Friday, August 10, 2012

Code of the Semi-Serious Cyclist: Part 6 (Bike Count)

The Semi-Serious Cyclist generally owns between two and four bicycles at any given time.

At the moment, I have four bikes: a fast bike (skinny tires), a touring bike (fatter tires for gravel and trips), a commuting beater (my old high school special that's unlikely to get stolen), and a mountain bike. The last one is the newest in my posse, a second-hander I picked up from Penn in exchange for a bottle of Scotch. I keep the last three stabled in my garage. The fast bike hangs in a corner of my basement in what I call The Bike Nook.

The family hitching post. Still room for a car in the garage. Barely.
The recreational or commuting cyclist, who usually owns one or maybe two bikes, might think that four bikes is a bit much. After all, you can only ride one at a time, right? But the SSC knows that in certain situations, having the right bike, as opposed to just a bike, can make all the difference between a sour slog and a sweet ride. Try taking your skinny tires on a soft gravel lane or keeping up with your roadie pals on a mountain bike. For me, one or more of the four steeds in my barn can adequately handle whatever riding I get mixed up in.

It is possible for a Semi-Serious Cyclist to own more than four bikes, but generally it’s a bad sign, an early indication that the cyclist is coming down with a case of serious cyclistosis, or perhaps even überserious cyclistosis, a potentially grave condition that can lead to accumulating dozens of bikes—not to mention maxing out credit cards on Rapha gear and e-shifters, as well as spending countless hours in online bike forums. If this sounds familiar, if you have a loved one exhibiting this tendency, then you may want to consider an intervention.

The Über-Serious Cyclist has a tendency to collect bicycles the way a cat lady accumulates tabbies. His garage has no room for a car, and his basement can look like a bike shop, with a dozen or more cycles hanging from the ceiling like so many bewheeled stalactites. Chances are he rides some of them. But there’s something of the hoarder, the bike fetishist or fondler about these types. Like cat ladies,these USC's usually live alone.

I doubt this would fit in The Bike Nook.
One of these could come in handy.
Occasionally the SSC may wish he had more than his two to four  bikes—say, a fatty for floating over the beach; a folder for plane trips; a tandem tricycle for those Sunday rides with the wife; a Dutch cargo special for moving the couch; or perhaps a hydrocycle for those summer days at the cottage. But these urges usually pass when they are revealed as flash-in-the-pan wants, not long-haul needs.   

Don't get me wrong. I love all my bikes. But I also like having furniture in  my basement and room for a beer fridge in my garage and I can settle for just four bikes if it means not living a life of cat-lady loneliness. 


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog today. It's been a good read! Glad to see some information on riding in Edmonton. Sometimes I find it challenging to find good riding spots around here.

    I'm not yet at SSC level and a ways from crazy cat lady status. :) I've got a mountain bike, cyclo-cross, and a folding bike (Bike Friday NWT) for travel and touring. I'm currently thinking of getting a surly Ogre or maybe even a pugsley for bike packing adventure. Before I do that though I need to do more research on the whole fatbike craze before jumping on board.

    1. Thanks, Mark. I know what you mean about the difficulty of finding the good rides. We've learned by trial and error over the years. Just yesterday Penn and I drove out to Ardrossan and rode from there. Fabulous roads out that way, but it takes time to drive out.

      I'm intrigued by the fat bike phenom too. Val is the fat bike expert around here. Watch for more fat posts from him when he gets back from the coast. Cheers!


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