Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blinglespeed madness

Remember a few months back when I posted the ten phases of singlespeeding? It got a little worse today. My new sexy, green Chris King singlespeed hubs showed up. It took a lot of phone work to find them since King has apparently decided to cut way back on inventory so lead time is 4 weeks. I'll be glad when this lean fad is over... yeah, I said it. Tomorrow the hubs are on their way to Mike Curiak to build into some XC & bike-packing wonder wheels.

Here's a quick update on my progress into singlespeed-dom. (updates in bold blue)

The Ten Phases of Singlespeeding

1. Build your first singlespeed --
inspired by others riding SS, you either convert an old bike or buy an entry level SS to get the flavor.. Ride it, ***** about how hard it is getting up the hills, think about where to ride next. Lather, rinse and repeat...Raleigh XXIX... check.

2. Upgrade madness -- the weight weenie / blinglespeed side takes over and you suddenly develop a need to upgrade. A combination of an empty bank account, an upset significant other or a weight weenie part failure ensues. You have parts shipped to work, so the wife won't see the bike parts you ordered. You start looking for ideas (like the MTBR SS forum) to further your obsession of the perfect SS. (note to Jenny: I didn't have any parts shipped to work)... Raleigh XXIX with lots of Ritchey WCS... check.

3. Gear ratios - your brain becomes obsessed with determining the optimum gear ratio for the upcoming race or given terrain. You temporarily lose focus on just riding and being one with your bike. Your library of forks, chain rings and cogs/cassettes starts to rival the selection at Supergo or Webcyclery.

I do not have an application on my laptop that calculates gear ratio, gain ratio, gear inches and development. I do not know in great detail the differences between these values because I read the ramblings of the late and great Sheldon Brown. OK, so I do... what of it?!

4. Realization - the entry level SS no longer is good enough. You convince yourself you need a better bike -- custom, SS specific, whatever.. Lynskey Ridgeline... check.

5. Purism - you realize that you're almost exclusively riding your SS. Your other bikes are collecting dust. Under your breath, you sometimes mock others riding gears and work your butt off to one-up them. You use your SS as a tool to brag or as an excuse / handicap (I geared too stiff for the course...) Start hating RockShox and Shimano just on principle, and start thinking rigid forks and DH tires are the better setup.

Check, check, check, check. Just for the record, I've always held a strong contempt for Shimano and still wish Suntour XC MicroDrive would make its proper return.

6. Laziness - you go out and upgrade to a "proper" SS. Now that you it, the upgrade and gear ratio obsessions are fulfilled. You get lazy, and start trashing your bike without taking care of it. You forget about checking tire pressures, chain tension, broken teeth and don't even consider about the consequences. A wonderful delusion, until the bike leaves you stranded 5 miles from your car, and your cell phone has no signal deep in the woods... Wha?! Never. Heresy!

7. Heresy - ride your SS so much, that when you ride your geared bike, you miss your SS. You take it one step further and actually sell off the geared bike(s) that you previously couldn't live without. Wha?! Ride a geared bike. Disgusting. Illogical. NEVER.

8. Fight club - start putting beer in your water bottles, grow some unusual facial hair (for the men), dress like a freak, and acquire the attitude that you don't give a **** about racing or beating the gearies. Riding a pink colored bike frame or wearing orange socks with your Birkenstocks to a bar after the ride doesn't even click to you as being strange. Jenny would probably tell you that most of this is nothing new.

9 (optional) Scorching - as if SS'ing isn't fringe enough, start thinking is an interesting alternative. Give it a go, maybe even get hooked. No fixie for me yet. This is an optional step.

10. Approach martyrdom - actually leave the clique by riding so much that few buddies can keep up with you. You become one with your bike. You simultaneously learn a level of humbleness and let your results speak for themselves. I am riding alone a lot lately. I'm still grounded enough to realize that I'm only a legend in my mind. Did I tell you about the time I won a downhill on a fully rigid bike? I digress...

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