1.06.2004

Single Speeds and a Dream
years ago as I was in my mid 20's I was trying to figure out what to do with my life
I had worked as a messenger, had worked in a bike shop, and was trying to see how I could make a living in the bicycle industry
this notion of what to do with our lives was shared with a friend and we came up with the an idea for a single speed

we shared the belief that most people (non cyclists) tend not to shift gears, if they do shift gears they are in the wrong gear
often they get stuck in the granny gear for years
and then end up walking the bike up hills any way
most riders only go for a few miles at a time
and then hang their bike up for the next few months

so we tried to create a single speed company
our visions were slightly different....
he wanted to take over the world
I wanted to create a cool bike with great functionality
He thought that every Jolly Jumping Grandmother that gets scared out of the bike shop by all of the shifters and levers could use this bike (he was right to a degree)
I saw a good looking machine that a cyclist would be able to afford so that they did not have to ride their main bike to get coffee on the corner
or that a student could ride to and from class
basically an updated cruiser
and there were going to be various versions
the METRO would have fenders and a rack, all black of course
and then there would be the TOWPATH (for the more gravel roads) named after the path along the C&O Canal
and so on
well
we had prototypes sent from China
and we could see our visions starting to differ
he was thinking profit margins
while I was thinking paint schemes
the prototypes were basically HUFFYs without using the derailleur hanger

then I went to an Interbike show and scoped things out
single speeds were starting to pop up
talked further with companies about building up something like this
most frames were costing more than I was planning to sell the whole bike for

we ended up tossing the idea aside
it was a fun dream
but more than likely would not have worked
in the end we realized that if we were able to get our product together for an affordable price we would still be fighting to sell a single speed for the same price as a 21 speed (that may have been the max at the time)
and it was too tough to guarantee a marked for our would be product

in end
Single Speeds have grown in popularity
but not in the lower end "niche"
but rather in the "sport" niche

it is a great addition to the already over categorized over subculture world of cycling
there are single speed cross bikes and single speed off road bikes
with shocks
without shocks
it goes on and on and on

with that said
this week I am ordering a Surly Karate Monkey

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