Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Singleator: (n) street slang for "I can't keep buying new derailleurs."

Before I owned a van, I owned a singlespeed.  Multiple singlespeeds, actually.  I've been developing a theory, still pretty loose and grossly abbreviated here, that the things we do in our lives are necessarily and certainly predicated upon each other, one on top of the next, in such a way that, at least in hindsight, your path through life is pretty well determined by your early mistakes.  For me, singlespeeding is one of them. 

And like most things, I wish I'd held on tighter. 

Singlespeeds.  Cursed harbingers of the Apocalypse.  The promise of a better life.  Both, and neither all at once. Everything you've ever heard about singlespeeding and singlespeeders is pretty much true but also 100% false.  It would seem, as a complicated population called "cyclists" that is constantly dividing and subdividing itself to really define ourselves as individuals, that we'll soon have two distinct subcategories in this, already fringe group:  Singlespeeders (those who can focus on something besides gearing ratios and booze for more than about 5 minutes) and blinglespeeders (those who cannot.) 

Case in point.  See below, Kev29er's blinglespeed.  More titanium than most South American countries.  Worth more than the gross national product of Yemen.  A tidy, simple machine. 

(Insignificant side note:  Elusive, tertiary category of singlespeeder that is on the rise:  The Professional Singlespeeder.  One gear limitations being as profound as they are, this is really the impairment of being able to perceive such limitations at all.  God bless em.)

And then there's C-ham's new Whip:

They call her Vanna White.  Pat Sajak, eat your heart out. 
So yeah, C-ham, the latest convert.  Like bird flu, it's spreading. 
I must admit, his recent trail side text message correspondence, though sent in the dead of night and mostly illegible, reveals pure glee and half-drunkenness, and has me hankering to catch the bug a little too.  It makes sense on some level.  For example, a list of things that you do less of as a dad:
Install new derailleur pulleys
Lube chain
replace cables and housing
most things, really.

So I see the usefulness of one massive, evenly deteriorating, mostly unbreakable gear.   

Trouble is, as I said before, I've been down this road.  The first time, in Colorado, my whole riding crew bought into the singlespeed fad one winter, like snap bracelets but slightly sturdier, and suddenly everybody had one.   Gear inches were debated, suspension shunned, and I'll be honest, mistakes were made. Rides that should have taken two hours took entire goddamn days to complete. A lot of walking happened. Injuries occurred and recurred. A girlfriend or two were lost.   Lives changed, and not necessarily for the better.

Gun shy now, I'm not always eager to jump right back into the whole singlespeed thing every time the bug bites a riding buddy. Cham had been talking about getting a onespeed for a while, which makes especially good sense in his case because he really only rides one speed: fast. Plus, he can drink-rally with the best of them, only a logical rung or two on the ladder from being a full time retro grouch.

And anyway, I think the real consideration to be made from all of this is that if gears can't get you the W at the Paranormal, maybe a lack thereof is the real ticket to the top step.  Say what you want about the lack of logic therein, I really think that could be true.  SS friendly.  Fewer pieces that are vital to forward propulsion to be crushed by C-ham's appallingly long appendages.  A sense of purpose.  Home turf.  Etc.  Besides, making sense isn't really what this is about anyway. 

Couple all of that with the global all-clear to eat chick fil a again, which thematically dovetails right into this somehow, and the message from above is clear:

Grow a moustache.  Register here.  Gear down and boogie. 

up, up, up.   

No comments:

Post a Comment