We spent a week in York not long ago on holiday so no cycling was involved .
It’s a place none of us had been to before so we were unsure what to expect as we normally take seaside holidays , so having a week in an inland city was something new to all of us .
Although it was a family holiday I still find myself looking at any bikes I see and boy did I see a few in York. The vast majority would be what I call Dutch style bikes, then a good mix of mountain and hybrid machines with the occasional road bike and there was an even spread between newer and retro styles with a lot of the older retro bikes having been converted to either single or fixed gear .
I have a couple of single speed bikes in my collection and find them very easy to use especially for commuting duties where the majority of the route is fairly flat, once you start throwing in the odd hill or two I think the majority of cyclists would prefer to have a few extra gears to choose from .
A single speed or fixed gear bike has a much less complicated drive chain ie two gears and a chain plus sometimes a tensioner whereas a multi geared bike can have a minimum of 3 gears , at least 1 mechanism and a chain never mind the complication of gear change levers . So they have far less bits to go wrong and wear out.
A lot of the bikes spotted in York were parked in one of the many parking areas scattered around the City , some of these machine looked in daily use whilst quite a few of them didn’t look like they had moved much in at least a couple of months . Most of the roads we used seemed to either have a dedicated cycle lane or shared access with buses and taxis . It looked a lot busier than my local inner town area so not ideal cycling in for sure and not something I would fancy doing too often . A lot of people seem to use the shared paths along the side of the river Ouse to get in and out of the city centre area .
In a City like York the use of a single speed bike certainly makes a lot of sense to me as you don’t have to worry what gear you are in as you jostle with the traffic. As it’s a fairly flat place with no major hills to negotiate the choice of one or more extra gears would help, you also don’t have to worry about the mechanisms getting knocked about when padlocking your bike up to whatever you lean it up against .
It also made me think how many of the bikes I spotted were peoples only bike or were they just their day to day workhorse whilst the Sunday best bike sits tucked away and only goes out to play in ideal conditions rather than having to be ridden no matter what the weather or terrain is .
We did also spot on a couple of occasions York’s answer to the the Boris bikes and these looked to be available to hire from the main railway station for a fee starting at £10 for 2 hours along with a deposit and a picture id .