Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Many Bikes Do You Have?

 Get yourself a drink, and settle in.  This is a long post.

How many bikes do I have?  That is a question that I hear dozens of times a year (if not more).  People find out that I am a bicycle enthusiast, and they automatically ask how many I have.  I really have never known how to answer that question, though.

 For one thing:  What constitutes a bike?  Do I only count the ready-to-ride examples, completely built up and with air in the tires?  Or, do I also count the disassembled (or yet to be assembled) frames and parts that would be a whole bike if they were all attached to each other?  How about bare framesets?  Are they "bikes".

Usually, I end up giving some long-winded answer about whole bikes/partial bikes/frames...or I just say, "I don't really know."

Recently, I came up with a plan that will allow me to answer that question, without any qualifications.

I have ten bikes:

My criteria for whether or not a bike is a bike:

1.  It is complete, with all of the parts.
2.  I am planning on keeping it for my own personal use, and it actually gets used.  
3.  It's not for sale, and not for display (like the Iver Johnson, and the Pink Bike).

Recently, I mentioned on the story blog, that I had a bike plan for next year which would serve two purposes.  I will get back to riding for fun, and I will be better able to keep my fitness up and my weight down.

I don't plan on going back to the daily bike commute.  That was fun, while I was doing it, but I am over it.  I will bike commute, when I feel like it (and as convenient training), but I really want to get back into bicycling as a fun pastime, as well.  When I commute every day, I really don't have much desire to go out on the weekends and ride my bikes with my friends.  I'd rather do something else, something I haven't already done 10 times that week.

So, my plan for this coming year is simple:

Ten Bikes, Ten Long Rides

I plan to ride each of these bikes on a century ride, at least once, through the course of the next 12 months.  If I am riding off-road, I will accept a half century (50 miles) as sufficient, for this goal.

I have a tentative order in which I plan on riding the bikes.  Here it is, along with an explanation of why each bike falls in its relative position (subject to change):

1.  2010 Handsome XOXO

This is a relatively easy bike to ride, and I  will be in probably the least-fit shape of all for the first ride.  So, it makes sense to ride an accommodating bike.  Plus, it is relatively new, and I have never done a long ride on it.  So, I want to break it in with a century.

2.  1992 Bridgestone XO-2

 This is another easy-to-ride bike, and it is a known entity.  I have done a few long rides, including more than one century, on this bike and it will be accommodating as my fitness is still in the relatively low range.  Plus, I will get to compare it back-to-back to the XOXO, which is a fairly close copy of this bike.  It will be interesting to see if I notice a performance difference between the two bikes.

3.  Prototype FUNK Titanium Daily Grind

This is the bike I designed for FUNK Bicycles, as a go-anywhere, do-anything all-rounder.  I am hoping to get one of those late-winter/early spring good-weather windows and do a gravel grind on this one.  I will be content with a half-century, for that ride, if it comes about.

The order may change on this one, because Dave Webb and I are considering doing an organized Gravel Century that one of the shops in Parker puts on.

4.  1989 Specialized RockCombo

 Yet another 26"-wheeled bike made with road bike geometry, back in the day.  I am thinking that the ride for this bike should entail a preponderance of gravel road.  So, if the titanium bike switches out of order to do the organized ride, then this becomes the Spring gravel-ride bike.  (If the ti bike stays in order, I will just do two gravel rides in a row.)

5.  1974 Peugeot UO-8 Fixed Gear Conversion

By the time my 5th long ride of the year rolls around, I should have enough fitness to enjoy the fixed gear for 100 miles in a shot.  This is one of the smoothest-riding bikes I own, and I am looking forward to this particular ride.  I rode fixed almost exclusively, for a couple of years, and just got away from it for a while.  Now, I want to put it into the mix, again, but not to the exclusion of my geared bikes.

6.  2008 Raleigh XXIX Singlespeed MTB/Monstercross

I have found that I don't particularly care for riding singlespeed 29ers with mountain bike tires on them.  But, with 38c or 42c cyclocross tires and off-road drop bars, they are a lot of fun.  This is one of my old commuters, put back into service as an off-roader.

Hopefully, by the time I get ready to ride this bike, the mountain trails will be snow-free, and I will be able to get a good 50-mile off-road jaunt in.

7.  1988 Specialized RockHopper 700c Fixed Conversion (Snow Bike Commuter)

After an off-road singlespeed ride, I should be ready for an off-road fixed gear ride.  This bike started as a 1988 RockHopper, which I converted to a dedicated singlespeed "vintage-style" path racer for Brad.  Brad later gave it back, and I converted it to 700c wheels, and I run my studded snow tires on it during the winter, for icy commutes.

I will stick some cyclocross tires on it, and probably follow the same route that I ride on the Raleigh, just to see what a difference going from a freewheel to a fixed gear will make.

8.  Mid-80s Fuji Touring

Back to the road/mixed terrain world with this bike.  I may work some gravel in, along with pavement, just for fun.  This bike will be set up quite differently by the time I take its ride.  I plan to install my Campagnolo Racing Triple stuff, from the mid-90s, and some mustache-style bars (of course) on this bike.  It should make a heck of an all-rounder, at that point.

9.  Late 80s Nishiki Ariel

I will be changing out the bars, shifters, tires, pedals and saddle on this vintage elevated chainstay mountain bike before I take any long rides on it.  But then, I will take the vintage mtb on a vintage mtb ride.  Moab, or Fruita, or Crested Butte...some place like that will be a good setting for an off-road jaunt on this beast.

That is all of the bikes in the picture from the driveway.  So, what is the tenth bike?

10.  1995 Rideable Bicycle Replicas Boneshaker

I have ridden many rides of 65 to 80 miles on this bike, in the past, and I know that it will require the highest level of fitness, so it gets the last century ride of the bunch.  I'm not sure where I will ride this one.  I may even go out on the eastern plains of Colorado and ride the relatively flat, though windy, terrain out there, just to avoid the repetition of the bike path loop here in Denver (where I have done most of my long rides on this bike).  Maybe not...I'll figure it out, when the time comes.

So, that's the plan for getting some fun rides under my belt, increasing my fitness, and utilizing all of my bikes during the riding season.  Like I said, all of the plans are flexible.  If I get a chance to go to Fruita in March, then the Nishiki Ariel may get used a lot earlier than I have laid it out in this post.  Or, if the roads stay snowy late into Spring, then the knobby tired bikes may see paved road action rather than waiting to ride the mountain trails...

Anyway, wish me luck.  At my age, I need it!



At 1:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seven.

At 6:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your bikes, they all look great to me. I have 4 bikes, and each one has its purpose. Good luck on the ride.

At 7:30 PM , Blogger Pondero said...

Brilliant! I wish you success on this bold endeavor. This plan should result in some great stories.

At 7:01 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

Good luck, Jon!

The work and thought-energy you've put into each of those bikes is impressive. As a collection, it is a rolling museum of bicycle evolution.

If I were to ride the boneshaker on a 100 miler, I'd do it on the high plains, 1-way, with a tail wind!

BTW, I'm drooling over all the Brooks leather. I'm down to 4 bikes, only 1 Brooks saddle.

At 1:09 PM , Blogger thomas said...

On your TiFunk, how do you like those tires? Do you run them tubeless or tubed?

At 2:19 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Thanks, everyone.

Bill: Only a few of those are actual Brooks. There is a mix of Ideal and the Taiwanese copies in there, as well. So far, the Taiwanese saddles have been great. We'll see how they compare to Brooks in 20 or 30 years, I suppose...

Thomas: I run them tubed (I am just not a tubeless guy). I haven't ridden off-road with them, yet, but my friend Dan swears by them on the dirt. I like them on the road, and I am eager to try them on gravel.

At 2:41 PM , Blogger Tex69 said...

#1 I could read "my bikes" entries all the time.
#2 love the Century idea. Maybe I'll follow your lead.

At 10:12 PM , Blogger nordic_68 said...

Congrats on choosing cycling for fun over dogma. It's gotta be fun.

I have a handful of bikes. My wife has more, including an italian lugged steel frame waiting for a 650b conversion.

Thanks for the implied link to CO dirt road randos. I was hoping to find something like that...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home