I saw this thread over at paceline and had a laugh. It’s funny but it made me think of how someone with a dozen of the same bike will never proselytize how great it is – whereas the guy with one bike will always let you know. I’ve been on more than one group ride where someone’s mentioned unprompted “oh this is my only bike” and I always wonder what response they expect?
Condescending articles about only having a single bike are a staple bike blog rotational and they’re never very good. If the byline doesn’t say “Jobst Brandt” no one cares that you only have one bike.
Having one bike kinda sucks anyway. It usually means someone is only interested in one form of cycling. Instead it’s wrapped up in this rebellious take on modern conspicuous consumption while simultaneously trying to crib some status from the minimalist movement. If they’re not in it for the paycheck, or Japanese, most of those minimalism guys are fighting some form of mild mental illness. It’s not 600 hours riding a bike per year or anything but it’s there for sure.
Anyway, some dude was telling me about his one bike after a group ride while changing to get into his Volvo and drive back home. I had to ride my bike back to my apartment so I left without hearing what his point was but it seemed like it was going to be kind of thin at the time.
This whole post is just an exercise in nostalgia wrapped in post-modern angst. I loved only having one bike, because I didn’t know any better. I spent around $700 and several dozen hours tracking down used parts, stripping paint, waiting for cheap spray paint to dry, fixing stupid installation errors and all sorts of other beginner mistakes to end up with a converted fixed gear hung with bottom of the barrel parts. Which I then road the fuck out of until I cracked the bottom bracket jumping over a curb at 22 miles an hour during an alleycat race in Jacksonville. I didn’t even notice at the time and went on to finish the race pretty respectably and had an absolute blast.
I didn’t have a job or any other money so this was my bike and my only bike for a long time. It was an awesome bike. How did it handle? I don’t know like a bike I guess. Did it plane? I didn’t know what that was. How much trail did it have? I don’t know the catalog scan I found didn’t say and I didn’t know anything about trail anyway. How much did it weigh? I don’t know but it was lighter than the touring bike I rode previously.
All I knew was that I could get on it everyday and just pedal and pedal. Everything worked and it was fun to ride and all I needed to do was oil the chain every now and again. It didn’t have fenders so when it rained I’d hang out with my mom or my girlfriend or my siblings. It was kinda a drag to do a lot of climbing so I’d route flat routes around Gwinnett county into the country where I could ride for hours without seeing a car.
One time I rode a century from my house in Lawrenceville to the outskirts of Athens. That was a lot of fun. Oh and another time I won this alleycat race in Atlanta. 2012 peachtree bash, I just remember absolute speed. Everything a blur with tunnel vision blasting through the urban core of Atlanta to Buckhead and back. I won something like $120? It was amazing and really ignited a fire for competition that’s still going.
I think I sort of had a point when I started but now I just miss the freedom that only having one bike brings. It was so easy, one bike I only ride on the road when it’s dry. That’s it, no inventory of parts for multiple race machines, no obsessing over tire rolling resistance or pressure or tread, no geometry charts, no constant Instagram newness making me unsatisfied with the things I already own, just riding around on my fixed gear having fun.