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I’m sure you have all heard the saying “n+1 is the perfect number of bikes to own” – where “n” = the number of bike you have. With new bikes and new technology getting better and better each year, it’s hard to avoid upgrade and addition syndrome. I mean, have you seen the new 2016 bikes being launched at Eurobike? #lust
As I write this, I’m counting my bikes in my head. Time trial bike, cyclocross bike, team road bike and a spare road bike. When I bought my first road bike, I never would have imagined that I’d be sitting here in my apartment surrounded by bikes. Literally.
My first bike was an Italian alloy road bike. It was my pride and joy, a product of the first pay packet of my first real job. I was stoked with it. I thought I’d have it forever.
I soon moved to the city and purchased myself a cheap eBay steel frame road bike that didn’t fit me. It was for knocking around on, and I convinced myself that I “needed” it for commuting eight kilometres to work and back each day. I couldn’t commute on my pride and joy could I?
At this point I had two bikes, and I thought that was a lot. I was living in a small apartment, and I had one bike parked in my bedroom and the other perched on the balcony. Two bikes. That was enough.
I commuted to and from work on the steel framed road bike for over a year until I got sick and tired of the old clunker. At which point, I realised I needed something a little more pleasant for commute. Goodbye steel road bike. Hello Candy Crux.
At the time, I wasn’t sure where I’d store it, but somehow I managed three bikes between the bedroom, balcony and living room. This was short-lived as my housemate couldn’t cope with the over-crowding, so my beloved steel frame was soon back on eBay.
As time passed, I was getting more and more into cycling. As the hours on the bike increased, I realised that I had outgrown my beloved Italian and needed to upgrade to a carbon number. Enter my new race bike, a Specialized Amira.
For a short period I had one bike in the lounge room, one in my bedroom and the Italian on the balcony. When the housemate threatened to kick me out because of the over-crowding, I said goodbye to the Italian. I was back to two bikes.
As I progressed up the racing ranks, I realised that I needed a time trial bike. The only way that I was going to be competitive in an ITT was if I had a TT bike. This purchase was completely reasonable and justified, right?
And then there were three again. It happened so quickly that I didn’t even consult my housemate.
Luckily, shortly after acquiring bike number three, I moved. Now I actually had room for another bike. Space would no longer be an inhibitor. My partner and I had moved into a two-bedroom apartment and designated the second bedroom as (you guessed it!) the “bike room”. We have wall to wall bike racks holding up to nine bikes in a row.
It proved quite easy to fill those racks, because, well, my partner has four bikes… She has a fixie, a time trial bike, a cyclocross bike and a road bike.
That escalated quickly. Our household bike total was officially at seven.
We had barely moved in and filled those racks when I joined a new cycling team, Specialized Securitor, and for the first time, I was given a team bike to ride for the season – a shiny new S-Works Amira.
To the horror of my other three bikes, the team bike quickly became the pride and joy of my collection. My “old” road bike has been relegated to wet weather riding and back-up for when my team bike is in with the mechanic. I was now up to four bikes, with a total of eight in the apartment.
(Full disclosure: there’s an old road bike on the balcony, but we’re not counting that one).
By this point, I had been commuting on my cyclocross Candy Crux for three years. The bike was getting old. Thoughts of “n+1” were creeping into my mind on a daily, even hourly, basis. “I need to upgrade to carbon,” I found myself thinking. “Alloy was so three years ago. Carbon. Carbon. CARBON.”
The new carbon model I was eyeing was pink and sparkly. “I might give CX racing a go next season,” I told myself. And with that I had convinced myself. Before I knew it, it was mine. Candy Crush joined the family.
My bike tally was up to five. Our total apartment bike tally? Nine. Bike room capacity reached.
The only catch now was that I needed to sell Candy Crux to fund Candy Crush – and with the blink of the eye I was back to four bikes. “I really didn’t need two cyclocross bikes to commute on,” I told myself. But it was hard to say goodbye.
So now I’m down to four bikes. They each have a specific purpose, so I obviously need them all. (Right?) I love all my bikes. My Amiras are for training and racing and use as a spare. Candy Crush fills the commuting and off-roading needs. And while I’m the first to admit I’m not riding my time trial bike enough, I still need it for racing NRS.
Now, I bet you are all thinking that I need a mountain bike. I don’t. Not this year anyway!
Four. It’s a nice round number. And they all have a place in the bike racks.
So: Do you have too many bikes?
No. No, you don’t. You can never have too many bikes.
(Although if your partner doesn’t ride, good luck convincing them of this theory.)
The next question is: Do you have too many kits?
About the author
The tagline to Verita Stewart’s personal blog reads: “Not a professional cyclist, yet” and it’s the “yet” that’s most telling. Verita is a Melbourne-based cyclist riding for Specialized Securitor. New to the sport, she’s quickly made the jump from commuting to recreational riding to racing.
She now juggles full-time work with full-time NRS racing and hopes to make the leap to the big-leagues sometime soon. Verita is full of stories and smiles and snark – and will bring all three to you on Ella. Follow Verita on twitter and instagram and strava.