Singlespeed Europeans Report

Being as we are, singlespeeders, I decided it’d be a good idea to enter. It was :slight_smile:

Saturday morning arrives after another hectic week and it’s time to go riding - YAY!. I pick up Joe M at 9am from the station for the drive to Thetford forest.

Two hours of driving pass and we’re there, along with a couple of others - not very busy but we set about making camp and unpacking the car, by the time we finish there’re a few more people about and we go for a wander.

It was on this wander we saw the cycle-sidecar. What a fantastic toy, it steers horribly, it’s hard to accelerate, fixed wheel and I nearly killed us both on some singletrack but I WANT ONE!.

Anyway - after recovering it was time to ride the relay course, very sandy and muddy in places. Some fire-road bits but mosly swoopy, bouncy singletrack. Complete with bombholes. After a bit joe and i seporated and rode off around the forest - meeting up again in time to watch some people make fools of themselves in one of the bombholes.

Riding done it was onto the beer and the Pimms and lemonade in order to get nicely sloshed for the first event, The Team Relay!

Two laps each for joe and I of a 5 mile couse although I completed only one thanks to the closing in of night. In fact it’d got dark in the trees about half way round my first lap and I spent most of the time in total fear using “the force” to navigate.
Several of the riders lapped on strange bikes and in fancy dress - I like this singlespeed attitude :slight_smile:

Finished it was back to drinking and talking the night away before retiring at last to the bug-infested tents, just in time to miss the onset of rain.

Morning came on sunday, sluggish, grey and raining. After the sunshine of yesterday it’s quite depressing, but there’s no time to waste it’s coffee and egg roll time.
Breakfasted and twitching from the coffee overdose we fettle the unis and make ready for the leMans type running start.
I say running, we walked to try and avoid having hundereds of whippets trying to pass us on the very tight twisty singletrack of the first section. As it turned out it was the bikes holding us up through this section, I guess sometimes a 29er IS faster :smiley:

14 (ish) miles and several stacks later we finish the first of two laps with big grins on our faces. At this point I pull over for snacks and to ease my throbbing ankle (guess who rode all the bombholes :slight_smile: ) and other Joe steams off on his second lap.

Eventually we’re both done with the riding, fed and packed and it’s prize-giving time. The new british and euro champions are clapped, the silly prizes are distributed (including a shirt for joe and I along with the other fixed wheel riders) and it’s time to go home.

All in all a fantastic weekend - lots of new friends made and beer drunk.

I can’t wait for next time.

Does singlespeed mean bicycles with one gear?
And what’s the cycle-sidecar?

Singlespeed= mountain bike with one gear - does away with much hastle.
It’s a bit of a way of life thing like unicycling

a cycle-sidecar is a bicycle with a side-car welded onto the side.


Joe, the single speed culture is first class as you know. Was the event put on by Chips Chippendale?? I think he’s the single speed honch in the UK.

I am a single speeder, fixie rider too. That’s what got me into muni. I now ride the muni at the single speed rallys. There’s always beer and prizes for everybody. I’ve gotten prizes for “worst injury” as well as “sexiest cross-desser”.

Do they have bike derbies over there? Here, we ride in a drunken circle, while trying to push other riders over. I entered the derby with my muni last time and had to tackle people to take them out.

cheers and beers… Mojoe

Yeah - it was a Chipps do.

I have a couple of Single-speed’s although neither is a deadicated one. one is a serious one the other a retro beastie.

We have things like the drunkard relay and the clunker classic but no derbies as such

I’ve seen Sheldon Browns single gear pages, does anyone know of a good website on single speed MTB?

I have a couple of Chipps’ 'zines, “The Outcast”. One has a picture of two Coker riders at the Red Bull 24 hour race. I think it may be Sarah and Paul. I can’t seem to find it now, but I’ll scan the pic when I do.


Nice work Joe’s.

Does anyone here ride a singlespeed bike? I’m considering getting one when I’ve bought ‘enough’ unicycles. Well, I guess I won’t end up getting a singlespeed bike. :slight_smile:



I am a single speeder, fixie rider too. That’s what got me into muni.

How similar is riding a fixed single gear bike (I assume that means no free wheel hub?) to riding a unicycle?

What do you mean by “bombholes”? Are they literal bombholes from bombs or are they more like gravity dips (a short steep down followed by a short steep up), or what?

I guess the only similarity is that you can’t coast. I always thought my Coker and the “Blue Shift” felt like riding a fixed gear bike because they are higher geared and you have less leverage on the wheel. You get them up to speed and kind of float the pedals making small adjustments, without being able to stop on a dime. When I get the Coker pumped up to speed, it feels like a “Magic Carpet Ride”.

It takes a while to train youself not to coast on a fixie, but it will remind you if you forget by kicking you foot off the pedal. I rode my track bike all over for a couple years with no brakes. I could emergency stop fast by leaning forward and locking up my legs, skidding the rear wheel. It’s great fun, but made my knees sore.

I guess the other thing in common with unicycling is that single speeds and fixed gears are very quiet and simple.



That’s a nice looking bike Mojoe; was it a single gear when you got it or have you converted it?

I’ve converted some other ones in the past, but this one is a Bianchi Pista track bike. Sadly, I don’t ride much anymore. In fact, I “borrowed” the front rim and spokes to build up my 29er.

I tried selling it on Ebay once, but I pulled it off of the auction after a day. I just couldn’t get rid of it.


Sorry, I only quickly browsed the thread and obviously missed a bit.

They’re holes like a bomb would leave. In some places they’re actual holes made by bombs in the 2nd world war, others they’re just big dips in the scenery.

In Thetford, there’s a big air force base about 2 miles away, so it might have been a target during the war, as well as being a likely place for returning pilots to dump bombs in the woods if they needed to lose some weight. It also wouldn’t be surprising if it’s been used for testing bombs at some point. So maybe they are actual bombholes. Whatever, they’re great big holes that riding into on a 29er is a particularly stupid thing to do, especially the one really harsh one which was more a drop than a slope on the entrance side. That one had a chicken run for bike riders who didn’t want to ride it in the race it was that scary.


I found the pic. Here it is.

cheers… Mojoe


Re: Singlespeed Europeans Report

Mojoe <> wrote:
> I have a couple of Chipps’ 'zines, “The Outcast”. One has a picture of
> two Coker riders at the Red Bull 24 hour race. I think it may be Sarah
> and Paul. I can’t seem to find it now, but I’ll scan the pic when I do.

Cool. I’ve had a few copies f the out cast, but my sub ran out and I
forgot to send chipps more beer, so it stopped arriving. . I now have the
frame for my single speeder to be. Its an 18 year old Raliegh Assent
frame, horizontal drop outs as standard back then. My brothers old
machine, now awaiting my attenstion in the garage and a surly single
rear ring and spacer and new chain. Oh and new tubes and brake blocks and
cables and one or three other bits and bobs. one day one day.


Union of UK Unicyclists
By and for UK riders

cool - That’s one with forward facing drop-outs then?

I was told a neat trick with them is to run a chain tug backwards (ish) to help stop the wheel pulling out. Dunno if this works though