused my financial worries. My relatively simple single speed bike, however, has caused no financial distress this year. Single speed bikes are generally cheaper, lighter and much more mechanically simple. Without a front and rear mech and associated gear levers, the bike requires much less maintenance. Efficiency of a single-speed chain is more efficient than a geared cycle - a straight chain line, lack of chain drag from rear mech jockey pulleys, lack of chain rings, ramps and pins all improve efficiency. So, my theory is that if I cycle more on my single speed this will reduce maintenance costs. My high end bikes will require less maintenance as a direct result of less use. As Chris Hodge puts it 'use higher end bikes for 'Sunday Best' only''. I like that notion. With these ideations in mind, I allowed Chris to convert Queenie into a single speed mountain bike!

So, currently I have a Sunday Best road bike (for audax events) and a Sunday Best mountain bike (for events like the Bear Bones 200). In addition to that, I also have a single speed road bike and a single speed mountain bike too. I will use my single speeds for training, fun and cost effectiveness!
With my newly converted Queenie, I took her for a test spin early this week. Where better to test her - I took her through a usual route of mine, through naughty fields and around the Breadcrumb Trail. Was funny riding this bike with only one gear. The first hill encountered off-road was real menace but completed without putting a foot down. Single speeds require way more effort on the hills but I figured it's a good training tool. No worries encountered passing through naughty fields but faster than usual compared to a higher gear than usual. Following the Breadcrumb Trail was fun as always but took a while getting used to a higher gear - would normally trek along the single track in granny gear. The trails were followed easily enough, so I guess getting used to a higher gear was fine, just required a wee bit more effort. Continued my trek home by following road and off-road routes to Coughton Ford which proved to be fun and OK. Some of the bits I removed from Queenie (rear mech and chain) will be used to fix Rob's bike (read previous blog).

Took Florence out this week too. Completed my usual TTT 20 route. Hadn't cycled on Florence for over a month and it felt great to take her out again. My time was poor but, hey ...

Bring on the single speeds!

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