There are tons of people I’m sure that buy one bike, ride it, and are perfectly happy doing so. There are also tons of people – like myself – that follow a formula for bicycle ownership, and it goes a little like this;
S = N + 1
Where S is the number of bikes you should own, and N is the number of bikes you currently own.
What I love about this formula, is coming up with reasons for another N + 1 in your life.
I have four bikes right now, but only two of them can I go jump on and ride right now. One needs some work on cables and such to finish, and the other is literally broken – it’s got a crack in the frame.
Of the two that work, one – my new Kona Explosif – is for serious off-roading. I could ride it to work, but it’s just not made for that. The other is my ’91 Rocky Mountain Blizzard. It’s cool to roll around on, and it would be fine for riding to work – I could put slicks and a rack on it for sure.
Can you see the rationalization of an N + 1 coming here?
Not just yet though – let’s explore every option.
I have two frames that could work, but they both need things. Annoying, expensive, hard to find things.
Firstly, a nice – though very worn – 1990 Rocky Mountain Hammer. Perfectly good frame, but I don’t have a fork that fits it. I have several forks just lying around, but none will fit. And forks are just so expensive. There’s a dozen used forks off of GTs and Giants on eBay right now, each for US$50 or so.
I can buy an entire bike for that. I really like the Rocky, but $40 is the most I’d spend.
I also have an ’87 Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo that would be very nice for getting around. But this poor soul has a stuck bottom bracket cup. I’ve tried to make it work with what’s there, but I don’t have the right width BB spindle, and the bearing races are damaged. Instead of spinning smoothly, the cranks turn with a terrible rumbling. Also, I have no seatpost for it. No post for the Rocky either now that I think of it.
Even for a cheap bike like this, I need it to be flawless. It can be heavy, or old, or even ugly, but it needs to work. It needs to be mechanically flawless.
I’m sure this all sounds ridiculous, but that’s my thought process. The time and trouble involved in making these bikes work is just not worth it.
Especially when I could buy this.
This groovy early 80’s Norco is probably a Bigfoot or a Mountaineer, I’m not sure. I think it’s really cool though. I always liked bikes with chainstay brakes because they look so clean with no cables on top. It’s also got a nice roller stem, and crazy OvalTech chainrings.
What makes it so cool ultimately, is that it’s a complete working bicycle. The seat is crummy, the grips are crummy, and the tires are lame, but whatever – those are all cheap and easy to replace. And if I buy it, I could be riding it right away. With some fenders maybe, a rack, or lights, this could be a terrific commuter.
But, before I jump on this, I might have another deal on my plate. Stay tuned.