SS: I Can’t Put My Finger On It

I have been noticing over the past couple of months that my husband has only been riding his single speed bike when we go mountain biking. At first, I didn’t think anything about it, but then I started wondering what the big deal was?  He had bought a Gary Fisher single speed bike a couple of years ago from someone off of Craigslist and rode it off and on, but now he is riding it all the time!

It’s not like he doesn’t have a very nice Trek Stache 7 bike sitting in the garage that he bought brand new last summer, but it’s barely getting any time on the trail. I’ve been questioning him about this change and he told me that he has more fun on the single speed than his geared bike.  I’m going to be honest, that bewildered me because riding a single speed is hard work!

When I first started mountain biking, I actually rode the Gary Fisher because I really didn’t understand how geared bikes work. However, when I finally understood how the gears worked and how they helped me go up hills easier, I was hooked. So, I ditched the single speed and bought a Cannondale Scalpel.  To be honest, the Cannondale is really too much bike for me right now, but that is another story.

Even though my husband has been super excited about all the personal records he has been setting on the single speed, I just didn’t understand. Why would anyone want to ride a bike that took so much effort to push around the trail? When I even think single speed, my quads and hamstrings hurt–LOL.  However, I found myself wanting to try it again. Don’t ask me why, because the thought alone is intimidating.

On Saturday I decided to give it a try. The first time around the trail I rode my husband’s Stache 7 and did great on my time. I’ve been trying out the Stache 7 lately to see if I want to trade in my Scalpel, so that bike itself is a whole new ballgame to me.  I digress though.  When it was time to switch bikes, I took a deep breath and hopped on the Gary Fisher single speed and took off.

I can’t explain what happened next. It’s like everything changed. I don’t know what it was…I can’t put my finger on it.  If I had to choose one word to describe the feeling that I had while riding the bike, it would be EXHILARATING! When I’m riding a geared bike, I am constantly wondering when I should shift, what gear I should be in, and what the terrain is like.  Overall, I’m still a newbie when it comes to mountain biking.  Yes, I have been riding for a couple of years but it’s never been consistent and only during the summer, so I am still learning.

All my inhibitions fell off as I rode the single speed on Saturday! I rode much faster than I usually ride on the trail. I didn’t have to overthink anything. I knew that if a hill was coming up that I needed to push harder before getting there so I would have more power going up the hill.  I’m not going to pretend to understand all the dynamics of a single speed bike, or even a geared bike for that matter. What I do know however, is this… I had more fun riding the single speed on Saturday than I’ve had in a good while!  Don’t get me wrong, I love riding and always have fun when I go, except when it’s 100° outside and I overheat.  Even then, though, I still have fun.

Again, I don’t know how to describe the feeling that I experienced on Saturday. I just felt so free riding the single speed. I love the way the gravel sounded underneath my tires as I rode around the trail. I love the way the wind felt on my face because I was going so fast. Were the hills harder to go up?  Yes, they were, but I did it!  Sure, I had to stop and rest after going up a couple of them, but it didn’t take long to recover, and I kept going.  Only one time did I have to actually get off the bike and push.  That happened while going up a hill and around a sharp angled curve.  My husband had already warned me that it would be difficult because we had just finished going up a previous hill.  When I got halfway around the curve and I couldn’t push the peddles anymore, I got off and pushed the bike.  There was no way I could start again in the middle of a curve on a hill, and being the smart person that I am, I didn’t want to even try it.  Ain’t no shame in my game honey!  Regardless, I ended up beating my personal record for that particular trail.  I was so stoked! Heck, I still am!

So basically, I now understand why my husband has been riding the single speed for the past couple of months. I have to say that I’m a little jealous, and I’m happy that he just ordered a Superfly SS because that means I will be able to ride the Gary Fisher.

Our after-ride glow. 

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