One gear. One man. One epic goal. And not much time left.
Orange rims that glide through a deep orange sky, as the mountains are painted on the river. Snow and ice crushing under the tyres, as they beat their way through the ground, through an awe inspiring afternoon along the River Forth. No, I did not intend to ride 50km on a singlespeed today. I wanted to get some work done, but with the crisp weather outside I could not be bothered to work in the office. So I just did it, without thinking about it. And it was one of the best rides I ever had.
I can trust my body now. I can finally rely on it. I know it won’t let me down. Even if I ask for a lot. All I need is much more pasta, and much more carbs, as one gear and minus 5 degrees demand a lot of energy. And possibly an even warmer pair of gloves than the ones I just bought (Specialized Sub Zero). I have enough training in my legs this year, maybe for the first time winter does not scare me off. I have ridden all sorts of bikes in all sorts of places. But my mind is set now, I will ride home. I will ign
ore the cold and enjoy the beauty of winter. I will be there in time for Xmas eve. And I only need a single gear for that. I will surely hate myself on some climbs, but I am more attracted than concerned by the simplicity of singlespeed touring. After my personal invention of race touring this summer (cycling more than 400k on two days with the lightest possible luggage) I am up for it. The bug finally got me. And I wonder why not earlier? I am confident enough not to give up. With the freshly purchased Swobo Crosby the ride will be much enjoyable, a purchase I do not regret.
With a few bottle cages and a rack it will be a nice option to get home. It’s a simple package built in California, but after getting used to the slightly more upright seating position compared to the road bike I am now more than convinced I will not regret using it. The major advantage is that there aren’t any fancy things on the bike that might freeze, seize up or otherwise cause grief. With an aluminium frame and a nice carbon fork the bike weighs around 9kg, which is good for a start. The orange wheels make up for great pictures in the snow, and the dark blue looks good even if covered with dirt. But I am sure it can also take a lot of beating, in the end there is a possibility I might come off a few times during the trip. The cleverest feature is the Torpedo hub on the back, which allows for both free-wheeling and the fixed option. I might make more used of the fixed setting in ice and snow, as using brakes proved to be tricky sometimes today. With a 42/17 combination I should get over most of the hills, and the brakes are gripping well and brake quite smoothly. All together a nice bike, and as normal cycle touring would be a bit boring, I will give it a shot. Single speed touring in winter, can it get much harder? if so, don’t tell me, I might change my mind. So far I am convinced that I have enough juice in my legs, and another challenge added to the already existing package seems quite exciting. I can’t wait to head off and make it happen, and in my belly I have a feeling that might become a great trip. And a bit of a legendary ride hopefully.