One more bike?

Posted by SuperClydesdale on August 26, 2010 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

I have a problem.  I’ll admit it.

I’m a tortured soul. I think I need counseling.  It’s like that show Hoarders that my wife watches, where these mental defectives have houses stacked to the roof with crap and cannot get rid of it.  I’ve got that affliction, just with bikes and bike parts.  I’m a bike-hoarder or “boarder”, perhaps a new word for the Clydesdale Glossary?

Boarder:  one who hoards bikes.

Like many people who are consumed with cycling, I have slowly grown the collection of bikes in my garage.  Now, not all of the bikes in the garage are mine. A few belong to my family.  I just counted the number of bikes hanging in the garage: 9.

That’s not all. There’s my wife’s crappy mountain bike out by the basketball hoop (need to put it inside).  There’s my “old” mountain bike on the porch outside the master bedroom.  I say old because it’s a 2009 model, I just ordered a 2011 Specialized hardtail Stumpjumper Evo 29-er last week.  There’s another bike: In the entryway of my house, is my current primary road bike – the Specialized S-Works I have been riding since replacing the frame I broke a couple of months ago. It’s got those sexy-looking Spinergy Stealth carbon bad boys on it, and it’s sweet.

Also on the porch is an old steelframe roadbike I am putting on Craigslist (between my adult services ads that you may have been hearing so much about – hey, a big guy’s gotta make ends meet!). It was my wife’s bike, and it will make a great fixed-gear conversion for someone.  It’s a old low-end Italian “Benotto” bike circa 1990. Benotto apparently moved to Mexico, but this is an old “N.R.” model, which I believe to be an Italian-made model.

Also, there’s two BMX bikes of that belong to my sons.  Those don’t count. BMX bikes are more like skateboards than bikes.  Skateboards with two big wheels and pedals.  There, I said it. BMX bikes are not bikes… and don’t send me any e-mail on this topic.

Note: by now you must be thinking that I have a ton of crap on my porch. “How can he even make it to the door? He is a boarder!” Actually, I have a massive porch that wraps around the entire house – 13-feet wide – so, these bikes are not even near each other. It’s open and airy, it just has bikes on it in various places.  So there.

So, if you’re doing the math, that’s:

  • Garage: 9 bikes (5 are mine)
  • Basketball hoop: 1 bike
  • Various places around the porch: 5 bikes (one is mine)
  • Entryway to house: 1 bike (mine)
  • 29-er on order: 1 more bike (mine)

17 bikes (including the BMX bikes, which we now all agree are not bikes, so the real total is 15).   Holy crap! I actually didn’t realize just how many bikes we’re talking about until the very moment of typing that sentence. As Forrest Griffen would say, “that’s a shit ton of bikes!” Now, the fact that I just referenced Forrest Griffen will either raise or significantly lower your perception of me as a human being, and I’m guessing there’s a greater chance that it will lower it.

Total side note unrelated to cycling (I’m pretty sure):


I bought this book because of the back cover, where Forrest's mom says, "This book will make you dumber for having read it. Judging by the content, you would think he grew up eating paint chips. I swear that wasn't the case."


For the unenlightened (second time I’ve used that word in as many articles), Forrest Griffin is “one of the top-ranked light heavyweight mixed martial artists in the world.” I recently read his book “Be Ready When the Shi*t Goes Down,” a tongue-in-cheek guidebook to how to be prepared to live in a post-apocolyptic society. Now, first of all, I was damn impressed that someone who calls themselves a light-heavyweight anything could even spell his name. The fact that he can string words together into a coherent sentence is phenomenal. Having him able to write a best-selling book (his first book, “Got Fight?” momentarily graced the New York Times Bestseller list) was amazing, like having my dog break into song. That said, having a MMA fighter write a best-selling book is sort of like the classic refrain that if you put a bazillion monkeys in a room, each with a typewriter, eventually one of them is going to crank out Shakespeare. I suspect that somewhere, there’s a humongous room filled with MMA fighters, each with a laptop. Forrest Griffin was the one MMA guy that happened to somehow bang out a book. The rest of them either ate the laptop, used it as a weapon, or as Forrest might expect, just surfed Internet porn.

Forrest does, in fact, have a co-writer named Erich Krauss. But, since Erich’s byline is about 20% the size of Forrest’s, he obviously didn’t do much. Or, he wrote the whole damn thing, with Forrest Griffin grunting and surfing Internet porn on some laptop that a university researcher gave him.

As it turns out, while Forrest is a bit more… plainspoken than I am, we actually seem to have similar writing styles. That scares me.

One might ask, “why so many bikes, Jack?”

Part of the multi-bike “strategy” (if I can call it that. Actually strategy implies some sort of thought process, so perhaps “situation” may be more apt) is that I do want to have a backup bike at all times.  If I get ready to go for a ride, and I’ve got a flat tire, or forgot that I needed to replace a brake cable, or my dog ate my tire… whatever! I can just get the other bike and go. This has served me well many times. I may have a bike up on the workstand doing some maintenance work or upgrade and I don’t want to be rushed – no problem. I just grab the other bike. During the winter,  I make one of the bikes a “rain bike” with crapper wheels, a different seat, and clip-on fenders. If it’s nice, I take the other bike. If it looks like a chance of rain, I take the rain bike. Sweet!

Since “going dirty” and adding mountain bikes to my life (no, “going dirty” doesn’t mean anything else in this case, Forrest), I’ll obviously need the second mountain bike. I’ve got tubeless mountain bike tires on my full-suspension Stumpjumper, and went out to find my tire flat one day. Without a second mountain bike, I was screwed until I was able to fix the tire.

So, I’ve got to have two of everything…

Some of the bikes, I just cannot get rid of. There’s just too much sentimental attachment to them. One is the old Mondia that I rode in college. I rode most of that bike across the US, from Las Vegas to Washington DC with a friend. Totally unsupported, and with about $250 in my pocket. 26 days, 100 miles per day. 2601 miles. Rode it all over DC, and never got shot, mugged, or raped. I can’t get rid of that bike – its lucky.  Plus, its 100% Campy Super Record components, except it has sweet-looking all-black Modolo brakes and calipers. I also have a “parts bike” – again, all Campy Super Record, that I got for spares. I figure I may restore that parts bike. The Campy stuff is in great shape too. It’s got a lugged Italian steel frame as well, beautiful lugs. It’s a “project bike.” Can’t get rid of that, can I?

I’ve got my Rocky Mountain that I built up 2 years ago as my Death Ride Bike. Rode the 2010 Markleville Death Ride, as well as completed the California Triple Crown.  Triple groupset with full Dura Ace (older 7700 and 7800 though).  Stopped riding it once I went to the 195mm cranks on the S-Works. I am thinking that I will get an 195mm triple cranks for that, and have that be my super-duper climbing bike. With the 195mm arms on the S-Works, I don’t know that I’ll need a triple any more (the longer cranks make that much of a difference). But, if I don’t stay with a triple, I have to change out at least the right shifter to a double. Or, I could sell it.  I’m not emotionally attached to that bike, despite my accomplishments on it last year.

My kids have their kick-ass road bikes in the garage, as does my wife.  Their bikes are all much better than they deserve (what? Why would I say that?), but since I built them up myself for the most part so they were dirt cheap (full Dura Ace, with my wife and older son both with older S-Works frames).

I do have a fixed-gear bike that I built up 2 years ago.  It’s built up from a cool old Trek 560 circa 1986. Flip flop rear wheel, man… sweet ride. I was all excited about trying fixed gear. Supposed to be great training because you never get to coast, and you are up out of the saddle a lot on climbs. But… I have yet to ride it. Even once. How stupid is that? I could get rid of that, but I do still want to try fixed gear (obviously not that bad, but I own it, I should try it). So, I can’t sell the fixed gear.  Yet. But, if I keep it, now that I am all-in on the longer cranks, I cannot bring myself to ride a bike with short cranks (yes, 180mm and below are now “short cranks” to me, and anyone less than 6’2” is also short). I’ll have to put some real cranks on it. Then, in keeping with the 2-bikes theory, I’ll actually need to get a second fixie, so that if I absolutely, positively have to ride a fixed-gear bike (which I have proven over the last two years will likely happen), and discover than the one I was planning on riding has a problem, I can take the second fixie. See?  There’s a method at work here…

The frame I have. Photo not taken in my house. I would never have that tile!

Here’s the real problem, which reveals the depth of my boarding psychosis: I am considering building up a new bike. I stumbled upon a 2007 Specialized Tarmac frame. Full carbon. Weighs less than most of my farts. When I say “stumbled upon” it usually means I got a screaming deal – something I covet with price I can’t pass up. I’ve totally hosed myself with some of the deals I’ve stumbled upon – big time buyer’s remorse. I’ve made the commitment to sell it, then not, then took it out to put it on eBay, then put it back in the garage.  This morning, I was going to sell it.  Now, I’ve decided I’m going to build it up. So, struggling with that, a glimpse into the mind of a boarder:

“If I can stumble upon a 2011 groupset at Interbike (oh, yeah… I’m going to Interbike and you’re not!), and put some 195mm – 200mm cranks on that bad boy… that would be a sweet-ass ride!”

“But it’s full carbon!  That thing will move around like its made out of melted down gummy bears with your fat ass on it! Sell it!”

“But I own it!   How can you own a Tarmac frame and not be riding it?! I must have something wrong with me! How come I haven’t walked over whatever hot coals are between me and building it up? I MUST BUILD IT UP AND RIDE IT!”

“It has a BB-30 bottom bracket housing. You can’t get a real-man crank for any of the BB-30-compatible bottom brackets!”

“But, on my way to Interbike (oh, yeah… I’m going to Interbike and you’re not!), I was planning on stopping in Mammoth at High Sierra Cycle Center and Tom said he can get me set up. Excuse gone, Butthead!”

“You could use the money from that ridiculously expensive frame to help buy another mountain bike for your lovely wife. A better one.”

“But how does that help me?  It’s all about me.  Any proceeds from that sale are like found money! It has to go towards some other expensive kick-ass component that will make it look like I am a serious rider!”

And so it goes… I’ll start at the top of the list again tomorrow morning I’m sure.

As with any compulsion, I can become a great rationalizer.  ”Hey, look on the bright side, you could be addicted to cocaine — spend all your money on that!”   Problem is, this bike thing is friggin expensive!   I don’t know that the cocaine deal might not be a cheaper route.   There’s an old saying among sailors, that owning a boat is like standing in a cold shower, ripping up $100 bills (you’re wet, cold, occasionally miserable, all while paying through the nose for the privilege).  I think a new saying is in order for cyclists… it’s a similar disorder.

So, as you can see, I have a lame excuse for keeping just about all of my bikes, and can easily talk myself into a new one.   The bikes that are potentially on the chopping block (there’s my wife’s old college bike as well, but she didn’t really accomplish anything on that so I’ll sell that out from under her in a heartbeat) will open up some open bike-hanging hooks in the garage. Plus, some cash.

So…. some cash, some empty bike-hanging hooks… I wonder what I could do with this?

  • levittlaw said,

    Sounds familiar. I still have my Colgnago Master (circa 1984 with Campy Super Record, my 1985 Paletti with Campy Super Record even though both are too small for me to ride now.

    I have a Motobecan frame that I stripped to build my wife’s Cannondale Super Six but its not worth much so it sits in my spare bedroom.

    I have my Calfee road bike with DuraAce 7900 and a Felt DA2 with DuraAce Di2 (sweet).

    Just ordered a Colnago C59 with Ultegra Di2(very sweet deal) since the Felt’s Di2 spoiled me.

    Gonna take the Reynolds 46/66 off the Felt and put them on the Colnago and add Mad Fibers to my Felt.

    Was tempted to buy a Time off of Ebay but I just can’t seem to rationalize a 3rd road bike other than to call it my rain bike. Still tempted and still considering the Time too.

    I guess I am a boarder as well!! Nice to know I am not the only one.

  • levittlaw said,

    Sounds familiar. I still have my Colgnago Master (circa 1984 with Campy Super Record, my 1985 Paletti with Campy Super Record even though both are too small for me to ride now.

    I have a Motobecan frame that I stripped to build my wife’s Cannondale Super Six but its not worth much so it sits in my spare bedroom.

    I have my Calfee road bike with DuraAce 7900 and a Felt DA2 with DuraAce Di2 (sweet).

    Just ordered a Colnago C59 with Ultegra Di2(very sweet deal) since the Felt’s Di2 spoiled me.

    Gonna take the Reynolds 46/66 off the Felt and put them on the Colnago and add Mad Fibers to my Felt.

    Was tempted to buy a Time off of Ebay but I just can’t seem to rationalize a 3rd road bike other than to call it my rain bike. Still tempted and still considering the Time too.

    I guess I am a boarder as well!! Nice to know I am not the only one.

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