The Angry Singlespeeder: Dear Europe


Late 70s Fanny Pack

With a transverse-mounted fanny pack, it’s a party in front, and it goes by the name enduro.

Dear Europe,

I read your cute little Op/Ed piece recently published on another esteemed mountain bike website. It was very, how you say…cheeky. I’m sure it was all in good fun, but just in case you were serious, I figured it was worth a response. The question that you asked, “We’d like the word ‘enduro’back, please” confused me. I didn’t know that America stole it from you.

Strapping on fanny packs and riding short travel bikes around Soquel Demo is a new sport? That’s funny, because dudes have been riding mountain bikes with fanny packs in the Santa Cruz Mountains since the late 1970s, long before “Europe” was even a gleam in his daddy’s eye.

Sea Otter—I’ll give you that one. It was truly embarrassing. But “Europe” should know better than to fly halfway across the world to race mountain bikes at Sea Otter. Anyone here in the U.S. who’s done Sea Otter more than two times would tell you not to bother, but “Europe” is probably still figuring that out.

Wearing Lycra is “really f*cking embarrassing?” This coming from a continent where cyclists who shave their legs and wear pink Lycra is considered masculine? Please. Johnny Tomac was waxing European asses with a full black lycra skinsuit well before baggy ass shorts and jerseys were “enduro,” so yes, I can see why “Europe” would be embarrassed.

There are a few other things you should reconsider too:

Mt. Tam

1. Mount Tamalpais, son.

Riding to the top. Racing to the bottom. On modified beach cruisers called klunkers. Timed with a stopwatch. In 1975. Oh, some European dude was doing it in the 1970s too? Well, he’s 80 years too late, because mountain biking was actually invented in 1896 by the Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Corps—a black U.S. Army regimen who rode modified singlespeed safety bicycles 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula to Saint Louis.

Race Is On

Photo by Photo John

2. Two guys going for a ride is a race

You can call it enduro, mountain biking or tiddly winks—it doesn’t matter. Get two guys riding together on mountain bikes, and guess what? You have a race. Duh.

Full Face

Only a downhiller would ride a helmet that has triple clamps for his POV camera. Photo by Photo John

3. Downhill helmets are full-face

A steep, 1,000m vertical descent that requires a full-face helmet as standard equipment is not enduro, it’s downhill. Full-face helmets are a pain in my ass, and anything that requires it I consider to be downhill racing. Twenty-five years ago I raced downhill with a regular mountain bike helmet and a rigid mountain bike on courses where you actually had to pedal once in a while. Then downhill racing grew big fat hairy balls, did away with most pedaling and required a bike that weighed 40 pounds, a neck brace and a full-face helmet so you didn’t end up paralyzed, wearing dentures or both. The more rational people who longed for the old days of racing downhill on regular singletrack without gap jumps in excess of 20 feet started doing things called Super D, which is what gave rise to what we here in the U.S. consider enduro.

Late 70s Fanny Pack

4. Fanny Packs.

Because wearing a hydration pack is like having a sweaty midget on your back trying to strangle you all day long, that’s why.

5. If it isn’t Enduro Blue™, it’s not an “enduro-specific” product.

Maybe someone in France didn’t get the memo, but Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheels are not “enduro-specific” because they’re yellow. Everybody knows that anything that’s enduro-specific is Pantone 801, AKA Enduro Blue™. Get with the program, Frenchy.

Downieville Goggles

And before you ask, hell yes there’s an enduro blue crushed velvet jacket that goes with this ensemble.

6. Open-face helmets and goggles

Because full-face helmets are for downhill. Goggles? Race the Downieville Classic sometime and maybe you’ll get a clue.

7. Enduro HAS done great things for the bikes we ride

PatriotI agree with Europe here. Enduro has given rise to bikes that can descend batshit crazy fast while still being able to climb well. The Orbea Rallon is a terrific example. Love that bike. But the last time I checked, nobody likes climbing several thousand vertical feet on a 90 degree day with a full-face helmet, which returns me to point number 3—full-face helmets are downhill, not enduro.

On the topic of 1x systems, these systems are really more downhill than enduro, because when you have a 30-pound enduro bike you have to climb all day with, by the top of the last climb you’re cursing your 1x system, unless you have a 28t chainring. But then you’d be spinning balls on open fast pedaling sections, wishing you had a 38t big ring for descending and a 26t ring for climbing. I love 1x systems. 1×1 is even better. But there’s a proper tool for each job, and when your bike is near 30 pounds, 1x ain’t necessarily the right tool.

Europe, you should know by now that America is very sensitive and defensive. You have insulted our intellect (what little there is), but like any arrogant and proud nation, we forgive you for being so…well…how should I put this….European. It’s not us. It’s you. But thanks for being so cute. We feel sorry for you, so you got the whole pity thing going. Nice work.

Because America always tries to offer a rational solution to a problem, how about this? We’ll keep “Enduro.” You can call what you do “Endeuro.” Deal? But we’re trademarking the word, so you’ll have to license it from us, because, you know, America is an enterprising nation and all.

Yours patriotically,


PS –None of this applies to Anne-Caroline Chausson. She can do whatever the f*ck she wants as far as we’re concerned, because, well…she embarrasses most men on a downhill bike.

ACC and Bike

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • brian says:

    ‘MURI-F**KING-CA !!

    *smashes beer can against skull

    **drops half crushed beer can and puts ice on new lump on forehead

  • John Symonds says:

    For me Enduros were how I spent my youth in the 70’s and 80’s riding Husqvarna and KTM motorcycles on 100 mile plus courses throughout the US. These were often brutal events that destroyed man and machine. They were enduros simply because one had to “endure”. I don’t get the new application of the word since even in Europe there were similar events called the ISDT and later the ISDE.

    • Steve says:

      Exactly John!! Enduro’s have been around for a loooong time in the moto world, both here and abroad. It always feels like “aggressive mountain biking” or “enduro” or “big air” or whatever, is just trying to move closer to what people have been doing on dirtbikes for years without the need for a name classification. Though, this whole enduro movement has been good for the industry, we are getting some great bikes these days.

  • Art says:

    Don’t drink and write.

    That was like listening to some drunk red neck ranting about how much better Nascar in than rally racing.

  • Jay says:

    Art: Chill out – maybe you need the drink.

  • Stevie says:

    Don’t really disagree with too much in this column, except – “Full-face helmets are a pain in my ass, and anything that requires it I consider to be downhill racing.” Uhhhh what about BMX and 4x racing? We all wear full-face helmets, even the little guys. Just think before you write haha.

    @Art, that is one of the funniest responses I’ve ever seen on the ASS’s column. Keep it up, both writer and haters of said writer. I always look forward to new ASS rants.

  • J.Bullfrog says:

    Yeah good point. I like my midgets on stripper poles not sweating on my back trying to strangle me.

  • Jasper says:

    Usually these articles are funny, sometimes thoughtful even.

    This one was just WTF?

  • Bruno says:

    Where are we going with this kind of discussion? Europe know that MTB was born in the US – no doubt about it. US know quite well the enduro racing was born in Europe (France, Italia mostly). At this very beginning, some enduro bikes was coming from some US brands. So MTB is a big melting pot where every people / champion / nation bring his stone to build our fabulous & exciting sport : MTB. So leave our sport like it is…Peace, Love and Mountain Biking for all!

  • Shawn says:

    I don’t understand nationalism at all from any side. People are people no matter where they come from. Who gives a crap who did what first or the best. Just like people are people regardless of race or creed. Where you are from or what god or lack there of that you pray/don’t pray to or the color of your skin rarely defines who you are as a person. Or whether you do or don’t ride a bike, or if you do ride a bike how you ride it. Most people in any group are typically good with only a few fringe a-holes/fanatics that always ruin the party. Pissing match like this are a waste of time. The best response would have been, ‘It’s all good man, let’s just enjoy the ride.’

  • DJB says:

    This article makes me happy, specially about the full face helmet thing… This new workd “Enduro” for me is just Mountain Biking for people with skills and lungs.

  • DJ says:

    Alway’s interesting to see which ASS comes out to write!

  • Jimmy says:

    If they do not time the climbs, isn’t it just a downhill race? And last time I have actually seen someone wear a fanny pack in public, he was European.

  • Brian says:

    Well, that was rather pathetic in my opinion – triggered more by national pride rather than good sense. I can’t believe you’re standing up for fanny packs! And what about the rant against 1x drivetrains? You’re supposed to be a singlespeeder, but 11 speed are not enough for you? Dude…
    It feels to me like you just validated everything “Europe” said in the other article.

  • dK says:

    Exactly half as funny as the original article on pinkbile put still one of the better ASS productions.

  • Peper says:

    That article hits the forums right in the teeth. For some reason I find it hard to disagree with anything that Kurt has to say. With that disco ball helmet swagger and his keen verbiage describing Jerry Seinfeld-esque observations of the MTB industry and community. I, like many, just seem to get it.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    1) I didn’t write this because I am a rabid nationalist. The original article on PB just annoyed the shit out of me, so I decided to respond.
    2) Saying “It’s all good man, lets just enjoy the ride” is BOOORR RRINGGG.
    3) The heavier the bike, the less 1×11 makes sense – even for a dude who primarily rides singlespeeds. Remember – right tool, right job.
    4) Fanny packs are more comfortable and less intrusive than hydration packs.
    5) I don’t care who invented what or where Enduro started.
    6) BMX and 4x – yes, you wear full face for those because those events don’t involve climbing a gigantic mountain for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.


  • Tsunami says:

    Ughhh, although there are some valid points, with all the bickering and bantering that already exists in mtbing, this is just one more lame argument that makes me feel like the mtbing scene is becoming too much.

    When can we stop worrying about what’s best or whose better, and just ride our bikes?

  • EpicAndy says:

    Good job responding to the 13-year-olds on Pinkbike. I’m sure they’re in their place now.

  • JK says:

    To those Americans bothered by the article, why are you so annoyed by an American showing a bit of nationalistic pride, even if a bit tongue in cheek, yet perfectly content when someone from another country does so?

    It’s like this pathetic self-loathing from a child coming from a privileged family resenting said family simply because they are privileged when others may not be.

    The problem is first world guilt. Other symptoms include becoming hipster douche bags, pretending to enjoy urban gardening and a brain storming ironic names for some shitty beer you brewed with your home brew club.

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