|The Bianchi Via Condotti|
**Image from Bianchi
Soon after seeing this bike, I was parking bikes at a bike valet station and happened to be the person who took a Giant Bowery from a young lady who was headed in to an event. I was amazed at how light the bike was (of course, most bikes are light to me when I normally truck around on a 40 lb bicycle), and again, couldn't help but find fascination in the simplified design.
|2009 Giant Bowery SS|
**Image from Jack's Bikes
I've gone to the traditional sources for information such as Sheldon Brown and articles on Bike Forums, such as this, but I think the more I read, the more confusing it all becomes. When one question gets answered, it often creates two more, creating this never ending search for information.
One thing I have discovered from personal experience is that the low positioned drop bars definitely don't work for my hands, so the standard look of many of these bicycles wouldn't likely be functional for me over the long term. In that sense, it might be better to simply build my own single speed. I could obtain a used or new frame fairly inexpensively and utilize many spare parts that are just lying around the house. Plus, I could pick the parts that I want and build it up over time. One of the frames that caught my eye as a possibility for a single speed build was actually a Surly Cross Check.
|2011 Surly Cross Check frame|
**Image from Surly
Some might ask, "Why a single speed?" Well, I've asked myself this question, and really it's the same reasoning most others provide. 1) I like the simplicity of not having gears. Regardless of how comfortable I am with shifting a bike, there is always some thought behind it (when to do it, how often, am I in the right gear for the situation, etc). 2) It's reminiscent of childhood... a time when most of us had a single speed bicycle that we had to stand up to pedal up the hills (and sometimes get off and walk up the hills, depending on how long ago childhood was, and how heavy those bikes were during childhood). 3) It's a challenge. I like the idea of having to push myself in some parts of town to get around, using only my own power. While I do this with a multi-speed bicycle as well, I think there is another level present in a single speed.
For now, this fixation remains just that, as I have no immediate plans in the works to start this kind of project. It is something I would like to pursue at some juncture in time, but for now, it will have to wait. I would, however, be interested to know if anyone else has purchased whole or built a single speed, and would be curious to know details of how you picked your bike and/or parts.