|The Best It Ever Got: Circa 2006|
From 2003 till probably 2008 I rode the Karate Monkey on a pretty regular basis. In that time the bike was tweaked and tweaked until I was ordering custom bikes to imitate it "with improvements". Still- this bike, especially the 2006-2008 version, was probably the coolest, most fun single speed I've had going with the possible exception of my first Inbred or my Blackbuck. Definitely the best rides I ever had were on the Karate Monkey though.
Take for instance the time I decided to ride the aborted last 40 miles of Trans Iowa V2 from Cresco to Decorah. I only made it about a mile before my chain jumped ship and sawed off all the head in spokes on the drive side of my rear wheel before I came to an out of control stop on a downhill. Well......at the time it sucked. But it was a memorable day!
Or all the times I did recon for GTDRI rides on this bike and the hills I had to walk up. Many of those rides were in the 60-80 mile range. The Winter of '05/'06 was another especially good memory on the KM. I did a ride to my Mom's place all on gravel which was another memorable ride in that I rode into the evening and arrived after dark. The training rides for my first Dirty Kanza 200 attempt were all done on the Karate Monkey. I once did an 80 miler to Nashua, Iowa and back on this bike alone on a day off. That one was memorable for the dog that about bit me and the farm girl I saw mowing the lawn....... oh! s'cuse me!
Anyway, the biggest memory by far, and the biggest single day ride I ever did, was the very first Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational back in 2006. The route was 152 miles in itself, but I also rode the approximately 16 miles to and from the start point for a total of 178 miles in a single day, all on a single speed.
You learn to love a bike when you spend that much time and mileage on it. That or you hate it forever, I suppose. But either way that goes for you, all these big rides and small ones forged a love for the Karate Monkey and despite my not getting to ride it much anymore, I won't ever get rid of it.
Next Time: The Decline