Riding bikes is fun. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter whether it’s pedaling on a pathway, street or trail – the perma-grin says it all.
I don’t own anything more expensive than bicycles. They’re all I got (except for my dog and he’s priceless). I currently own 5 bikes, which are stacked against each other in my tiny little apartment. A smart person would learn how to properly store equipment, especially since those possessions are worth more than my savings account. But nope.
The reasons for owning numerous two-wheeled “struggle buggies”, a term some old timers like to use facetiously to taunt me, are just as varied. The reasons include: to meet new people, to talk about cool, new gear, to have options, to race different events, and to hang out with friends.
Some other perks include staying healthy, avoiding chronic illness, getting back to nature, geeking out on technology trends, relieving stress, and feeling the wind through my hair. At one point, I had 7 bikes, so let me make a case as to why I needed all of them. At least half the time, I’m pretty sure peer pressure was involved.
A “bike to the bar” bicycle
Otherwise known as the cruiser, this heavy old piece of metal is probably a collector’s item, although it’s hard to tell under the 3 layers of paint it came with. ‘Old Blue’ was reclaimed from the dump, but she is truly unique and rides like a unicorn. The thought of someone carelessly throwing Old Blue away like a piece of garbage is horrifying. But I guess someone else’s trash equals my treasure.
The purpose in life for a cruiser is to transport one into a happy place. For me, this means riding to the Farmers Market on Saturdays, to the brewery with friends for Happy Hour, to summer music concerts, and to get my dog, Romeo, out for a jog. I have fashioned a drink holder out of a steel-cut oats can. Let’s just say I try to use it as a coffee mug holder and not a coozy.
A “bike for riding on the road” bicycle
Sometimes it’s nice to hop on a bike built for speed. The first road bike I ever bought was a steel-framed hot pink and mustard yellow number. It was a Dave Scott triathlon bike and the shifters were on the down tube. It was super sweet, ridiculously heavy, and I’m sad I sold it for $200 a few years ago. Funny thing is I bought it used for $200 in 1995.
Along the way I’ve dabbled in lighter materials: chromoly, aluminum, carbon fiber. They’ve all served their purpose of getting me from point A to point B quickly. It’s fun to tour scenic areas by bike rather than by car. A road bike is a good training tool, as well. I have a lot of fond memories of riding with other weight weenies in beautiful places throughout the Rockies.
A “tooling around in the mountains” bike
The first mountain bike I purchased did not have any suspension. It was completely rigid. I thought I was a mountain biker just by default. I forgot about the part where you ride it on trails in the mountains. The invention of the full suspension mountain bike was a godsend. Swooping down flowy singletrack like a brown pow slalom racer is just plain wonderful.
The 29er I’ve been riding served me well for about 5 years. I compare it to a Cadillac because it’s just a smooth, luxury ride – even over big rocks and roots. Then, along came another frame size: the 27.5
Oh wait, I need “another bike for riding in the mountains”
Yes, I have two mountain bikes. It’s not my fault the 27.5 was invented. I love my 29er, even when people laughed at me because I’m 5’3 and look kind of ridiculous riding such a huge bike. The 27.5 fits me well, though, and it’s lighter and fun to ride on smooth trails. Anyone want to buy my 29er?
A “riding on grass, jumping over obstacles, and drinking beer” bike
Cowbells and beer hand-ups. Need I say more? I could have easily attempted cyclocross racing on a mountain bike, and I did for a while. But, of course, I wanted to be cool and buy a $2800 cyclocross bike that I’d ride for two or three seasons before deciding to hang up the skinny, knobby tires. It sure was a fun time of dressing up in costumes and spilling beer on myself while jumping over barriers carrying my bike.
A “getting in aero-position and riding really fast” bike
Triathlon is my one true love. I love swimming, biking and running. In the old days, it was all I could focus on. I even went to an Ironman 70.3 World Championship once. Someday, I hope to train again and go back. I needed a fast triathlon bike – or TT bike – to get me there. It wasn’t enough to slap aero bars on a road bike and call it good. I needed the real thing. I eventually sold my tri bike and shed a few tears.
A “riding on snow” bike
A ‘fat bike’ brings countless hours of enjoyment and is an important tool in the biker’s training arsenal. If you’re not into skiing and want to stay in shape, riding a fat bike on snow is a great alternative. I’ve owned two fat bikes so far and haven’t regretted those purchases.
Here’s to riding bikes, owning many bikes, and figuring out what bikes work best for you. Ride on.