Single Speed World Championship

Single Speed World Championship

Single Speed World Championships
Local name:SSWC
Region:different venue each year
Type:Single Speed Mountain Bike Race
First Edition:1995?
Number of Editions:8?
First Winner:Male-Travis Brown Female-Marla Streb
Most Wins Male:Travis Brown - Two Wins
Most Wins Female:Marla Streb, Linda Eckhart and Stella Carey -Two Wins

The Single Speed World Championship race is an annual event. It is open to only bicycles with a single gear ratio. Those bicycles can be either single-speed bicycles or fixed-gear bicycles. Most of the bicycles in these races are mountain bicycles, however many people take part in the race on cyclo-cross bicycles, racing bicycles and bicycles defying easy categorization.


The first event was organized in 1999 and was less of a race and more of a bike rally. The race was not the most important thing to most of the 260 people that took part. The camaraderie, beer drinking and just riding your bike seemed to be the most important. Over the years, the idea has been maintained pretty well. At times people have proposed the SSWC be a true race, with timings, placing, and strict rules. This has been fervently resisted by those that understand the true nature of this event.

World Champion bicycle races usually award the victor a title and the right to wear a jersey denoting their win. The SSWC does award a title but instead of a jersey the winner receives either a tattoo or branding. The race promoters and organizers have always warned competitors, "do not win if you do not want the tattoo." As of yet, no winner has attempted to fight off the tattoo or branding artist.

Unlike most World Championship bicycle races, the SSWC is not sanctioned by any cycling governing body. The race itself has little organization other than the individuals putting the race on each year. Surly Bikes currently has a strong influence over picking the location the race will be held, but that is about it. They were awarded this responsibility since they won the Bike Derby held the day before the actual race in 2005.

Alternative Races

Many people unable to attend the annual World Championship or considering the venue or organizers as poor, have gone on to organize other SS races. These events have had names such as the Universe Single Speed Championships, the East Coast Single speed Championships of the Universe.

Venues and Victors


Big Bear, CA, USA
*Female Winner - unknown
*Male Winner - Adam Briggs (USA) Event presented by Bob Seals and called the first "W.H.I.R.L.E.D." (Wasted Hairy Insanely Retro League of Enlightened Degenerates) Championships. To qualify riders had to drink a beer on the starting line.


Not known if held and if so where and when.


Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA
*Female Winner - Marla Streb (USA)
*Male Winner - Travis Brown (USA)


May 13th Minneapolis, MN, USA
*Female Winner -Stella Carey (USA)
*Male Winner - Hollywood Jay Henderson (USA)


June 2nd Afan Forest Park Country Park, near Port Talbot, South Wales

Held in Afan Forest Park a beautiful narrow valley in southern Wales. The park is within Valleys forest, the largest urban forest in Europe. One of the most memorial prizes were awarded to the fattest and skinniest racer. These titles were determined by the crowd's cheering at the award event. Prizes were also awarded for best seen crash, most vomitings in the race (4), person most in need of a new frame (award a new Bianchi frame), best male legs (decided by the top ten women), pimpiest bike and most hungover. The winners of the race were both from the UK and are:

*Female Winner - Alison Rushton (UK)
*Male Winner - Jeff Wherlock (UK)


Saturday October 12th Downieville, California, USA

The 2002 event was the first to awarding the winners branding instead of tattoos. Stella Carey said the branding hurt much less than the pain endured during the race. The brands were applied by professional brander, Michael Hare, of Exotic Body in Sacramento, California. Additionally Stela and Travis were each awarded a pig trophy. These frames of the trophies were made by welding expert and bike frame maker Rick Hunter. Steve Smith assembled dissected embryo piglets into cylinders of formaldehyde and/or urine held in each trophy. The most memorable moment for the participants was the complimentary Budweiser-in-the-can and BBQ'd hot dogs provided at the top of the initial climb by two drunken, obese men.

*Female Winner - Stella Carey (finish time 3:59) (USA)
*Male Winner - Travis Brown (finish time 2:51) (USA)


November 9th Castlemaine, Australia
*Female Winner - Linda Eckhart (USA)
*Male Winner - Clinton Jackson (NZ)


August 21st Berlin, Germany
*Female Winner - Linda Eckhart (USA)
*Male Winner - Florian Eschenbach (Germany)


August 21st State College, Pennsylvania, USA in Rothrock State ForestThe 2005 event was organized primarily by Eric Roman, Jim Malta and Joe Gore. The course was a single lap approximately 25 miles (40 km) long. The course featured three major climbs and four descents. The total elevation climbed over the course was approximately 3500 feet (1070 meters) The course traversed many technical trails full of rock gardens challenging the racers bike handling skills. The race started with an approximately 1 mile trail run to help separate out the field of 400 plus riders.

The 2005 event highlighted its resistance to a racing focus by awarding the title of World Champion not to the winner of the bicycle race, but to the winner of a Go-kart race after the bike race. Winning or finishing well in the bicycle race (top 20 men and top 10 women) only qualified you for the Go-Kart race. This has caused a controversy in some portions of the single speed community. The World Champs were awarded 29"er Gary Fisher Rig singlespeed bikes with custom head badges made by Philadelphia jeweller Jennifer Green and of course a tattoo of the event's official logo. The Official World Champions are:
*Male World Champion - Brian Keich (USA)
*Female World Champion - Marla Streb (USA)

The placing in the bicycle race stage were only recorded for the first two men, Jesse LeLonde then Travis Brown and the first two women, Abby Hippley and then Tiffany Mann. Jesse and Abby both failed to win the Championship even with their pole position in the Go-Kart race. For their first place finishes they were awarded bottles of 15 year old scotch. Other prizes were awarded for the person requiring the most stitches, drinking the most the night before and still finishing well, riding some one else's bike to the end, having to ride somebody else’s bike since someone else took your bike, and doing the most damage to your bike during the race.


August 18-20 Stockholm, Sweden

The right to decide the location for SSWC06 was determined in true SS fashion via Derby at SSWC05. Applications were submitted and evaluated, and the winning entry (an application and video submitted by Tobias Jönsson and Joakim Simonsson of Stockholm) was announced in the Surly Blog on Jan 6, 2006. One of the primary motivating factors for the choice was the proximity of world-class trails within easy riding distance from the city center making it a car-free event.

The event was organized primarily by Tobias Jönsson, Phil McNaughton (a.k.a. Dr. Spoke) and Dane Thomas. Pre- and postrace activities were based at a local art, music and design market called Street.

Pre-race rides were organized via the SSWC06 website and HappyMTB forums so that local riders would have the chance to show guests the wide variety of trails available within easy cycling distance.

Race day (Saturday, August 19) saw a gathering of approximately 300 riders parade from Race Central out to the base of Hammarby Ski Hill, where the start/finish area for the race proper was located. Just over 200 participants from 15 different countries were issued race passes. The race course consisted of two 12 km loops consisting primarily of rooty and rocky technical singletrack through city-owned property in an area called Hellasgården. Details of the race course (as well as of many of the other local trails enjoyed during the days before and after the race) can be found at

* Male Winner - Sveinung Bjørkøy from Oslo, Norway
* Female Winner - Tiffany Allmandinger from Goleta, California, USA
* Male second place - Brian Keich (USA) (winner SSWC05)
* Female second place - Alison Rushton (UK) (winner SSWC01)
* Male third place - Luca Mara (Stockholm, Sweden)
* Female third place - Johanna (JoJo) Reeder Sundsvall, Sweden)

The race winners were tattooed directly following the event by the world-famous Theo Jak and were also awarded certificates for custom Retrotec steel singlespeed frames to be built by Curtis Inglis, the primary sponsor of the event who also attended and raced in Stockholm. Second place riders won their choice of hubsets from Phil Wood, while third place riders won WORD rear hubs by Paul Component Engineering. All other prizes were awarded based upon factors other than finishing position, some examples being a bottle of Scotch to the older gentleman who managed to negotiate one full lap of the course on his ancient Swedish military bicycle, tires from WTB to those who flatted on the course or pre-race rides, a freewheel from White Industries for a competitor who destroyed his freewheel during the race, cogs from Phil Wood for all competitors who completed the race on fixed-gear bicycles and wool Brooks riding jerseys provided by Cykloteket for those competitors coming from the farthest south and north.

The selection process for the location of SSWC07 was held on Sunday, August 20. Contestants were told that it was to be a boat race and that those nations wishing to be in contention should present with 4-person teams. Details are a bit fuzzy, but several allegedly English-speaking nations and perhaps a few others ended up competing in a relay-style race that involved the rapid consumption of beer. The team from Scotland ended up taking a well-deserved (and highly anticipated) victory. Their triumph was most likely the result of years of intense training, but the fact that a fellow countryman came up with the rules of the contest should not be completely ignored.


Scotland - Aviemore, 2nd September.

Athletes from Germany, USA, Hungary, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and many other countries blasted around the awesome course which was specially tweaked by local trail builders Andy, David and Nash. They drank Cairngorm Brewery beers, shook their tail feathers and were blessed with an incredible array of prizes from a range of generous sponsors.

Kelli Emmet and Adam Craig took home top honors, Custom Inc tattoos and the Sycip custom singlespeed frame and custom ti frame respectively. True champions!

1.Kelli Emmett (USA)
2.Jenn Hopkins (UK)
3.Sinead Fitzgibbon (USA)
4.Tiffany Allmandinger (USA)
5.Rebecca Tomaszewski (USA)

1.Adam Craig (USA)
2.Carl Decker (USA)
3.Travis Brown (USA)
4.Gareth Montgomery (Scotland)
5.Sveinung Bjørekøy (Norway)

Everyone else did very well.


Napa, California, USA

Registration opened at 00:00 Pacific Standard time on January 1, 2008.


Durango, Colorado, USA


External links

* [ Offical Website up soon
* [ The 2008 SSWC official website]
* [ The 2006 SSWC official website]
* [ The 2007 SSWC official website]
* [ Cycling News article on 2005 event]
* Dirt Rag Links
** [ Article on 2001 event]
** [ Article on 2002 event]
** [ Article on 2005 event]
* Road to Moab Links
** [ Info on 2001 event]
** [ Info on 2002 event]
** [ Info on 2003 event]
* Cars 'r Coffins Reports
** [ 2000 event]
** [ 2001 event]
* [ SingleTrackWorld Report on 2007 Event]
* [ A short documentary on the 2007 Event hosted by goatkarma]

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