|Ever wanted to ride in a World Championship bike race, but didn’t have the time to prepare, the money to bribe selectors, or the basic athletic ability?
Well, Nzo is backing your big opportunity: on November 18 this year The Rotorua Singlespeed Society is hosting the World Championships in the Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua. The race is open to anybody with a bike, the only proviso being the bike can have only one gear.
We started cobbling singlespeeds together a long time ago, to give the flash bikes a rest when the trails were too wet and muddy to be kind to drivetrains. They became a thing, and you could eventually buy a brand new one as some brands got on board with the one speed idea..
The upsides of a singlespeed are simplicity, ease of maintenance, and total silence on the trail.
On the right piece of trail the singlespeeder experiences a zen-like state of effortless flow, where rider and machine blend with the terrain itself and all the troubles of the world disappear beneath the humming tyres.
I have no idea where that right piece of trail is, certainly not anywhere I have been.
The major downside of a singlespeed is obvious, it only has one gear. In 83% of conditions, it is the wrong gear. Onespeeds are generally hardtails, which in the modern age feel downright weird if you have become accustomed to plush suspension. And despite the aforementioned simplicity, they can be cantankerous.
Hills you would normally not even notice become things to attack with all your might. Might being the operative word, as in you might be able to ride to the top. Tight little corners teach you to carry speed: there is no more compelling reason to stay off the brakes than the effort required to haul your carcass back up to ‘speed’ after slowing down more than was absolutely necessary. A gear ratio that was almost comically low as you valve-bounced along the fire road feels hard enough to make your kneecaps fly off as soon as you get amongst the singletrack.
Among the perks is this glamourous t shirt, only available to people who enter by September 30.
For anybody who wants one, there is this spectacular mtb top. You need to place your order by September 30 to get one at the marked price, after that it will be a bit more, and subsequently unavailable, and therefore priceless.