|Got sprinkled on Wednesday night riding the "new" bike home. That's OK--the mountain bike is going to be, among other things, my "it could rain" bicycle ...|
Biking is like that, to me. It’s not just going from one place to another, it’s going there for different reasons under different conditions. So I do not feel too guilty that I own and ride more than one bicycle.
|Front and back wheels wobbly, dusty and dirty--the Fancy Beast was reborn this week. I'll have to tighten the seat, but that's not a big deal.|
|Me and my three bikes. Fancy Beast for unpaved trails and winter riding, Argent for RAGBRAI and weekend fun, Clarence for commuting and transporting grandchildren. Of course, I need them all. And maybe one more ...|
Meanwhile, the hybrid bike wore out—and was replaced by a newer, and much nicer, hybrid.
The road bike is the summer, fast, fun, RAGBRAI bicycle. The hybrid has the back rack and bags for commuting, and the attachments for the toddler seat and Tag-a-long, so it’s the grandchild bus, too.
And this week, I got bicycle number three. It’s not a new bike at all, in fact it’s close to a decade old.
I’ve ridden it before and written about it in the past—calling it the “Fancy Beast” because I had a heavier mountain bicycle that I called “The Beast.”
The Beast is probably headed to “the farm” (that mythical place we tell our kids that animals go when they check out) soon, as it no longer make sense to keep it in running condition. But the black Raleigh mountain bike—The Fancy Beast—is another story. It was obtained originally as the Microsoft bicycle—my oldest son did an internship at the tech company, and they offered interns either a free bus pass or a bicycle, and he chose the bike.
The bike was passed on to a son-in-law who used it to commute in Ames for a while, before it came to me when the son-in-law moved to England.
But about a year ago, the back wheel got severely out of true. It seemed like it had a broken spoke, but I could never find it. And so it gathered dust in the garage. But despite it's age, it doesn't have tons of miles and seemed too good of a bike to toss aside, so I held on to it.
Until I broke a spoke on my commuting bicycle last week, which I took to Uptown Cranky Bike Shop in Marion for repair this week. I suggested to my wife that we could also take the black Raleigh in. She agreed, because occasionally we are short on loaner bicycles when we have visitors.
|Thursday night. Happy to have Clarence back, too! Four grandchildren got rides.|
When I rolled the bikes into the shop late Tuesday, the owner of the bike shop said the broken spoke would be repaired quickly and I could pick up that bike Wednesday morning. He wasn’t sure about the black bike, since he didn’t know what it needed.
Well, I called Wednesday morning. “Your Fuji (the commuting bike) is done, and the black Raleigh should be ready in about five minutes,” Mr. Cranky said.
I was a bit taken aback—I’m not used to such quick service. My wife and I drove to the bike shop.
“Your front wheel was also out of true, so I showed my daughter how to true a wheel,” the bike man said. “And everything was a bit sticky, so we lubricated all the cables, trued the back and front wheels and adjusted the brakes.”
And his son rang up the purchase. The bill was around $15. I was stunned. I expected fixing a spoke on the one bike alone would cost more than that in labor—let alone repairing both bicycles. I paid my bill in a bit of a haze.
I was going to ride a bike to campus after that, and I decided as a test to use the “new” mountain bike. It rides just fine, for a mountain bike, although I’ll have to tighten the seat, which slips slowly down as I ride.
But for $15, I’ll take it.
So now I have bike three—my "new" Sac and Fox trail bicycle, which is also now my winter beater bike. It’s comparatively slow and noisy—it’s not a fat tire bike, but has fatter tires than the hybrid or road bikes, and it makes a lot of tire noise on the road. It partly compensates for the lack of speed and noise by being incredibly comfortable—it’s the only bike I ride that has shock absorbers, and I did enjoy rolling over bumps in the pavement without feeling them in my rear.
So, welcome The Fancy Beast to my now trio of bikes. I don’t think you’ll get a bunch of miles—now that school is here, most of my riding will be on Clarence, the hybrid bike. But my wife and I plan to check out the Grant Wood Trail soon, and since it’s not paved, a mountain bike will come in handy.
Well, it would. What biker doesn’t need at least three bicycles? Or, as my oldest son once observed: How many bikes does a bicycle rider think they need? It’s always N plus one.
For now, however, I’m happy with three. And here, for your entertainment, are a few of the outtakes as I tried to use a camera timer to take the three-bike portrait: