I’ll take one, thanks.

After reading Karl’s blog post “2008 Fuel EX9: Post Punk Pondering” I’d like to share my own Punk Bike experience. While Karl was slogging through the Punk Bike trails on his fancy-schmancy 27 gear racing bike, I was on my recently purchased Bianchi Sok singlespeed. And that one speed was just fine with me.

Bianchi Sok

Truth be told, I’m new to singlespeed mountain biking. I always thought that gears would make me ride better and faster. If one is good, then 27 should be great. More is better, right?

Then why would anyone want to ride a bike with only one gear around the muddy hills of Western Pennsylvania in the rain? Because it’s pure fun. No chain suck. No finding the right gear. No messing around with shifter levers. All you have to do is pedal and steer…and brake every once in a while. The Sok carried me through a very muddy day in style and with no complaints.

When I first had the opportunity to test ride a few singlespeeds, this is how my test rides usually went: The first half of the ride I felt great, all the while thinking, “I gotta get one of these bikes!” The second half of the ride, legs aching, lungs burning, I found myself searching in vain and wishing for a lower gear.

So what changed and why did I spend good money on a bike with only one gear? Maybe I’m in better shape now. Maybe my inner pragmatist appreciates the low-maintenance and reliability of a singlespeed. Now that I think about it, there are lots of reasons. Add them all together and they made my 4+ hour ride in the mud this last Sunday fun. So that’s my answer: one gear is fun.

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