Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a conundrum, reached

When I started working in the bike industry, like most newbies I was lured by the prospect of cheap abundant parts and began hoarding them in earnest. UNlike most newbies, I did not amass a pile of bikes. Most mechanics would acquire five to seven bikes by the end of their third year in the business. One legendary co-worker had as many as -- sit down -- seventy bikes, in various stages of rideability. Where and how he kept them all I will never know.
Due to my penchant for small living spaces I was limited to two most of the time.
Since moving to larger quarters some years ago with Sweetie, my collection has grown to a whopping four whole bikes, the number I can securely store indoors and still sleep soundly at night.

I now have three complete bikes with 26" wheels -- I have a thing for this wheel size, to be sure -- and two more frames clamoring to be built up and ridden. I can't build up either of them completely without sacrificing an existing bike. One of the current bikes is my singlespeed racing bike. Another is my Surly cargo bike. The other three bikes/frames pose the conundrum.

Bike 1: An All-Rounder I've never been quite able to make work for me. It's a beautiful frame, really a little small for me but with drop bars it has the right top tube length. One possibility is to convert this to upright bars and be done with riding drop bars altogether, since I'm never as comfortable on them as on uprights. I've had it for almost three years and I'm not ready to give up on it yet. This frame was a gift -- a long, amazing story I won't go into here -- so I cannot sell it in good conscience. If I can't make it work before the end of the year I will be contacting the giver to see about giving it back.

Bike 2: Last spring I brought home an incredible find: An early-era Schwinn High Sierra frame in pristine condition. It's in the process of being built up and I will figure out its future after I ride it. I am leaning towards keeping this one.

Bike (Frame, actually) 3: This week, a new find -- a Mountain Goat Deluxe frameset, circa 1988-89. It's shockingly heavy (made of tandem-grade tubing), takes a U-brake in the rear, and needs to be stripped and repainted, but it's a fascinating piece of mountain bike history and could be really fun to build up and ride. The question is, do I want to go to the expense of doing all that work on a bike I may not be able to keep?

What I really need is more storage space, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
How many other bike freaks have this problem? How many of you have dreamed of building a two-car garage used exclusively for storing and repairing bicycles? (C'mon, admit it.)

(And before anyone chastises me for my bicycle excesses, remember that in the larger scheme of things, my four bikes still cost far less to own and maintain than a single automobile -- and I can do the repairs myself at home.)


Richard said...

Let bike #1 go and KEEP the Schwinn. I'm sure you can find a buyer for bike #3 if you ever need to sell another.

I had 4 bikes at one point but had to thin things out a bit. I'm now down to my Moots 29er and a 2002 Trek Project One.

lynnef said...

I am not going to chastise you for bicycle excess :-) I will say that the Gitane I restored a couple years ago has been bikenapped by my daughter. She'd darn well better lock it up if she ever takes it out ... So now I'm down to 4. Need to sell the MTB, I think. I can reasonably ride and justify the other three.

Judi said...

i was just walking thru my basement of dominic's collection of bikes, wheels, frames, tubes, tires, etc. 3 rooms of it. except i got fucked on my property so def don't BUY anything right now. maybe a 25 dollar a month storage space?

im loving those old frames and the fenders! love fenders.

bikelovejones said...

I am kicking around the possibility of selling the Mountain Goat, and may have an interested party. Stay tuned.

Cycles J Bryant said...

Wow, Sounds like a conundrum indeed. If it were me, the Schwinn and the Riv would be kept and the Goat set free. I know it sad to depart with a bike that seems so awesome, but, bikes come and go and eventually, you won't think about the "losses". The 1st 2 seem like better "scores" to me, hence the keeping of these.

bikelovejones said...

Joshua -- The Goat will be going to a new home in a couple of weeks (a certain bike nut you and I know is buying it from me).

As for the All Rounder, I will try setting it up with uprights to see if it's a decent stand-in for the Rivvy while Ira does some surgery to that frame this fall. If I can't make the A-R work then I'll finish building up the Schwinn and return the A-R frame to the fellow who gave it to me. (Seems the right thing to do.)

Today is a good day to putter.