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  1. #1
    meatier showers
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    A singlespeeder's story

    The "Why singlespeed?" thread is coming up on a year old now. There are over 200 replies
    in that thread and none of 'em belong to me. Over the years I've spoken up about what
    I think makes singlespeeding great but the very title of that thread made me feel like it was
    going to be a debate, and I get into way too many debates without doing so intentionally.
    So I purposefully avoided that thread until today. But today, reading it made me reflect
    on why I ride a singlespeed.

    So I've written a little story about some people you know. It's a story about how a few
    local (Eugene, Oregon) guys came to love singlespeeding so much that now maybe half the
    riders in our club, The Disciples of Dirt, ride 'em. And we're a pretty active club.

    Because of the nature of historical perspectives, I'm sure this story is littered with inaccuracies.
    So be it. The characters with diverse and equally innaccurate perceptions will no doubt be along
    soon to fine tune the white lies.

    Anyway, let me begin...

    I'd been mountain biking less than a year when I met shiggy in late 1985 or early '86. Back then
    he went by a different handle, which shall remain deeply imbedded in ancient history -- "shiggy"
    is bad enough. Anyway, shiggy and a guy named Justin and I (you've seen photos on this board
    of Justin in pantyhose and a thong at Barbie Camp) used to ride off-road quite a bit together back
    in the late '80s. We rode geared bikes back in those days. But shiggy regaled us with tall tales of
    a singlespeeder he'd ridden with years earlier from the coast; this guy rode a custom IRD singlespeed
    with platform pedals, 206mm Bullseye cranks and a pretty big gear (especially considering the rugged
    hills of Oregon), even taller than 2-to-1. And this guy was over 50 years old. Whoa! Needless to say,
    young-at-the-time shiggy was mighty impressed.

    Pesonally, I just thought the guy sounded crazy. Justin was too busy riding his bike underwater in
    Oregon's winter puddles to care.

    We pushed the idea of singlespeeding onto the back burner but shiggy clung to the legendary
    memories about the guy on the big bike with one gear.

    Fast forward about eight or ten years to the early '90s. Josh Ogle (yeah, that Josh Ogle, of Jericho
    fame) was renting a dark, dank run-down dwelling not far from downtown Eugene. Josh occaasionally
    joined the Disciples of Dirt for our weekly night rides in the Coburg Hills north of town. One night he
    showed up on a homemade singlespeed (er, make that a "custom frame").

    Eyes rolled.

    We laughed at him. Yeah, we laughed at Josh Ogle for bringing a singlespeed to an off-road ride.

    Well, shiggy didn't laugh. His inspiration had been burning inside him for years.

    A debate ensued.

    After that, shiggy started riding singlespeed off-road.

    "What?" I thought.

    Next General Coonskins took it up. I thought this was a real joke, because here was a guy who I
    could beat going either uphill or downhill, and now he was going to make his life worse by limiting
    himself to one gear. "He'll hate it and pitch that stupid bike off a cliff soon enough," I thought to
    myself.

    But that's not what happened. Late that summer, on one of the hardest group rides that our club
    does every year, Coonskins freakin' rode away from me like I was standing still. The only time I saw
    him all day was when he'd wait for us gearies to regroup. This ride has HILLS, folks. Big ones, steep
    ones, long ones. I was stunned by 'Skins transformation.

    How could this happen? My reality was becoming distorted. I did not understand.

    Coonskins went on to race the Cascade Creampuff. To say he'd earned new respect is an
    understatement. Currently, if he's not the strongest rider I know, I don't know who is.

    I decided I had to get a piece of this singlespeed action for myself. I wanted to become a strong rider,
    too. I wanted to keep up with my friends, no matter how little sense riding a singlespeed seemed to make.

    Honestly, I never expected to like it. I just wanted to get strong.

    And I did. Get strong, I mean. That was six years ago. But I found that once I got strong, I liked
    singlespeeding, too. What's funny is I can't say exactly why I like it so much. I just do. In fact, I
    like it better than any other kind of bike riding. It's so rewarding. My mega-bling FS bike doesn't see
    much action these days.

    And that's why I ride singlespeed.

    Personally, now I think the title of that other thread should be, "Why not singlespeed?" Just ask
    shiggy, or Josh, or General Coonskins -- they'll tell ya.

    --Sparty
    Last edited by Sparticus; 07-17-2006 at 01:51 PM.
    disciplesofdirt.org
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  2. #2
    Nat
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    Bravo!!!

  3. #3
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    Well written. I replied to that thread, too and didn't add much because, like you, I couldn't really answer such a question.

    It's funny, that thread is coming up on a year and I just finished a year of dirt with one gear and no suspension. Not because I was out to prove anything or even planned to exclude the gears and suspension, but it just happened; the passing of a year snuck up on. I just happened to choose my ss for every dirt ride I rode. Will I stay on just the ss? I doubt it, but I will just let it happen.

  4. #4
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Awesome!!

    Great writing,
    Cris

  5. #5
    Combat Wombat
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    Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    The "Why singlespeed?" thread is coming up on a year old now. There are over 200 replies in that thread and none of 'em belong to me. Over the years I've spoken up about what I think makes singlespeeding great but the very title of that thread made me feel like it was going to be a debate, and I get into way too many debates without doing so intentionally. So I purposefully avoided that thread until today. But today, reading it made me reflect on why I ride a singlespeed.

    So I've written a little story about some people you know. It's a story about how a few local (Eugene, Oregon) guys came to love singlespeeding so much that now maybe half the riders in our club, The Disciples of Dirt, ride 'em. And we're a pretty active club.

    Because of the nature of historical perspectives, I'm sure this story is littered with inaccuracies. So be it. The characters with diverse and equally innaccurate perceptions will no doubt be along soon to fine tune the white lies.

    Anyway, let me begin...

    I'd been mountain biking less than a year when I met shiggy in late 1985 or early '86. Back then he went by a different handle, which shall remain deeply imbedded in ancient history -- "shiggy" is bad enough. Anyway, shiggy and a guy named Justin and I (you've seen photos on this board of Justin in pantyhose and a thong at Barbie Camp) used to ride off-road quite a bit together back in the late '80s. We rode geared bikes back in those days. But shiggy regaled us with tall tales of a singlespeeder he'd ridden with years earlier from the coast; this guy rode a custom IRD singlespeed with platform pedals, 206mm Bullseye cranks and a pretty big gear (especially considering the rugged hills of Oregon), even taller than 2-to-1. And this guy was over 50 years old. Whoa! Needless to say, young-at-the-time shiggy was mighty impressed.

    Pesonally, I just thought the guy sounded crazy. Justin was too busy riding his bike underwater in Oregon's winter puddles to care.

    We pushed the idea of singlespeeding onto the back burner but shiggy clung to the legendary memories about the guy on the big bike with one gear.

    Fast forward about eight or ten years to the early '90s. Josh Ogle (yeah, that Josh Ogle, of Jericho fame) was renting a dark, dank run-down dwelling not far from downtown Eugene. Josh occaasionally joined the Disciples of Dirt for our weekly night rides in the Coburg Hills north of town. One night he showed up on a homemade singlespeed (er, make that a "custom frame").

    Eyes rolled.

    We laughed at him. Yeah, we laughed at Josh Ogle for bringing a singlespeed to an off-road ride.

    Well, shiggy didn't laugh. His inspiration had been burning inside him for years.

    A debate ensued.

    After that, shiggy started riding singlespeed off-road.

    "What?" I thought.

    Next General Coonskins took it up. I thought this was a real joke, because here was a guy who I could beat going either uphill or downhill, and now he was going to make his life worse by limiting himself to one gear. "He'll hate it and pitch that stupid bike off a cliff soon enough," I thought to myself.

    But that's not what happened. Late that summer, on one of the hardest group rides that our club does every year, Coonskins freakin' rode away from me like I was standing still. The only time I saw him all day was when he'd wait for us gearies to regroup. This ride has HILLS, folks. Big ones, steep ones, long ones. I was stunned by 'Skins transformation.

    How could this happen? My reality was becoming distorted. I did not understand.

    Coonskins went on to race the Cascade Creampuff. To say he'd earned new respect is an understatement. Currently, if he's not the strongest rider I know, I don't know who is.

    I decided I had to get a piece of this singlespeed action for myself. I wanted to become a strong rider, too. I wanted to keep up with my friends, no matter how little sense riding a singlespeed seemed to make.

    Honestly, I never expected to like it. I just wanted to get strong.

    And I did. Get strong, I mean. That was six years ago. But I found that once I got strong, I liked singlespeeding, too. What's funny is I can't say exactly why I like it so much. I just do. In fact, I like it better than any other kind of bike riding. It's so rewarding. My mega-bling FS bike doesn't see much action these days.

    And that's why I ride singlespeed.

    Personally, now I think the title of that other thread should be, "Why not singlespeed?" Just ask shiggy, or Josh, or General Coonskins -- they'll tell ya.

    --Sparty
    I never replied to the original post because..well uh...If I do not even know why I love it so much myself, how can I explain it to someone else. You nailed it, definately should have been why not. Great story too. I know people that think I have been mountainbiking forever and I have only been doing this since 1990. I was cranking out some serious miles on the road in 1985 and not even sure I knew mountainbikes existed then.

    Anyone else up for taking up a collection of bribe money for Sparty, to find out Shiggy's old handle?

    Brian

  6. #6
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianU
    Anyone else up for taking up a collection of bribe money for Sparty, to find out Shiggy's old handle?
    Hmmmm, now I'm curious. "Squiggy?" "Jiggy?" Twiggy?" Squishy?"

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Thanks for posting...

    I only wish my inspiration for going single would have come from a first hand experience like seeing that older gentleman kick arse on a SS rather than becoming addicted to this forum. Sorry folks, but its the truth
    Truffle Shuffle

  8. #8
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Bribes may be sent directly to me.
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  9. #9
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Bribes may be sent directly to me.
    Ahhhh, your former handle was "Gimme!"

  10. #10
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    Nice post

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    The "Why singlespeed?" thread is coming up on a year old now.... --Sparty
    Just to throw in my 2 cents my current favourite explanation is to say that I prefer to ride my bike than operate it.

  11. #11
    Medium?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    My mega-bling FS bike doesn't see much action these days.
    As I like to say, "Maintenance per year instead of maintenance per ride."

  12. #12
    Obi
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    ... and if we just ... Right On Sparty! Good story.

    In thanks for your bring a smile to my face, I hope to do the same for you. Check this post out and get back to me:

    http://www.msdhw.com/forum/showthrea...ght=good+story

    Thanks Again for the Smile!


    Obi

  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    And they've taken more than one of the DOD to the dark side. I am among the early DODers and resisted until just before last fall's BC. Shiggy was encouraging me to convert my 1988 Merlin, but Wade wasn't yet ready to do a Ti welding run at the time. I got a Zion EBB frame and gave it a go. I have only ridden the FS gearie once since then. Oddly, the hardest rides have been on the so-called SS-friendly trails. I like the steeper climbs better than the flattish rides.

    Thanks, Sparty - Shiggy - General - Red Haze - .............and others I've forgotten who puzzled me as to why they would forsake perfectly good gears. You got me going!

    The 50-ish (at the time) guy Sparty referred to that caught Shiggy's attention was David Gray, from the coast (I think). Who knows what he's up to these days, probably kicking arse of people 25 years younger than himself at whatever he chooses to do. Go David!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddy
    As I like to say, "Maintenance per year instead of maintenance per ride."
    That's a great quote. I'm going to apologize now for stealing it.

  15. #15
    JAK
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    Nice write up Sparty...

    When I first started I would ride my geared bike to alternate and most of my rides were spent wondering if I could do it on my SS...so I just stopped wondering...

    Don't Die Wondering!

    So true...I think that old timer on the IRD was pictured in their catalog in the 80's? Wearing a shop coat n'all.

    So, I have a buddy here who lived in Eugene in the 90's and he refers to Shiggy as Don the _ _ _ ! Thats all I know and I haven't approached him with a bribe...yet...

    You Oregoinians have great 'tudes!
    Night has fallen.
    And there's nothin' we can do about it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK
    Nice write up Sparty...

    When I first started I would ride my geared bike to alternate and most of my rides were spent wondering if I could do it on my SS...so I just stopped wondering...

    Don't Die Wondering!

    So true...I think that old timer on the IRD was pictured in their catalog in the 80's? Wearing a shop coat n'all.

    So, I have a buddy here who lived in Eugene in the 90's and he refers to Shiggy as Don the _ _ _ ! Thats all I know and I haven't approached him with a bribe...yet...

    You Oregoinians have great 'tudes!
    Your buddy's reference to Shiggy is slightly incorrect. It is more like _ _ _ _ the _ _ _! Send bribes straight to Shiggy. He will gladly accept them.

  17. #17
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    Ride on Sparty

    Need I say more?

    red-haze
    The more I know the more I know I don't know.
    Let the bike ride the trail, you ride the bike.
    Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by red-haze.com
    Need I say more?

    Bob, you're such an overcompensator. In order to get past the stigma of those training wheels now you have to do every log ride possible and some more. Dude, you rock. Can't wait to ride in your neck of the woods. When is HC again?

    Tim

  19. #19
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK
    ...I think that old timer on the IRD was pictured in their catalog in the 80's? Wearing a shop coat n'all...
    More likely that was Ray Baldwin, Rod's partner in IRD. He always wore blue mechanics' overalls on and off the bike.
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  20. #20
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    Why I converted and I know a secret.

    I swithed to a SS within the first year of mtb'ing because Sparty told me that "resistance is futile". Of course my thumb got bored so I bought a bell.

  21. #21
    I <3 29ers
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    Quote Originally Posted by red-haze.com
    Need I say more?

    HAHAHA! THAT is it, right there.

    Can I share my revelation of this morning?

    I've been rebuilding my old mid-90's HT. Intention was to overhaul it, use it on the trainer and give it to someone when spring hits. Nothing more, nothing less. SS? What, are you nuts? I'd NEVER do that. It doesn't make sense.

    I took the whole bike apart and cleaned everything (not done yet, impatience of sharing my revelation). The frame has been sitting fork-less for over 2 weeks now. I finally procured one last night. It was promtply put on this morning. I sat, looking at what little was done so far - frame, fork .... well, at least it's starting to resemble a bike now!

    I sat a little longer, just staring at it. Funny, but i've been SO used to suspension that i'd practically forgotten what a rigid fork looked like. It was ..... wierd. The reason for going rigid was to oust an old, dead RS Mag 21 (I did say it was mid-90's, right?). The future user was riding it bottomed out, so what was the point? I'll lighten it up for her a bit.

    Anyways, I sat there, looking at this fork. Yes, the fork. It reminded me of ...... of ...... ahhh, yes - BMX forks. Enter the nostalgia trip!

    What on earth does a BMX fork have to do with SS'ing? Whatever you want! For ME it reminded me of being a kid. You know, the "good ol' days", when you didn't worry about sag, platform versus plush, chainlines ..... or even shifters and gears!

    Yes, being a kid was FUN! You got together with your friends and your means of transportation was your bike. You went wherever you wanted or could ride. You tried "pulling a wheelie", bunny hopping, maybe even more. The point was you were having FUN! There was no worry of today's "complications".

    It actually hit me like a brick (don't ask how I know!!!!!!! ).

    Now I sit here, typing with yet another new found enthusiasm for biking. Excitement fills my head and sweat's my palms as I type. Funny, another frame and several fork purchases haven't done this to me - and I LOVE those toys!!!! - but this ..... this is different.

    I guess i'm just going to have to buy another frame now! REALLY kicking myself in the a$$ now for missing a super-sweet deal on a 19" Misfit! Conveniently, nogearshere is on holiday's too!!!!!!

    Anyways, that's my sharing. Not meant to hi-jack!!!! I'm sure there have been many other's that felt/posted about the same, so i'll shut up now.

    Now, if you'll excuse me - i've got a conversion to perform. Damn, i'm all giddy .... did someone spike the Koolaid?
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies.

  22. #22
    Known Mountainbiker
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    hey bob, couple of observations of your sweet singlespeed: I think your saddle is too high, front valve stem doesn't look good, nice shoes; SPDs?, looks like you've had that hair style for along time, that wool jersey looks sweet, knobby in the back touring in the front, three piece crank must cut some weight, I think 36 spokes is overkill for your weight, might want to check that slacky chain before it comes off on your next climb, and the kickstand; how does that work with the training wheels? Also, you'll probably have a hard time getting a suspension fork with that size of headtube; you're better off staying rigid.

    See ya at HC

    chris

  23. #23
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    Good job! Sparti...

    You know.........some things sort of .... strike a chord inside us sometimes. It's hard for me to explain, but I feel that SS'ing is like that for me. It touches me inside in a way that geared bikes have never done.

    There is something about the purity of SS'ing that is in tune with my body and my soul. I feel completely at peace when I ride with just one gear, the simplicity and the silence combine with the effort it takes to make the bike go and I am always happier on the SS.

    SS'ing is harder, it takes a lot more out of me than geared bikes, but I just love the feeling of pushing myself and my body to the limit when I ride like that.

    Sure, I have to get off and push up some big hills because i'm just not strong enough to pedal up them, but that's all part of the SS'ing thing.

    Thanks for your post. It reminded me why I love SS'ing so much.



    R.

  24. #24
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    good job Sparti! Just like always! i think it's time to bring down the Oregon attitude to SoCal! OK so maybe Sea Otter. Are you going to make it?

    andy
    Always preach the Gospel; even if you need to use words.

  25. #25
    meatier showers
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    I can't make it this year...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy aka Rut
    good job Sparti! Just like always! i think it's time to bring down the Oregon attitude to SoCal! OK so maybe Sea Otter. Are you going to make it?

    andy
    ...but I hope to make it in '07. My divorce last year and its rippling effects has kinked my lifestyle a bit to say the least. But I'm gettin' back to "normal..." whatever that is. I'm discovering what it is as I go along.

    Loved Sea Otter in the past and plan to get down thataway again -- hopefully next year. I'll let you know in advance. I wanna drink margaritas and eat some authentic Californicated Mexican food with you fun-lovin' Calis again.

    Thanks for the invite, bro.

    --Sparty
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

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