The past week or so has contained some stressful events both personally and professionally. As any seasoned mountain biker knows, the best way to shrug off the stress and get your head straight is to get out and ride…so that’s what I did. This past Saturday, I grabbed my rigid, SS, 29er and hit the trail with a friend. No cameras, no review product…nothing but the bike, the trail and my brain ready to explode if I didn’t get some quality spin time in quickly.
There are two things I know when I grab my SS.
- It is going to be painful – When you ride as many longer travel bikes as I do…grabbing the rigid, singlespeed insures that I am signing up for pain.
- It is going to be nice and quiet – A rigid, ss makes zero noise.
We loaded up the truck and hit the road ready to conquer the dirt without gears. For those of you that haven’t ridden a singlespeed or are wondering why you can’t just ride your geared back without shifting…the singlespeed experience is a different form of mountain biking all together. Prior to riding a dedicated SS sled, there is a misconception among many that just riding your geared bike without shifting is comparable…but in reality…it is not even close.
When I get out on my SS, there is a different aura surrounding the ride. There is a calmness before the ride that is unlike any other geared mountain bike excursion. It is almost as if I am preparing my body for the increased power requirement but with a solitude of quiet calmness. The ride I am about to complete is going to require a much different approach. The rigid platform is going to be unforgiving to my mistakes…the steep pitches and climbs are going to have to be attacked without the aid of an increased gear range…the downhills are going to have to be navigated with a precise line…and all of this is going to be done with only hearing the rubber of my tires gripping the dirt and the wind on the leaves.
When you ride a dedicated SS, the entire ride is different and one of my favorite aspects is that you have to think…but in a different way. I am no longer worrying about gear selection as that is replaced by getting creative with ways to keep momentum. I am not looking for the nastiest line to plow through…I need the fastest, smoothest line from point a to point b (which is just as challenging in technical terrain).
By the end of the ride on Saturday…my ass was officially kicked. I really need to get out on that bike more often as it completely exposes how lazy and sloppy I have let suspension let me get. Every single one of my mistakes comes glaring in the face as the rigid bike takes no prisoners. You either ride the section right…or get a sharp reminder of what you are doing wrong. Riding my rigid, singlespeed keeps me honest.