I crossed a milestone today. 120 miles on my new Origin-8 single speed. I have been riding a 24-speed bike my entire life… so the transition from too many choices to no choices was an interesting one.
The first day I got this bike, I headed down the trail and immediately realized things were going to be different. As you speed up you can’t simply gear down to go faster. You find yourself stuck at a maximum speed set by the ratio of your freewheel. You can go faster, it just means pedaling harder and faster, and at some point, it simply maxes out. Trying to get this thing above 22 miles per hour is almost impossible for me. You just simply run out of gear.
While the first few days this was frustrating, I have come to find a rhythm that has me cruising down hill at about 18 mph. Any more than that, and I just coast it out. I’m never really in that much of a hurry anyhow.
Coming home from work is all uphill so the experience is also different, and surprisingly better. Since you can’t shift gears, you are sort of stuck at a certain pace. I have found that my time getting home is quite a bit faster because there is less thinking about what gear I should be in to maximize my strength. Instead I just get in a rhythm, turn off the brain, and crank the pedals.
I really love this bike. It isn’t anything fancy. But the simplicity and constraints of riding it are a welcome change of pace.