Riding a sing speed bike is something more common with commuters and bike couriers in London. Maybe derived from riding fixed wheeled bikes on the road, I used to do a lot of winter miles on a fixed gear bike.
Seeing a single speed being used for off road riding is becoming popular. In the last couple of years at local cyclocross races there has been a quiet introduction of single speed transmission bikes. If we think about it there is not much of a handicap, any unridable uphill sections riders would run up, or obstacles that require the rider to dismount. Would there be much of an advantage on downhill sections, probably not. When the mud is really thick and sticky there is no risk of a rear mech breaking, or the chain unshipping, a clean transmission line from chain wheel to rear wheel sprocket, kind of makes sense to me.
SingleSpeed Bike or Beer....
Though some may argue the advantages of gears when on tarmac sections of a cross course, but we are not completely playing by the UCI rules at local events. The Trend is changing as cycling is coming away from the open roads as the demands of costs of running road races increase compared to the cost of running an event in a local park or open countryside.
Enter and almost new concept of single speed cyclocross where the only rule is no gears. Something that seems to be picking up in Belgium the home of cyclocross.
Brighton saw its first event of this nature with a little sportive on the Saturday to an hours full out racing, the emphasis bing on the Fun side with many riders dressing up in some costumes, from lobsters to shirt and ties, with strange hats, then of course the serous races dress in lycra.
I got the feeling the event was more about the bikes, and the fun side of racing rather the racing it self, though there were riders going for it, the temptation of a beer during the 5 laps of racing was hard to resist for some, followed by a refreshing gulp of beer at the finish.