Houston, We Have a Problem


Actually, it is myself with the problem. My name is Michael and I have a problem. It was only a month ago that I rebuilt the ol' yellow Basso, cannibalizing my previous road ride to accomplish the task. I thought I would be satisfied, that the Basso would carry me on all the paved rides I might desire over the next few years, at least. 

But then a few days ago I looked around the stable and noticed the C'dale Caad 4. Ostensibly this was the sons bike, handed down after serving me well during the last few years of my racing "career". I can't begin to remember how many times I rode it round in circles without winning a blasted thing. As I thought about that, I realized that he (the son) had only ridden it three times since the El Roble Bike Marathon four years ago, and so decided a little reacquisition might just be in order. I put on some spare Speedplays, raised the seatpost, swapped saddles, and that was all it needed. Ready for me to ride again. I bought the Saeco team reproduction frame from Steve Lebanski's Open Road shop in Pasadena in either 1999 or 2000 and rode heck out of it until the call of the dirt was picked up by my ears a few years later.

Best thing about this resurrection is, I did not need to disassemble the Basso, so I could pick up again where we left off. The Caad 4 is also closer in size to the Ibis. Switching between riding the Basso and riding the Ibis always seems to require a short period of acclimatization. Now, being able to ride two bikes mostly the same size should solve that problem.

Back to that other problem. The drawbacks of N+1 are usually described as space and money. Not enough of the first and, well, not enough of the second either. But there is a third, lesser known drawback as well - never being satisfied with what you've got. Owning more than one of any type of bike (mountain, road, etc) can lead to excessive tinkering, the these bars might be better on that bike, or I'd like to try this shorter stem on that bike, or maybe these longer cranks would be better over there, kind of tinkering. Then there are variations in the saddles, the bar tape needs to be a difference color, the pedals, though the same model, are not quite the same - one pair is older and, after all they fell apart last week and I really should find a replacement screw, so I will move them to this other bike in the meantime. Never being satisfied gets to be a bit much sometimes. 

How many times did I switch majors in college? Rock and roll. Country. Yuck. Back to rock and roll. Thank goodness I don't shop that way - usually. I am in my second career, but hey, at least there has only been the one marriage. It hasn't always been the case, but my life with bikes has long revolved around maybe's and possibilities - if I change this maybe I can get a little more speed, if I change that maybe it will be more comfortable, maybe if I change this, and that, I can increase control. How will you ever know if you don't try. Sometimes I think it might be wonderful to have one bike so completely dialed in, that you simple maintain it as is for years. Sooner or later, though, I know that the urge to tinker would get the better of me. 




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