Friday, 16 August 2013

Why three bikes are better than one!

I suppose as a relative newcomer to the world of cycling (I have only been seriously cycling since May 2011) you could put my enthusiasm for riding bikes down to novelty. Whenever you take on a new hobby, it is easy to come a bit obsessed and I suppose I have done that with golf in the past. There was a time when nothing would get in the way of a round of golf, nor from constantly searching ebay and golf shops for the next item of equipment! I still love golf but I am not playing as often as I was, I almost never buy new equipment and I don't like playing in bad weather.

Is this down to my new obsession for cycling? Well possibly but I don't think so. There is time in my life for both interests as well as my need to spend quality time with my wife, family and friends. But there is something different about cycling. I am beyond the stage of wanting to constantly buy new clothing and equipment. I simply don't have any more drawer space for cycle jerseys, bib shorts or waterproofs. I normally delete the daily emails from Wiggle, Evans, Edinburgh Bicycles, Planet X and all the rest as I have neither the time nor money to look at them. I even read my Cycling Active magazine with less eagerness than I used to, because apart from upgrading my lights in the autumn, there is not really anything I need.

But nothing will stop me being excited every time I open my bike shed and seeing my three bikes safely locked up and ready to ride! I use my bikes mainly for commuting these days, although I do have the occasional weekend or weekday pleasure ride if I have the time. I have no plans to take up cycle racing (too old!), no plans to join a cycle club (don't like cliques!) or to do anything but the occasional sportive (Note to self: see if I can get a place on Ride London 2014) but I just love the flexibility I have with three different types of bike. I always joke to my wife about getting a fourth, as I don't own a proper off-road bike, but I am only half joking. There is room in my shed!

But why do I need three bikes? Or to re-ask the question at the top of this blog, why are three bikes better than one? The simple answer to the first question is I don't need three bikes, I have three bikes because I can. But the answer to the second question is more straightforward. Having three different bikes gives me flexibility, even if I use them all for commuting. It is ideal to have a choice of bikes for different uses and conditions and if one bike needs fixing I will aways have an alternative.

Bike 1 is a Specialized Sirrus hybrid. It is the basic model, and it was my first 'born again cyclist' bike. I bought it when I had no idea that this was going to become a passion and obsession. It is black, has mudguards and a bell. It is not exciting. But it is great for wet days when I need more grip on the roads, if I want to ride through the park on my way to work and it is comfortable and sturdy without being too heavy. It is a triple speed so I have a range of gears, so if I do want to go up some hills or get some speed on the downhill I can. It is great for winter riding, but I don't use it in the summer.

Bike 2 is my road bike. It is a Ridley EOS upper-entry level model that cost me about £900 two years ago. It is the bike I used to do my London to Paris ride last year and I use it it for longer rides and to commute to work when I want to go fast or when it is windy and I need to be lower. It has an alloy frame with carbon forks, and I have upgraded the wheels to Mavic OpenPro with 105 hubs. I have no intention of buying a carbon frame bike at the moment, and I love this bike. It is light and nimble, and the frame is great quality, and the full Tiagra gear and brake set does the job.

Bike 3 is a single speed/ fixie although I never use it on fixed gear. I bought it new on ebay and it is a limited edition Chrome-Moly Specialized Langster in a chrome finish. I have taken off the track-style drops and fitted flat bars, which give me a far more comfortable riding position. I changed the saddle initially for a Selle Rolls vintage style mount, but it was too hard so I have instead fitted a Charge Spoon saddle which I also have on my Ridley road bike. It is super-comfortable. I love this bike because it looks great (even with raceblade mudguards which I take off when it's dry), and I do not have to worry about gears or maintenance. A single speed for commuting is ideal and it keeps me fitter, because I have to stay in the same gear for hills! I bought this bike initially as a bit of a fashion thing (at my age!!), but it is now my favourite bike for commuting and popping to the shops. It is a just a great bike. I love overtaking the roadies on it too, as it has great acceleration. It makes me feel young!

So that is why I have three bikes. I am not a show-off nor particularly materialistic. It just makes sense!

Let me know what you think!

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