Friday, December 27, 2013

Back to Basics with the Dollar Bike

With its lack of gears or suspension, the Dollar Bike radiates a quiet simplicity. No clicking of shifters, no drivetrain clatter or "squoosh" of suspension. Only the soft rumble of knobby tires on dirt trail. There are no gear decisions to be made - either you're in the correct one or, well you're in the correct one. It's been a long time since my bike of choice was one with no gears and no suspension, but it felt like coming home to ride one again. Since my biking has been a bit sporadic over the past few years, we started out with a relatively easy gear on this 29er at 33x20.
I found, despite my current lack of fitness, with this gearing ratio I could handle the lesser climbs seated in the saddle without too much difficulty,
but stood when the terrain turned steeper. The bike held momentum remarkably well, even on the climbs thank goodness!
Returning to an unsuspended singlespeed after so many years, I was very pleasantly surprised to find my sense of bike "center" came back quickly and naturally, and I managed to suffer no tire slips on any of today's climbs.
Even Fry was impressed that I actually made that climb. LOL
 Re-adapting to a rigid fork took a little getting used to though, especially on the rocky and rooty descents!
This bike really showed my weaknesses - and my strengths - clearly. So I think putting some miles on it will help me become a better balanced and well rounded mountain biker since I can quickly see where I need more improvement. I discovered today that my lower body strength is not as poor as I thought since the longer steady climbs were easier than I expected and in some cases even easier than they are on my suspended and geared bikes. However, I definitely have a lot of work to do with "burst" power and upper body strength as the areas that gave me the most difficulty today were steep climbs that immediately followed speed-scrubbing turns and needing "burst" strength to lift the bike over the bigger uphill roots and rocks. All in all, the Dollar Bike is a lot of fun though and I look forward to re-exploring many more trails on it in the coming months.
Sometimes all it takes to make an old trail feel new is a change of bike. :-)

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