For some time now, Sarah has been keeping her eyes open for a single-speed bicycle that would fit her.

She wanted a single-speed because she felt that it would improve her climbing power. Since a single-speed doesn’t let you shift gears when you encounter a hill or a stiff wind, or, the worst-case scenario, a stiff wind while pedaling up a steep hill, it is up to the bicyclist to provide any additional power necessary to keep the bicycle moving forward. Since this power needs to come from the bicyclist’s legs, it forces the bicyclist’s legs to get stronger. Unfortunately, there aren’t many frames in her size floating around the world, so finding one, much less one already converted to single-speed, was a tough nut to crack. This last weekend, we found the right set of nutcrackers.

Sarah found a single-speed for sale on craigslist and, shockingly, it not only fit her but was reasonably priced. A short time spent with the bike later, she was the proud owner of a new single-speed.

The purchase of that bike touched off a frenzy of bicycle maintenance this weekend. We had to swap the tires from her road bike over to the single-speed; a new set of tires was then installed on the road bike and the brakes on that bike were adjusted. The rack and fenders had to come off her previous commuter bike (a Gary Fisher mountain bike) and be installed on the single-speed. Since she wants to use her previous commuter bike for cyclocross, she stripped all the extraneous parts off that bike, including the kickstand.

Several hours later, we had touched nearly every bike she owns, but she seems quite happy with her new commuter (the single-speed), her cyclocross bike (the Gary Fisher) and her road bike (with its new tires).