Early this year I was the victum of bike theft. I typically leave my bicycle in the visitors parking of my condo unit during the winter, and it was sadly stolen.
I was in the market for a new bicycle, and with the warmer weather coming up, I needed to make a decision. There were some things that I didn’t like about my previous bicycle that I was hoping to solve with a new bicycle:
- My bike was heavy. Though this was rare, I sometimes needed to lift my bicycle when parking/removing my bike from visitors parking because of the layout of bicycle parking.
- Adjusting the gears and derailler was time consuming
Except for flat tyres, the most common issues I had with my bike had to do with the derailler/gears. I’ve had the chain end up stuck behind the cogset a few times. If the derailler is not adjusted properly, it may cause gears to be skipped or the chain starts rubbing up against stuff. Not great stuff.
I wanted some more simplicity. My other options were single-speed or something called internal hub. I haven’t heard of internal hub before, but it seems allows you to have a smaller range of gears in an internal component that cuts down on maintenance. You don’t get the flexibility of 21 gears, but you can shift while stopping. Unforunately, the major downside I found is that taking off the wheel (to, for example, change the tyre) is quite a bit of work as is demonstrated by this nearly 8 minute unfluffed youtube video.
In the end I decided on a single-speed bicycle. I haven’t had much practice with it yet, but it is rather difficult/tiring in stop and go traffic. My commute to work does have quite a few stop signs/stop lights.
Hey I haven’t posted this, oops! That was written in early March of 2016.
After 5 months of almost daily riding, here are some of the cons I found of single-speed bicycles:
- Depending on the grade, starting uphill will either be somewhat hard or really difficult. You can’t really push yourself forward, and you can’t just start peddling. I have once made this mistake in traffic and people, justifiably, got angry at me for going too slow.
- There are no hand signals for ‘sorry’ but at least 2 for fuck off
- Maybe the way I’m pedaling is wrong, or maybe it’s because you use different muscles when starting (and these muscles must work harder), but I pulled a calve muscle
- Having a single-speed bicycle is still not an excuse to not stop at stop signs/red lights/pedestrians