Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Riding Single

I'm fortunate to be able to ride to and from work. Not only do I save on travel costs but I get to my desk feeling fresh (I shower at work) and wide awake. I used to ride either my mountain or road bike, both fairly valuable and expensive pieces of equipment. London's road are a shocker (excuse the pun) so the wear and tear on my beautiful bikes was getting worse after every ride. To and from work, 5 days a week and the mileage all starts to add up!

When I started working at Haygarth, I always noticed this poor old bike chained to a drain pipe, exposed to the elements. I asked around the office and I found the owner. He explained that he had bought a new bike so the old one was in retirement. I made it quite obvious that I was interested in the neglected old beauty. A few months later I got a call from him saying that I could have the bike as he knew I'd make use of it, rather than it being shackled to the wall outside. I bought him a nice bottle of wine to say thanks.

And so started my project of turning the rusty old beauty into a single speed commuting bike. I got a single speed converter, stripped off all the gears, bottle cages and useless chainrings and slowly but surely bought bits and pieces to get it back to working order. In doing so, I've learnt so much about fixing bikes and bike maintenance/care. It's turned into a little hobby which has kept me busy for hours up in the loft or out in the shed.

Riding a single speed is such a awesome feeling. You stop worrying about which gear you're in and have time to look around, think of other things and take in your surroundings. Secondly, because there's only one gear, it's super light, there's much less wear and hardly any maintenance needed. Lastly, it's making my legs stronger so when I do ride my road bike on the weekends, my times and speed are improving.

Riding single is like being a kid again on my first bike without a care in the world. Once more I'm reminded how the simple things in life bring me the most pleasure. The picture above is of Howie, my new single best friend.

3 comments:

Giles said...

Interesting. Direct Choice on p.10 of Marketing this week also picks out Rapha! These guys must appeal to creative types as much as to cycling obsessives...

GenghisKhan said...

Completely jealous that you can ride to work--and shower! That's awesome!
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www.singlespeedrevolution.com
Ride One or Ride None!

Will Vaughan said...

ride fixed
loose the brakes