N minus 1

The things you own end up owning you.
Tyler Durden, Fight Club

I recently sold one of my bicycles, thereby breaking rule #12.  In fact, if all goes well, I’ll commit further heresy and sell one more (bringing me down to N-2).  Contrary to the aforementioned rule (and general internet wisdom), one can actually have too many bicycles.

Why the thinning of the herd?  Mindset adjustment and overlap.  In my effort to “ride everything,” my full-suspension MTB had gathered dust for several months.  The majority of the trails that I ride can be navigated on a lesser bike (albeit a little more carefully), and mixed-surface rides are a hell of a lot more enjoyable on a lighter rig.  The real “ah ha” moment, however, came when I found that I could ride most of my local trails as fast–if not faster–on skinny tires and drop bars.  Adding the rSogn to the stable, I also found myself questioning the need for two 700C-wheeled bikes.  Did I really need a 700C “fun bike” and a 700C dedicated commuter?  With the addition of an easily-removed Carradice saddlebag, my Salsa Vaya could pull double-duty as commuter and rough-stuff explorer.

Bicycles are simple and versatile machines.  I don’t want to be the guy whose bike collection becomes so hyper-specialized that I can’t take a detour because I don’t have the “right” bike at that particular moment (“Oh damn, I should have brought the west-to-east bike…”).  Let’s face it, the right bike is the one that you’re actually riding, and not the mythical perfect one that you’re thinking about riding.  It’s OK to dream about fancy new gear, but dreaming ain’t doing, and doing always trumps having.

By the way, I also broke rules 18, 24, 29, 30, and 34.


3 thoughts on “N minus 1

  1. Hey man, I’m digging your site. I appreciate your passion for all things gravel. And although you may be at n minus 1 it’s only a matter of time before the scales tip the other way again. Cheers. I’m off to read some more of your site.

  2. Thinning the heard is fine. It makes room for future expansion. I do think you are misusing the terminology about N, however. You aren’t “at” N-1, you “did” N-1. And doing N-1 twice doesn’t put you at N-2, it puts you at N. If you sold two bikes at once, you would be doing N-2 and as a result you would be at N. You are always at N, the number of bikes you have at the time. But of course, the number of bikes you should have is N+1. You always need one more bike.

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