How would you explain riding a SS on your local trail to a friend new to SSing?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How would you explain riding a SS on your local trail to a friend new to SSing?

    Think about all the things you have learned while riding your single speed on your local trail. All the obstacles that you at first did not get but with time and practice were able to overcome.

    Now imagine that you have brought a new person to your local trail with a single speed. How would you explain specific techniques for them to use on a single speed on obstacles you learned to over come at your local trail?

    I think this gives an opportunity for you to showcase challenges you have overcome on your single speed unique to you and your trail and at the same time share advice. Pictures or video would be awesome too.

  2. #2
    SS Pusher Man
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    I tell them to figure it out.....I had to.

    Seriously, you can try to teach some riders how to do things.....but at the the end of the day, most have to just go out and learn for themselves.

    I can give them pointers and suggestions, it is up to them to take them, implement them, or ignore them.

    Have them follow you, see your line choice, see that it IS possible to clean a certain section of trail.

    Plus it depends on how newbie they are. If they are complete "I just bought my 1st mtn bike and it's a SS"...it is going to be pretty rough on them. If they are you normal riding buddy who decided to add a SS to his garage of bikes, then it may not be so bad.

    SS riding is more mental then physical. Most riders look at a climb or a obstacle and say, how can you do that is such a hard gear. Mentally they don't see it. Once they try it, they see that they are capable of much more than what their mind tells them.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  3. #3
    Clyde on a mission!
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    I've stopped trying to explain SS, it's one of those things you have to try for your self in order to figure it out. To be honest, I don't care if others get it or not..

    If hard pressed for an explanation I'll do the old physics routine - hauling x amount of lbs up a particular climb in a particular time takes y amount of energy, no more, no less and the rear wheel doesn't care what gear you use to deliver that energy. On a geared bike you get to select at what cadence you prefer to deliver that energy, on an SS you don't, but the amount of energy your legs need to deliver into the drive train is still the same. So riding SS isn't really that much harder than riding geared, it's just a bit more inconvenient.

    Proof in the pudding, when I switched to SS it took me roughly 3 weeks/10 rides before my legs had gotten used to it and bested my previous geared times.

  4. #4
    EXORCIZE
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    Some random thoughts regarding using energy efficiently while SSing:

    Avoid all-out aerobic or anaerobic efforts that last more than a couple seconds. They're not worth it except at the end of a ride.

    Use minimal pedaling effort when the trail makes it possible. You'll be climbing again soon enough.

    Approach climbs at maximum speed. Moderate your climbing effort so that you arrive at top of hill going slowly. This will minimize the energy you use. You can also use this philosophy to save gas/petrol while driving.

    Configure cockpit so you get closer to vertical on standing climbs, which enables rider to "dance" on the pedals, thereby making the most of gravity. Probably more appropriate to rigid SSing. This tip depends on your bodily dimensions and riding style, but for me, having the grips below the saddle makes SSing miserable (perhaps I have short arms?). Granted, handling will suffer, but it makes climbing WAY easier for me. YMMV.

  5. #5
    Golden Bears United
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    I told people I ran out of cash and could only afford single ring and cog. Shorter chain was also on sale compared to longer ones. And didn't even have to pay for shifter thingies.
    Solo & Ala Carte ~ that's how I like my bikes.

  6. #6
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    I should have clarified. I guess I'm just looking for your own explanations on how you overcame specific experiences while SSing like specific climbs or technical sections. The explaining it to a friend was just a colorful analogy I guess. What were your "AH-HAH" moments?

    Sent from my SPH-L710T using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    My Ah-hah moment was on my first group SS ride. This ride started with a 4 mile, 1400' climb on a dirt road that was absolutely MISERABLE. One of the guys I was with, halfway up, said "just stand up, find your happy place, and stay there." I didn't know what he meant.

    But, many rides later, I realized that the "happy place" wasn't mental, but positional. There's a standing position that may not be the fastest or most aggressive but it's the most comfortable. For some, that's a forward position, with your thighs brushing against the bar. For others, it's way back, with your arms nearly locked. For many, it's somewhere in between.

    Find that position and you'll be surprised how long you can grind out long climbs without blowing up.

  8. #8
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    Some good replies regardless of what you meant, but here is my "A-Ha" moment. I was in a pencil drawn cartoon... wait, wrong moment.

    Seriously, the first time I rode SS was on trail I knew had few hard climbs to shake down the whole thing. Immediately I was transported back to my BMX riding days of cruising all over town and the desert with only one, quiet gear. Completely connected to the dirt, no encumbrances or decisions to be made. Just riding my bike and suffering like a fool with a huge smile on my face.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  9. #9
    EXORCIZE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awshucks View Post
    how you overcame specific experiences while SSing like specific climbs or technical sections.
    I got nada for you. My first SS ride (Valentine's Day, 2007) was my first and only "AH-HAH" moment. As I rode Mary (Haro), I was immediately struck by her momentum, stability, standing climbs, flow, and precision in slow-speed techie stuff. Strangely, I don't think I've gotten much better at it since. Heck, maybe I've gotten worse! When I started, I climbed each ascent in fear at MAX SPEED. But then I learned which climbs you could get lazy on, and got lulled into riding at less than 100% balls-out. My post above is nothing more than a list of "how to make it less painful" tips. Uggh. Shoot me already!

  10. #10
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    My local trail has a very steep and tight uphill switchback. At the apex of the turn, there's a small tree that has been dubbed the "singlespeed tree". If you're on a singlespeed, you're allowed to use the tree to pull yourself around the corner

  11. #11
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    You explain by showing them how it's done. You speak with your bike, no need to vocalize.

  12. #12
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    Brake down the climb into say 20-50 yard sections at a time. Don't think about the overall distance. Try to make it that boulder over there. Once you pass that try to make it to the oak tree, then you have that tough rock garden after the switchback. Before you know it your done climbing and get to rip around up top. I makes it easier to compartmentalize the ride into smaller chunks. The 2nd aha moment was when I realized I was throwing my bike around too much wasting valuable energy. Calm down and move just enough to make you bike go forward.

  13. #13
    On wuss patrol
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    My ah-hah moment was realizing the hook I hang my ss on in the garage was still there, that I could hang it back up and jump back on my multi-geared bikes.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  14. #14
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    I would just take them to Mt Diablo, let them suffer 4000 feet straight up, then say "Every ride you do after this, is going to be awesome!" Get ready to enjoy your new SS!

  15. #15
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    When I got my rigid SS, every ride was completely new. You can't think of it as mountain biking with one gear. It is like a different sport: a whole new experience.

    A new SSer needs to approach it that way. Assume you know nothing and that you are starting anew. There are definitely skills that transfer, but they need to be applied differently.

    Strangely, I became a better rigid SSer after upgrading my other bike from a 2007 Blur LT to a Bronson. My handling skills and confidence improved.

  16. #16
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    I'd say, get momentum before the hill and recover on the flats. If rigid, avoid big bumps.

  17. #17
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    Pick your lines.
    Keep your momentum.
    Attack climbs.
    Ride more!

  18. #18
    Downcountry AF
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    it's the purest connection you can get to the bike/trail.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  19. #19
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    "Momentum is your friend."

    It will take a while for that to sink in if they're coming from a background of geared riding, but once it clicks....

  20. #20
    SS Pusher Man
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    "when you heart feels like it is going to blow out of your chest.....keep pedaling, that feeling will subside."
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  21. #21
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    gear low. learn how to track-stand. bursts of power to get moving to keep your momentum. do not stop pedaling through rock gardens- take it slow but keep pedaling.

    stand up and grind a hill sooner than you think you ought to stand up. when you stand to mash, hover your butt over the seat, don't lean forward because you need to keep your weight on the rear tire.

  22. #22
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    Riding a single speed is just like riding a bike...so stop overthinking everything and move the pedals in a forward circular motion.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    it's the purest connection you can get to the bike/trail.
    Nah - that's more to do with being rigid then whether or not your chain happens to be passing through a derailleur.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude View Post
    Pick your lines.
    Keep your momentum.
    Attack climbs.
    This

  25. #25
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    Was a geared mountain biker 10+ years ago, turned roadie and maybe rode my mtb 4 times till a rigid SS fell in my lap last summer. Have to say I'm in love again. My ah-ha's have simply been that I have to be smooth and I have to go fast. Momentum seems to be king.

  26. #26
    Downcountry AF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit21 View Post
    Nah - that's more to do with being rigid then whether or not your chain happens to be passing through a derailleur.
    Nah, not having to worry about shifting at the right time allows you to focus more of your attention to what matters. plus less resistance, less noise and no chain slap.

    and many SSers ride rigid, which gives you a better connection to the bike and trail.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    Nah, not having to worry about shifting at the right time allows me to focus more of my attention to what matters.

    ^fify

    For myself shifting is pretty much automatic and no distraction at all, just like my (manual shift) car.

  28. #28
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    Core strength exercise and pull ups, and push-ups, are good off the bike exercises that will strengthen the SS rider to survive severe efforts. The back is vulnerable. The pull ups provide some anaerobic fittnes and increase grip strength.

    Concerns about knee injury and SS abound. I'd say don't worry about it. A SS new rider should get a low gear to start with, even if they are very strong, and develop some great pedaling coordination. I would explain that cadence and torque are related and that the hardest climbs are going to be low cadence and high torque and that they will discover different ways to pedal.

    Posture, bike fit, and form must be analyzed and improved.

    Getting warmed up is important. My wife and I indepoently discovered that after the first hour of riding it gets a lot better, not worse. So the new SS rider should put some time into it.

    There is a way to surge on climbs over short step ups and loose sections similar to pumping a bike on dips by standing forward on the bike and then sitting down.

  29. #29
    mtbr member
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    Never complain, never explain, never make excuses.

    Works for me.

  30. #30
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    1) Going fast is easier than going slow.
    2) Relative to a geared bike it will be much easier to maintain traction on a techy climb so just keep the pedals turning.

  31. #31
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    It's pure, unadulterated fun
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

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