Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tyranny of (Gear) Choice

Here's a bit of a ramble. Blame it on massive Thanksgiving calories that have jump started my brain into action. Possibly turning some gears up there that haven't been turned in awhile. Whatever it is, this is the result!

I was having an e-mail conversation with a Trans Iowa veteran who brought up the concept of "tyranny of choice". In short form it describes how having too many choices can cause depression, nuerosis, and all sorts of psychological mayhem.

For instance I have this problem when I go into a place that sells music. (On-line now, but they used to be a brick and mortar place you actually walked into called a record store. I know, I don't know what I'm talkin' about, that's okay) Anyway, I peruse all the selections until I'm numb, confused, and depressed. I usually left with nothing, well, when I went in a music it's just on-line stuff. Anywho.........Tyranny of Choice, too much choice and you can't deal with it, ya know?

So, I have been riding a singlespeed for about three and a half years exclusively and all of a sudden these geared 29"ers start showing up. I have a choice! Gears! I discovered it when I was grinding up the street on my way home from work on my inaugral ride on the Dorothy. It was pretty cool.

Then for awhile it was fun. Let's see what gear works here. How about over there! Then something started to happen that wasn't so fun. I found my self trying to figure out my gearing choice more and paying less attention to what the trail was doing up ahead. I started to not get up some things as well or as fast as I did on the single speed. I started to get into the redline more from spinning too low a gear. I started to have less fun. Maybe it's just me, but all of this gear choice was starting to become a liability at times. Then throw in the occaisional hiccup in the system, ( cable stretch, chain not interfacing with leaf covered cassette, and dry chain) and it was getting on my nerves more and more.

Then it came to me. I had too many choices! So, I eliminated the granny gear from the menu and stuck with the middle ring more and more. When the Salsa boys were in town, they had a bike with them set up as a 1 X 9. It made alot of sense to me. Less choices to futz over, more time to concentrate on fun. Not to mention, it was lighter and less complicated than a full 27 gear set up.

So, at least for me, too many gears are a drag. You could say it's a "Tyranny of Gear Choice". It screws with your head, your bikes functionality, and your pocketbook when it comes to maintenance time. Less is more. You know, I wouldn't mind going back to 21 speeds of goodness. Thicker cogs, thicker chains, better shifting for a longer duration of time. Less apt to get screwed up by the conditions at hand. But that's a whole 'nuther story.

I guess that's enough rambling for one evening. Especially seeing as how the food buzz is starting to wear off! where was that last slice o pie!

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