Written by Cycling

A Single Speed Conversion

You know how sometimes you’re idly looking for something on eBay, and you don’t find it. So you create a saved search for it on the off-chance that it comes up the future. Then you sit back and forget about it. Until…

…One day an email drops into your inbox. The thing you were looking for is there. And it’s a reasonable price. You put a bid in, and wait.

That’s how I found myself, last December, heading out to St Neots in Cambridgeshire one Saturday morning. I was picking up a bicycle I’d bought cheaply. A Falcon Racing Cycle.

Falcon is an old British racing cycling brand, although I wouldn’t kid myself that this particular model is anything special. The reason I know this is because I used to own one of these bikes when they were new – back in the mid to late eighties. It was relatively cheap, and bought from a local bike shop after weeks of seeing it in the window. More about the bike another time, but you should know that I was crestfallen when it was stolen.

So now I had a replacement of the same bike. Exactly what I’d do with the bike I wasn’t sure. It’s in decent nick, but I couldn’t honestly say that I needed it.

Which leads me to the question I sort of posed at the top. Should I convert this to a single speed? 

I’ve only ever ridden a single speed at a velodrome, and it should be said immediately that I live on a hill. But of late, I’ve become more inclined to try a single speed.

What’s more, since I bought the bike 10 months ago, I’ve done nothing with it. I’ve not ridden it any further than when I was collecting it. So it would seem like a good candidate. I can remove a lot of the bits and pieces on the bike. Overhaul what remains, and create a town bike. That was vaguely the idea in the first place – a bike that I could run to the shops on. One I wouldn’t be crestfallen if it was stolen; although I wouldn’t be happy.

On the other hand, converting old bikes into fixed gear bikes is incredibly hackneyed. Everywhere you look in the city, there’s an old Peugeot now running as a single speed bike.

Should I do it? Maybe. Maybe not.

Will I do it? I actually might.