OK, fine. You are right.
The Guardian‘s Simon Hoggart once said, ‘You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can usually fool yourself whenever you want to.’
As some people know, I initially planned to ride a single-speed bike on the L2E Cycling Challenge. The popular opinion was that I would be mad to do it on a SS bike and that I should instead ride a bike with as many gears as possible. One such opinion was given by an experienced cyclist who used to do century races ‘when Theodore Roosevelt was still President’ (which I take it to mean that he has the lifespan and wisdom of a turtle). He was not the first one to proffer the advice, but it was a matter of timing. It can be terribly boring to be sensible so timing is everything.
Shortly before he shared that pearl of wisdom, I had gone out with my vintage SS bike to the Flemish Ardennes to ride one of the old, shorter routes of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (the Tour of Flanders). A few challenging (read impossible) climbs and lengthy, deteriorated cobblestone bits made me reassess my initial plan.
When pootling around in most parts of Belgium, where it is almost completely flat, a single-speed bike is all one really needs. It is an ideal place to ride fixed gear. The visual and mechanical complexities of a geared bike do not have an obvious attraction for me, and that lack of attraction appears to have reinforced my initial self-deception. All those cables, levers, derailleurs and sprockets boggle my simplistic mind. Then, my brain got shaken so violently whilst riding the long cobbled stretches; it probably helped to make me a bit more sensible about my choice of equipment.
I was still dithering when someone with not just sense but experience told me, in the nicest possible way, to have my head examined. So, I shall be taking a geared bike to London. Thank you, Tokyo Dave.
Eight speed cassette, two chain rings. A well lubricated Italian.
(Do you count eight sprockets in the photo above? I do, but I might be fooling myself again? Is deus deceptor seeking amusement?)