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Old 12-17-2012, 12:36 AM   #1
Farrowlane
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Single Speeds in the Bay Area

I live in the Bay Area, just a stone's throw away from San Francisco. The entire area is littered with hills. I find my multi-geared road bike quite helpful when the mechanical advantage is needed to traverse all of the hills I encounter here. It's absolutely nothing like my original home town back in Ohio, just southeast of the Great Lake Erie.

I used to often wonder why I would see so many single speeds in the Bay Area. Then one day, I had the opportunity to test ride a friend's old 80's converted Raleigh Record SS. I found that as long as I didn't try to take any really steep hills, I could manage quite well. In fact, it was really kinda fun to work up the small hills, just to coast down them again. However at my age, I wouldn't want to make it a Bay Area habit!

I then began to notice that most of the Single Speedsters all live either in the Mission district (which is flat), or near the Civic Center, in the downtown SF area (which is also flat). However, when you really think about it, much of the East Bay is flat when near downtown areas.

All I can say, is that the Bay Area, and San Francisco in particular, sure do have a heck of a lot of single speeds, to have so many darned hellacious hills!

PS.

If I lived in Chicago, Florida, or perhaps back in Ohio again, I would totally ride a single speed most of the time...



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Old 12-18-2012, 02:11 AM   #2
DirtyBobbysBikes
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San Leandro/Hayward is mostly pretty flat. I'm in Hayward quite often.



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Old 12-18-2012, 03:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyBobbysBikes View Post
San Leandro/Hayward is mostly pretty flat. I'm in Hayward quite often.
True, but I'm quite often in Walnut Creek, the Oakland Hills, San Francisco, and Berkeley.

Some of my closest friends live near Piedmont...
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
offrdmania
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Ive never ridden out in the bay but im in the valley and no matter where I go its flat. The valley is a single speed riders paradise. Just avoid Stockton, you may get shot. lol

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offrdmania
Ive never ridden out in the bay but im in the valley and no matter where I go its flat. The valley is a single speed riders paradise. Just avoid Stockton, you may get shot. lol
Agreed... the valley is very flat which is why I see so many single speeds and fixies around here.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:34 AM   #6
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San Francisco is pretty good for bike friendly transit when the hills get to be too much - if the hills can't be surmounted; MUNI or BART have a riders back until the top of the steeper hills.

I would think that another reason there are so many bikes in the Bay Area is just the sheer craziness of parking a car in the City - parking tickets + gas + being late to work all the time trying to find parking or paying through the nose at a lot - a bike makes sense.

Why single speeds and/or fixies - because they are a fad for one (SF loves its fads!!) - then just the ease of use, they are bulletproof, like old BMX's - less chance of mechanical failures en route, would be my best estimate of the reasons. That is one of the main reasons I got one.

I live in Oakland, and picked up my single speed (SE Draft) last month - I will probably add a flip-flop fixed - gear option (once I get my wind back... too long off a bike!) down the road. So far, I find Oakland to be cool for riding, commuting to work, and just getting around quickly (as long as you know where the super sketchy areas begin and steer clear of them).



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