To singlespeed or not?

I’ve had a funny old rollercoaster with singlespeeding. From being the second ‘modern’ singlespeeder in the UK (Greg Fuquay was the first) and organising the Singlespeed UK champs from 1995 up to about 2004 whereupon it started gaining its own momentum, through going to the SSWC in 2000, organising the 2001 race, going to SSWC2002 in Downieville, SSWC2004 in Germany, SSWC2006 in Sweden and SSWC 2007 in Scotland – and to where I am now. Now, although I still have my trusty Surly Karate Monkey, it only gets brought out to race the UK singlespeed champs, with occasional forays for Mayhem and Sleepless.

It’s partly due to living in a steep-sided valley (and while there are a few singlespeeders here, they don’t have the five mile ride on a flat road to get to the start of the ride that I have, which makes having a sensible small gear a pain to get anywhere flat in a hurry. But there’s also a sense of a generation gap where the singlespeed thing is all ticking along nicely without my intervention and it’s all grown up and living in a bedsit in north London and going to college.

However, there are way too many nice people in singlespeeding to turn my back on it completely, so I reckon I’m going to have to sign up for the Durango SSWC in September just to remind myself why I got into it in the first place. The race itself isn’t important – I always figured that the test of a well-pitched SSWC would be if you lined everyone up at the start and said ‘We decided not to race today, we’re all going for a great ride instead, who’s coming?’ – and if more than half the competitors stuck their hands up, then you’ve still got the right people there. The moment you see a turbo trainer on the start line, or someone asks if there’s cash prizes for the top five, then it’s time to kill it… So, best of luck to the Durango Crew. They seem to have it pitched right at the moment, though, with the entry qualifier being a colouring-in competition…
SSWC 2009 site