One speed is enough

These days, well for the last 40 years or so there has been a fascination with more and more gears on bicycles, even on the entry level bikes that you might buy at one of the big box stores.

It started with 5 speeds, then with 10, then 15 and even 21 speeds are not entirely out of the question. And much like any new and fascinating technology, there comes a time when we have gotten to the point where it seems that we are chasing cool just for the sake of cool.


The fact is that almost no one has a use for 21 speeds on a bike. Perhaps professional cyclists might have a need for controlling the speed and effort of their workouts on that granular a level, but no average human being does.

Most people don’t even use 5 speeds effectively,perhaps 3 is more common. One for hills one for flats at speed and one for cruising. Simply put, there is no advantage to having all the complexity and susceptibility to failure that having that excess number of gears entails.

In many cases, a viable option for simplicity, durability and pure useability, a quality single gear bike bike might be the best choice for you.

There is a reason why one speed bicycles are a choice for many commuters these days. The trade offs involved in riding along city streets on a daily basis lean heavily towards durability. And when it comes to durability, the simplicity of a single gear makes a bunch of sense. There are no complicated derailleur mechanisms to get out of adjustment, no cables to snap or bind at the worst possible  moment, no levers to break.

For many, even the level of complication involved in being able to coast is too much. For those people the fixie bike is the mode of transport of choice. In the fixie bike there is a direct link between the pedals and the rear wheel. When the wheel is turning, so are the pedals.

This might not be the best choice when it comes to commuting since the possibility of something happening that could throw your your feet of the pedals is entirely too real. If you remember the days with your first bike you can remember how difficult it can be to control a bike when you are simultaneously trying to get your feet back on the pedals. To say nothing of the fact that when your feet aren’t on the pedals, stopping is impossible.

Make sure that you have the level of expertise that would allow you to control a bike in this situation before you make the choice to buy a fixie bike. Being a danger to yourself and random strangers every day is not something that the average person would choose.


Getting started and keeping with an exercise program can be a very difficult and complicated thing. Don’t believe the hype, you are not going to love getting up and getting out the door every time you need to. Even the most motivated people have days when they would just rather watch a movie.

And there is really no downside to skipping a workout now and again. In fact never having license to do so can have a very negative effect on your long term prognosis. If you allow the workout itself to become too negative, at some point it will just stop. On the other hand, if you become too enamored of off days, the same thing can happen. How often has it been the case that a diet or other routine has failed because one skip day became two, which became a week, which became a get back to it some day?

One way to approach this if you have an exercise routine that involves the outdoors, say hiking or biking, is to take a wandering attitude with you. It is tempting to always be driven by goals. To have a course you tackle with the objective of weekly setting new personal bests. And that is a great approach to take, to always be striving to attain better fitness and better health.

But it might be an idea to dial it down a notch, or to at least learn to fit in a bit of appreciation of the outdoors you are traveling through, maybe even spend some time wandering off your chosen path now and again. Or even implement the concept into a rest day. A day where you still get out for a cool down, but don’t have the pressure of actually accomplishing something. If you get it right, these days can become a positive for your workouts both mentally and physically, and alleviate the need to just stop and do something else. And take the risk that you might not get started again.

The Hard Part

Hardest thing about getting moving, is getting moving.

Thing is, there is nothing magical about it. There is no time when suddenly it will come to you that it is time. No day when suddenly the urge will strike you to get out and attack whatever it is that you think will be the thing to motivate you get in shape.

You just need to get up and go out the door. Just get your feet under you and put them one in front of the other until doing so seems easier than not doing so. Simple enough.

If only it was that simple. The fact that it is not is one of those mysteries that stymies the average would be fitness buff. Why can’t it just as easy as thinking you need to get a little more active and then doing it?

It just isn’t. So there is no getting around it. You will have to make a bit of effort if  you want to change your life. It was ever thus.

If this blog can be of any help whenit comes to the facing reality  of motivation and the options available for finding the grit to move, stop on back.