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High-Performance Lessons From a Single-Speed Bike

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got one speed.

Firing on all-cylinders, pedal-to-the-metal, 24/7.

You like to work fast.


I recently got a single-speed bike, (which is a really ‘smart’ decision in Asheville, with all the hills…) Anyway, I liked the color and figured I could “add gears later” if I wanted to… [After all, I like doing everything the hard way.]

So, I’m riding this single-speed cruiser,

[Picture Peewee Herman’s bike in electric blue…]

I couldn’t believe how inefficient my ride was…

  • When I went too fast, I had to jam my foot back to activate the break. All that momentum and inertia was being WASTED (because I had to have my foot on the brake the entire time.)
  • When I went too slow, I either had to risk knee-injury going 2-miles an hour, or stand up and use my legs and butt to FIGHT my way up that hill. It was really a struggle.
  • There were a few moments where I could “coast,” but I’m not much of a ‘coaster’… I want my legs to be doing something, even when I don’t have to…

Anyway, it got me thinking that maybe firing on all cylinders all the time, or operating with 1-speed may not be the answer…

What happens when you put some ‘gears’ in there?

  • You can shift into a different gear — and channel that energy and momentum to power you through the difficult times.
  • When gravity helps you along, you can shift into another gear, so you still get to do a bit of pedaling, even if you’re not working so hard.
  • You can have more of a consistent ride, rather than fighting, powering through, or gritting your teeth the entire time.

[And that’s what got me thinking, maybe it was time to think beyond peak performance (and the next iteration of my consulting business was born.)]


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