It doesn’t seem like too long ago when I only needed one bike. My rides were to and from school, or friends’ homes. My bike riding season was spring until fall, when I’d put the bike away over the winter. I’d ride only on roads, sidewalks (gasp!) and paved trails. This was on a road bike I bought in Toronto for $300. A stainless steel, charcoal black Bianchi, it was the first bike I bought myself (I was 17), and I still have it in my basement.
In the early 1990s, I got a second bike – a mountain bike (N=2). My bro Jeff was upgrading his mountain bike so I bought his old one, a grey GT. Rim brakes and no suspension. Mountain biking was in its infancy, so there were no trails other than existing hiking trails. With two bikes, I had everything I thought I’d ever need. In fact, once I got into mountain biking, my road bike sat in my basement and didn’t see the light of day for many years as I took to the trails.
A couple of years later (it was 1992), I bought a new mountain bike – an Iron Horse (again, rim brakes, no suspension, toe straps on the pedals) and began exploring more trails with my brothers. We rode around Dundas Valley and Cootes in Hamilton and even explored some of the early trails around the Waterloo Landfill (which later became known as “The Hydrocut”).
In 2002, I sold the Iron Horse (I can’t remember what happened to that GT) and bought a full suspension Kona Mokomoko. This bike was a dream and this is when I started entering events, like Paris-to-Ancaster and 24 and 8 hour mountain bike relays at Albion Hills, Mansfield and Hardwood Hills.
The following year, 2003, I bought a new/used road bike, with the intent of getting back into road riding so I could build fitness for mountain biking. I joined the Waterloo Cycling Club and learned how to ride in groups… N=3
I upgraded my dual suspension bike in 2007 on a factory warranty from Kona (frame issues). And a few years after that, I bought a used hardtail mountain bike frame (Devinci) and built it up with used parts (N=4). This became my commute/camping/family ride/neighbourhood bike. As I gained interest in exploring gravel roads, this bike morphed from a mountain bike to a gravel grinder bike.
Also at this time, my interest in road riding was increasing and I got the opportunity to buy a used carbon road bike. It’s an amazingly light race machine (and I’m not even a road racer) that just wants to go fast (N=5).
But back to the gravel riding. I loved gravel grinding so much that I bought a cyclocross bike a few years ago from a fellow WCC member (N=6). And a year or two later (2015), I gave into the peer pressure and bought a fat bike (a Surly Pugsley, N=7). It was a heavy, steel bike that was fun to ride, but I knew I’d have to upgrade it if I wanted to ride it a lot in the winter (and spring and summer and fall).
Last fall, I sold the Pug, along with my cyclocross in order to fund a new (used) fat bike N = 7-2+1 = 6). And this spring I’ve got my N back up to 7 with a brand new gravel bike. In fact, this new bike is my first brand new bike since the Kona way back in 2002. So… one brand new bike every 15 years isn’t bad… is it? I can say this: I don’t need any more bikes, and I won’t be buying any more… until next time!