It’s quite a collection isn’t it? Of the eight bikes on that wall over half of them are mine. And while that’s a ratio tending to the static over the last few years, two things have recently changed. Firstly, I’ve singularly failed to add to the collection in over a year, and I’ve started to worry I may still have too many. Because at least three have become nothing more than wall art. Maybe I should frame my un-ridden frames.
The problem is somewhat mental but largely fiscal. A terrified peep from behind clasped hands worried out a figure barely short of six more – committed and mostly spent on this Dragons’ Horde of a house. I can only assume we have some fire breathing scaly pet in the cellar because – while there have been some big ticket items – It’s beyond my grasp to understand how we’ve spend so much.
Okay we’ve installed a satisfyingly fuck-off oak clad RSJ in one room, chased out every ground floor lintel and raised it four inches, ripped out the entire shell from the base of the house and re-stacked it with insulation, under floor heating and an oak floor so eye wateringly expensive I barely dare stand on it. And we’ve skipped a heating system based entirely on fire-bricks, and replaced it with a room full of stuff that converts cold to hot through a process of elven magic.
And yes, those elves run amok in 400 metres of garden buried pipes, atop of which a garden has crystallised from a car park and a couple of eneveloped drawings. Labour is a big part of this cost* because I am far too lazy/busy/useless to shovel/paint/nail – although the breathtaking scope creep of the bloke whose spent most of the last four months doing stuff I cannot begin to understand reminds me of being back at work. He came to build a dry stone wall for three days in June and has yet to leave.
Other men have drunk deeply at the bucket of of our disposable income fitting, grinding, plastering, wiring and painting. Which means we should be finished, right? Wrong, wander outside for a breath of fresh air and stand in a place where a porch may be, look through a 30 foot wall of shit windows that all need replacing and revel in half the garden barely retrieved from the triffids. And don’t get me started on upstairs. Mainly, because we haven’t either.
What has this to do with bikes then? Well my normal N+1* rationale suddenly feels profligate. Examine that photo and from the left we have the lovely, carefully restored Kona that’s been ridden twice since Christmas. Next to that is my happily deranged sidekick equipped with the shortest chainstays in the free world. I spent a lot of time throwing that off stuff but lately it’s just hung on the wall. Next up is the Cove and we’ll be back to that. Then Carol’s bike which I’d better not consider selling, tempting as it is.
Moving along, we’ve the fantastic Pace 405 a bike that needs more terrain, more commitment and more rider that I’ve been able to give it. Except possibly once. Then there is the faithful Jake, commuted like a demon, but rarely switched from tarmac to dirt.
Five bikes, and the only one that gets ridden a lot I want to swap for an ST4. Don’t ask for reasons, we’re way beyond that now. So I look, and I ponder and I think all I really need is a single MTB and a road bike. Something that is everything I am not, honed, fast and light and mostly carbon. Sell the rest, to hell with a second hand market which pays nothing for emotional value, go minimalist. Ride what you have, don’t leave it on the wall.
But, but, but one MTB isn’t enough. And if you’re going to have a spare, make it a good one. And that DMR has given me so much for so little, why sell it for buttons? And the Kona MTB is brilliant really, an icon, an anchor on what’s important about riding. But I still need an ST4 and one of these which has somewhat holed my rationalisation plan below the waterline.
I might sell the cross bike although even that feels like a betrayal, but it’ll free up a space on the bike wall for 18lbs of Carbon Ego Boost. And then, if that doesn’t feel too bad maybe the Kona. Or the DMR. Not the Pace though, that’d just be wrong. And even if the ST4 is as brilliant as I remember, I can’t get rid of the Cove.
So N+1 just became N+2. That’s not rationalisation, that’s bloody madness.
* Not the One Eyed Wonder’s Labour who merely find ever more innovative ways to cock stuff up on our behalf.
** Where “N” is the current number of bicycles owned.