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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "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? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-26-04, 06:12 AM   #1
michaelwlf3
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The Tao of singlespeeding

The ride that can be finished is not the perfect ride.
The frame that can be broken is not the perfect frame.
The ride is the beginning of sky and dirt.
The singlespeed is the mother of the ten thousand gears.
Ever desireless, one can see the trail.
Ever desiring, one can see the bike.
The two spring from the same source, but differ in name;
this appears as riding.
The gate to all mystery.

Sky and dirt are ruthless;
They see the ten thousand gears as useless.
The wise are ruthless;
They see the riders as fools.

The space between sky and dirt is like a tire.
The shape changes but not the form;
The more it moves, the more it yields.
More gears count less.
Hold fast to the trail.

Sky and dirt last forever.
Why do sky and dirt last forever?
They are unborn,
So ever living.
The singlespeeder is behind on the downhill, and ahead on the climb.
He is unencumbered, thus at one with all.
Through flow, he attains fulfillment.

Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Make the bike too light, and the handling will suffer.
Adorn your frame with XTR, and no lock can protect it.
Claim medals and podiums, and drug tests will follow.
Drink beer when the ride is done.
This is the way of singlespeeding.

Thirty-two spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape latex into a tube;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Drill eyelets in a rim;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness comes from what is not there.

Accept difficulty willingly.
Accept pain as the human condition.

What do you mean by "Accept difficulty willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with your heart rate.
This is called "accepting difficulty willingly."

What do you mean by "Accept pain as the human condition"?
Pain comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be pain?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to ride any trail.
Love your bike as your own self; then you can truly ride anywhere.

The masters are subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.
The skill of their riding is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Delicate, like riders crossing a winter stream.
Alert, as if on tight singletrack.
Balanced, as if negotiating a switchback.
Focused, as if on a long climb.
Yielding, like fine steel.
Simple, like track hubs.
Smooth, like machined bearings.

Who can wait quietly for the ride to begin?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Followers of singlespeeding do not seek advantage.
Not seeking advantage, they are not swayed by a desire for change.

Do you think you can take my bike and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

My singlespeed is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will lose it.
If you add a suspension fork, you will ruin it.

So sometimes I am ahead and sometimes I am behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes the trail goes up and sometimes down.

Therefore the singlespeeder avoids extremes, complacency, and heavy traffic on climbs.

Give up gears, and put an end to your troubles.

Is there a difference between the granny and the big ring?
Is there a difference between uphill and downhill?
Must I ride what others ride? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying their full suspension.
In spring some go to the trails and descend the mountain.
But I alone am riding, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.

Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and wandering.
I am different.
I am nourished by the trail.


To ride one gear is natural.
Sprints do not last all morning,
Descents do not last all day.

The follower of singlespeeding
is at one with his bike.
He who rides smoothly
Experiences flow.
He who loses the trail
Becomes confused.
When you are at one with your bike,
The trail welcomes you.
When you conserve your momentum,
The flow is always there.
When you are at one with pain,
The pain is experienced willingly.

He who does not get out of the saddle
Will not make it to the top of the hill.

He who has his weight forward is not steady.
He who sprints cannot maintain the pace.
He who makes a show is not enlightened.
He who is self-righteous is not respected.
He who boasts achieves nothing.
He who brags will not endure.
According to the followers of singlespeeding,
"These are extra gears and unnecessary weight,"
They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of singlespeeding avoid them.

Spinning is the motion of the singlespeed.
Flow is the way of the singlespeed.
The ten thousand gears are born of singlespeeding.
Singlespeeding is born of not riding.

The wise rider hears of singlespeeding and practices it diligently.
The average rider hears of singlespeeding and thinks of it now and again.
The foolish rider hears of singlespeeding and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, singlespeeding would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:
The smooth trail seems rough.
Going forward seems like retreat.
The easy climb seems hard.
Singlespeeding is quiet and without artifice.
One gear alone nourishes and brings the ride to completion.
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Old 12-26-04, 08:14 AM   #2
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Very nice. "The follower of singlespeeding
is at one with his bike". Shouldn't that be fixed?
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Old 12-26-04, 08:26 AM   #3
pitboss
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wasn't this in Dirt Rag?
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Old 12-26-04, 08:56 AM   #4
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Yep. It was posted here a few months back...
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Old 12-26-04, 09:03 AM   #5
michaelwlf3
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I got it off of a SS website, but I think it was in Dirt Rag.
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Old 12-27-04, 03:04 AM   #6
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Oh yeah, i can't get enough dirt rag, can't hardly put that down. WTF is it?

But nice, thx for sharin.
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Old 12-27-04, 06:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurremkarm
Oh yeah, i can't get enough dirt rag, can't hardly put that down. WTF is it?

But nice, thx for sharin.
http://www.dirtragmag.com/home.php
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Old 12-27-04, 07:16 AM   #8
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The more SS/Fixed folks try to justify themselves, the worse it gets. That "Tao of SS" is more like a mindless rant than anything.

I am a biker and I still don't understand the charm about SS/Fixed - other than being a retro thing (as in, I rode an SS for 10 years during my childhood ). It is a little like using leather boots and cable bindings for downhill skiing. Charming, but highly restrictive.

Having said that, I expect no explanations from the SS/Fixed crowd. Be proud, make no excuses and give no explanations. You ride SS/Fixed because you like it. Period.
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Old 12-27-04, 08:49 AM   #9
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Chuang Tzu would have ridden fixed...with a brake.
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Old 12-27-04, 11:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serious
...It is a little like using leather boots and cable bindings for downhill skiing. Charming, but highly restrictive....
Feh!
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Old 12-27-04, 07:09 PM   #11
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how about some credit for the original writer?

if he/she is known

artistic property...
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Old 12-27-04, 07:31 PM   #12
michaelwlf3
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Originally Posted by myxbyx
how about some credit for the original writer?

if he/she is known

artistic property...
Wish I knew...sorry.
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Old 12-27-04, 07:56 PM   #13
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http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=437

The Tao of Singlespeeding
by Corvus Corvax
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Old 12-28-04, 02:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by [165]
wasn't this in Dirt Rag?
yeah, last issue (I'm the 1st guy in Finland to subscribe, methinks)
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Old 12-28-04, 08:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikkhu
yeah, last issue (I'm the 1st guy in Finland to subscribe, methinks)
Not quite, but there aren't many of you. Just two current subscribers, and only seven in Dirt Rag history. Finland isn't exactly a strong point for us.

-brad
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Old 12-30-04, 12:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serious
Be proud, make no excuses and give no explanations. You ride SS/Fixed because you like it. Period.
Truly sage advice, probably the best anyone's offered on the subject here.
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