Building a fixie - The start

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What is Single Speed?
(Following information credited to Sheldon Brown)

While any bike that doesn't have multiple gears is technically a "single-speed" bike, current use of the joined word "singlespeed" generally refers to a bike with a one-speed freewheel and hand brakes, distinct from both one-speed cruisers (these have coaster brakes, not freewheels) and fixed-gear machines.

Why ride a Singlespeed?
Modern 24-27 speed bikes are marvels of technology, and allow a cyclist to select the gear ratio that will make the most efficient use of his/her energy. If what you're after is getting the maximum possible speed/distance for the minimum effort (and there's nothing wrong with that!) a multi-speed bike is what you need...but, efficiency isn't everything!

If you're riding for sheer pleasure, or for exercise, you don't necessarily place that high a premium on output results, as measured in speed, distance or vertical climb. Instead, you may care more about the actual experience of riding your bike. In this case, you may be a candidate for a singlespeed bike.

Riding a singlespeed can help bring back the unfettered joy you experienced riding your bike as a child. You don't realize how much mental energy you devote to shifting until you relinquish your derailers, and discover that a whole corner of your brain that was formerly wondering when to shift is now free to enjoy your surroundings and sensations.
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