While recreational urban cyclists embrace fixies and messenger bags, rank-and-file racers have a new favorite sport: Singlespeed cyclocross, a sport that arguably combines the roughest and toughest elements of all cycling disciplines.

And lest there be any misunderstanding, one gear on a rigid bike with skinny tires can be just as fast as any other ride on dirt.

Last week at the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City, Marko LaLonde won the first singlespeed championship ever staged at Nationals, turning in some of the fastest lap times of any racer in any class. And just three months ago, his brother Jesse won the overall title in the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 — on a singlespeed, beating more than 1,600 fully geared and suspended bikes. The brothers hail from Madison, Wisconsin.


When Pinch Flat News recently asked Jesse LaLonde what he had against derailleurs, he said, “Nothing. They’re perfectly fine for those long training rides, you know, 200 miles or more.”

(Photo: Marko LaLonde at USCX Nationals, by Action Images)