This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

N+0, or; what went around looks better the second go around.

         Rule #12 states that the correct number of bicycles one must have is expressed by the elegant mathematical formula, N+1.  N is, of course, the number of bicycles currently owned.  The concept is articulated by American cyclists who have long lived in a culture where the proper number of anything owned is best expressed as 1 more than ______.  ______ being whatever relative, neighbor, coworker, casual acquaintance or (most importantly) tabloid celebrity they envy.   Trek has developed the penultimate expression of the formula;
the Trek Emonda SLR 10.
      This sleek crabon fiber queen with it's surprisingly subtle trademarks weighs in at 10 lbs and is priced in the second mortgage range of $15000.  What makes it remarkable is not the price, the weight or the lifetime warranty (which, including exclusions, probably weighs more than the bike). What is remarkable is it's absolute frivolity. While most riders cannot make adequate use of  CF road bikes in the 2-5K range, the bikes can be raced if they found an owner qualified.  The Emonda is so light it's illegal .  Consequently the bike is even more useless than other road bikes.  The spandex hamsters will promise their spouses a cruise in exchange for permission, but their club mates will cry foul because it's illegal.  Strava will have to develop a handicap system now.   After all, cycling is the new golf, right?  There is no reason for this to exist except to demonstrate ones desire to own.
   I have been in a suspicious position the past few years.  I have 4 bikes and literally have not considered another. The elegance of N+1 has failed.  So how does this abnormal state of affairs exist?

   I have a road bike, a touring bike, a city bike and a few years ago I bought a hybrid.  Seems simple, but until I owned a hybrid bike, I didn't have a bike that was a little of anything and everything.  The bike, of course, is the Sam Hillborne.   Sam is a pretty fancy hybrid but, considering the tire size and usage, it fits the bill.  I remember a charity ride where I used it.   A spandex hamster came up next to me and asked why anybody would want a bike like that?  I said, "It'll take me to the grocery store, on a metric ride or over the Himalayas, what will that do?"  I pointed to his CF crotch rocket.   He just made a face and shook his head like he was confused.

   Having a bike which has no specific purpose provides the freedom of having no restrictions.  It has left me in a state of N+0 now for several years.   The Sam reminds me of my first bike, a Panasonic Tour Deluxe.  They are very similar in use and geometry; easy to ride, comfortable all day, not too slow or too fast but durable enough for anything.  After that bike took a ride beneath a car which carried me on the hood for a block,  I foolishly "upgraded" to a Follis made of legendary Reynolds 531.  I rode that uncomfortable little tramp for about 15 years before realizing I needed to dial it back a bit, bought my current Trek with stouter tubing and a bit more forgiving geometry.  Forty years of experience has brought me back where I was.   We should all have one that is totally reliable and unspecific, then we might not envy the plastic, fat, gravel, mud, mountain, city, sand and snow bikes. With one bike that is completely useful, anybody will ride more often.

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