I got up pretty early and went out the door before 6am and picked up a friend on our way to do a little singlespeed riding in Forest Park. Why so early? He still needed to work and doing the ride so early in the morning means that my family wouldn't miss me.
I went with Marcus and it was his first ride on a singlespeed and also on a 29er. Oh yeah, and we were both riding without any suspension. Other than his difficulty with the cold morning air and asthma, it was a great time. We started at the bottom of Germantown and climbed up to where Leif Erikson meets Germantown. He wasn't really ready for that climb. Still he was a trooper and we were soon finished with the 3/4 mile climb. Leif Erikson was a pleasant break.
Then came Springville Road. That is a fairly difficult road when you only have one gear. He just walked up most of it. The stock gearing on the bike he was riding was not the best for a SS newbie. 32/18 with 29 inch wheels is a pretty difficult set up when you haven't done much biking lately. While Marcus is in pretty good shape, he doesn't ride a bike much at all. That combined with some odd lung difficulty from asthma or bronchitis it made was already a difficult set up, impossible. Still, there was no complaining from him at all.
We headed down Firelane 7 and then branched off onto 7A. The trail was nice and clear--thanks to all those who must have spent some significant time clearing it--and we blistered the trail with our suspensionless bikes. I hit 37 mph--which ain't so bad I don't think for any kind of bike really, suspension or not. Marcus was not too far behind either.
We dumped out onto Leif again and headed back to where there is a bit of singletrack that leads back down to where we parked the car at the bottom of Germantown Rd. I was just feeling pumped. I railed and nailed everything. All of the little drops and off-cambers where no match for the Curtlo and I. There was one time in particular where I just had to trust her. I put us in the right direction and the bike just went down the rooty drop as if it were nothing. And the steering at speed is perfect. Stable but agile. There wasn't much of a learning curve to know how to push it. Many thanks to Doug Curtiss at Curtlo.
Marcus was a little timid going down the more difficult parts, but did fine. He said he had a blast and loved the way the GT Peace 9r rode. I think he is a convert to both SS and the Church of the Twentynine.