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There are differing opinions when it comes to the debate of having one bike for training and one bike for racing, versus owning one bike for both. Some people prefer to reserve their good bike for race day only, and ride their bike made up of spare parts in the garage for training days. My mate CJ, the most opinionated bloke on Earth (that’s why I love him), has a completely different point of view that I do on this topic. We debate heavily on this nearly every morning. I think it’s time we put our differences on paper and let popular opinion judge which is better.
Hello to all the followers of the Cycling Tips. I am one of the long suffering bike riders that Wade rides with (i.e. beats up on) here in Australia! In recent times he has become unbearable, I think this Blog of his is taking over his life… for example, barely a ride goes past without us hearing the mantra from his lips, “Can we stop to take a photo for the blog?”, “What do you think about this for a blog subject?”, “Have you got any tips for me to post today?” Hmmm.
Recently, we have been having an ongoing discussion regarding the merits of owning and using a training bike. You see, I use my training bike for training and my race bike for racing. Let me explain my position.
This is the bike that allows you to rack-up the commuter km’s along shitty bike paths to work, or the bike you are not scared to leave locked up in the basement carpark whilst you toil away in the office. This is the bike that you don’t mind getting wet whilst riding along the beach roads, the bike that the drivetrain will get encased in all the salt and sand sprayed up off those wet roads. This is the sacrificial bike that lets you indulge your passion and ride all year round without having to be concerned that you are wearing out your pride and joy.
And then, when race day dawns or fair weather beckons and you roll out the door on the ‘good bike’, that is when you notice the difference. Everything works perfectly, the bearings run smoothly, the gears shift silently and you smile and enjoy the decision you made to own and ride your training bike!
First of all, I’m all for having a “commuting bike” (however I’ve never known Craig to commute to work before). There’s no way I’d ride my good bike to work and lock it up against a pole in public view.
That said, my position on the topic of two bikes vs one is this:
Many times people make their training bikes out of all their old parts laying around the garage that were replaced by upgraded parts. This probably means that these parts are old, worn out, and many times there was something wrong with them to warrant an upgrade. Now this mishmash of parts have been bound together to assemble a complete bike that now takes the brunt of the hardest riding we do – training. These old and decrepit bike parts are now asked to ride through rain, grit, and massive kilometers. I can’t tell you how many times my training ride has been interrupted my mechanicals of my training partner’s “wonderful training bike”. Worn out bearings, cracked forks or frames, broken spokes, non stopping creaks. These parts should have been retired for good years ago!
When you have both a training bike and a racing bike, you now have TWO bikes to maintain, not only one. Even though your racing bike is better preserved because you only ride it 130km every two weeks, you will still have to clean it and maintain it. Perhaps not double the cost, but double the effort.
Also, another point I want to make is that the team that I ride on is fortunate enough to have bike sponsors. These sponsors have purchased us $8000 frames that they want seen on the local roads and group training rides. Exposure is what they’re after. Now, when I accept a bike from a sponsor I am obligated to ride it and and make sure I’m a good ambassador for the brand. Most people see the bike when we’re out on the busy cycling roads, not when I’m racing in the middle of nowhere in the armpit of Australia. Racing gets our sponsors very little exposure, while training rides does. Even if no one sees us out in the hills of the Dandenongs at 7am on a Saturday morning, I want to take “What You Missed This Morning” photos. I take one look at Craig and his Frankenstein bike and old baggy kit and I say “please move out of the shot Craig…”.
For example, here was a perfect photo opp that Veeral took during one of our training rides that would have been great for our sponsors or team owner. As you can see, Craig is riding Frankenstein as well as his old team kit that he insists fits better. What a disaster ;-)