"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? " Indeed! When I was under 20 I'd do 15-20 miles a day on a 20 inch banana bike converted to BMX with a solo seat & went "Mt. biking" off road all day on a 40lb single speed coaster brake bike.
Now I am just over fifty & I'll take all the gears I can get. I am now old enough to appreciate the technology of deraileurs & shifters. It was cool to have the hottest legs around from riding single speeds when I was under 45 but nothing lasts forever so enjoy it while you can!