Citizens of Singlespeed world(tm) don’t really have much truck with reasoned debate. From the lofty high ground of the morally authentic, they are right and you are wrong. So not content with sneering at your geared weakness, they lampoon the physical frailty of those not residing in the land of the smug.
And because most residents of this world have OCD*, a certain mental rigidity defines the magic ratio of their official transport icon. Simply divide the tooth count on the front ring by two and you have your rear sprocket size. But even in the fundermentalist religion of 2:1, some worship at the altar of 32:16, some 34:17 and a few rebellious fanatics preach the righteousness of 36:18.
Thankfully I am merely wintering in Singlespeedworld on a three month Visa. So I can break the lore, and after four eye popping, knee crunching, arm wrenching rides on 2:1, it became obvious that I needed too. While searching for a new sprocket, a random forum post proclaimed that 34:18 was the “Gear Of Champions“. I almost missed this shard of heathen light, darkened as it was by the unicogged jihad insisting all that was required was to “toughen the fuck up”
Sod them, fit that lovely big sprocket. And then ride a route to which the night brings a host of interconnected “evening bridleways” into play. This was a copy of a loop ridden earlier in the week, so granting a reasonably scientific back to back test of different ratios. First time out, the hills hurt just too much and, on occasion, I was forced to engage the 32inch pushing gear. Last night – after a day of miserable drizzle – it was a little sloppier, the roots a lot slippier but the climbs significantly easier.
Rather than approaching each long pull back up the hill with weary wretchedness, I have begun to quietly enjoy the challenge. Better still this extended jaunt into the vale of silliness reminded me that Mountain Biking is a four season sport, and that long, cold evenings are perfect for night riding on cheeky trails.
But when the days finally lengthen and the trails return to hardpack, everything with gears will waken from winter hibernation. Anyway I fully expected to be deported back to GearWorld(tm) once a proper singlespeeder reports me for riding on the – slightly wussy – Gear Of Champions
*One Cog Disorder