Apr 27, 2008
The following is about singlespeeding, but it speaks to cruiser riding too
By Corvus Corvax
The Tao of Singlespeeding
Adapted from the Tao Te Ching, the following verses are meant to inspire and enlighten.
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
He who loses the trail
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.
Adapted by Corvus Corvax from The Tao Te Ching, translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English, Random House, Inc., New York (1972), with apologies to Lao Tsu.
Sep 03, 2007
I was really up for my first ride with everyone after a month of only doing to and froms
After having worked a month of twenty-four sevens I was itching to get out on a ride with everyone this last Saturday. I cleaned and waxed my Hampton Cruiser into good "company condition" and headed down to the roundabout. I was coming up to the little bridge just before the roundabout when "SNAP!!", my left peddle with a bit of crank attached blew off! I got off my bike and walked it to the roundabout and several people said to get to Denman bikes before they closed. "Yeah!, I thought" and ran my bike there.
Within half an hour and
somewhat lighter of cash I had a new crank (chrome molly this time) and
was on my way back to the roundabout . The ride started smoothly, we
rolled along the seawall heading towards our first stop at Lumberman's
Arch under a gorgeous, sunny, cloud dappled, sky. As we road I quipped
to Big John, Mary, and Jamie that I considered the crank issue a
sacrifice to the Cycling Deity... har, har. At Lumber man's Arch we
hung for a short while and then decided to head on to Beaver Lake. I
got on my bike and started off and noticed an odd feeling and buzzy
sort of noise from my back tire! It was flat! I pulled my bike onto
some grass, upturned her, took off the chainguard, and began pulling
the fender stays off the axle in preparation to remove the tire.
This was when I was ordered to sit down and get out of the way and given a superb back massage while "Bicycle master" Luke changed the wheel. So, there I was, surrounded by good friends, patiently waiting with me, and I'm feeling totally spoiled. Luke had the new tube in and the tire back on in no time. But, before we rolled to Beaver Lake I decided to wash my hands and headed for the washroom. "Whoops!", I was so immersed in my thoughts that I walked into the wrong washroom and was greeted by a woman that luckily realized I had innocently stumbled into the wrong can and just laughed at me, thank god for that! Well, I announced to everyone that after that I figured I had weathered the three sacrifices to the cycling god and was now safe. Off we rode to Beaver Lake and the rest of our crowd...good times. Later, we rode to Malkin Bowl, spread some blankets, and listened to a concert... good night...good times...great company. Finally, I rolled out with Mary, and Lynn to the Seabus terminal, where I took the Skytrain home. On the way I felt like riding a bit more and got off a few stops early and had a nice cruise home. Once home I put my bike in it's spot and gave it an admiring look "Aaaargh!!" my chainguard was still sitting on the grass by Lumberman's Arch..."Duh, Mea culpa!"...The Great all powerful Cycling Deity will not be denied nor taken lightly!