Monday, April 11, 2011

What's Your Bike of Choice for Early Season Riding?

Finally after months of inactivity (for the most part) there's no more snow on the trails and the weather is finally warm enough to ride comfortably. So the question is what bike do you ride? I know not everyone has more than one bike, but the true addicts like myself do. So which do you choose? Do you take the roadie out first and try to get your legs and lungs back in shape before hitting the trails? Or do you choose the XC hardtail with a shitload of gears so that you can ease into the riding season? Maybe the freeride bike with 6 inches of travel?Yeah it only had a crapload of gears because you removed the big ring for the sexy RF bash guard, but man isn't that ride plush with all that travel? Or maybe the singlespeed? That's right I said the singlespeed. "Why the singlespeed?" you ask..."Isn't riding this so early in the season basically the equivalent of kicking yourself in the nuts?" "Why yes...yes it is." I answer. But it's good and I'll tell you why.

My Soul Cycles Hooligan
There's been alot of debate over the years about gears vs no gears, the 29'er crowd is going through the same thing right now. Before I tried it I was like how is this better than gears? IMHO it's not better...just different. Look, I love all my bikes the same and they all have a specific use or they do one thing better than the others. The bottom line is the singlespeed bike is a fitness and skills building machine! Nothing else will get you in shape quicker than a singlespeed. Momentum is the key, if you don't want to walk up the hills you have to ride faster. Because you have to keep up your momentum, you become better at choosing good lines. This is crucial if you ride rigid. Up until this year thats what I've been riding, a rigid singlespeed, which is basically a bike with one gear and no suspension. Unfortunately, the tendinitis (tennis elbow) that plagued me last year will not allow me to ride the rigid fork...at least not for a while. No huge benefits to riding rigid anyway other than a lighter bike, slightly improved steering response, and no fork maintenance. Well, maybe to some those are huge benefits. Personally I like a little cush up front when riding some of the rocky and rooty terrain we have here in the NE. It's actually amazing how such a low tech piece of equipment can make you a better rider. No pain no gain I guess. So that's what I am riding right now, how about you?