One ring to rule them all?

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….No. Not them all. 

‘Death before derailleur’ is a pretty hard line. I spotted a couple of bikes locked up in the Hayes yesterday, adorned with the rather ugly monicker- Fixed wheel fascists (owning a copy of ‘Maus’ prevents me from admiring the artwork). I spend 5-7 days each week riding around on a single speed, commuting on a Genesis Day-one and training for 3-4 hours over rolling terrain on a Traitor luggernaut. I love ‘em. Nonetheless, there are times that you would sell your granny for a decent chainset. When I tried to cycle up Langcliffe scar in the Yorkshire Dales   – a 20% hill featured at number 32 in Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest cycling climbs – on a 46 x 18, I thought my calf was going to rip apart, the chain snap or possibly both simultaneously. I managed about one third of it through grinding forward, coming to a track stand halt, turning around, rolling down, then  turning back and sprinting in an attempt to climb further. Eventually, common sense restored sanity before the hill robbed dignity.

On a decent hill, I think that the ‘death before derailleur’ sentiment goes right out of the window.

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Simon Warren’s UK guide ‘100 greatest cycling climbs’ is available for £6.24 from The Book depository