It is so deeply entangled at this point, I can no longer tell the threads from one another. The strands once ran cleanly from one bicycle to the next, linking a discrete sequence of events, considerations, wants, and desires. But then, 15 years ago, a strong force entered my life and I was forced to find alternate means of justifying the acquisition of new machines and kit.
Finding a partner to spend your life with is an incredible experience; to discover the half of you that was missing and feel it join to its mate to become whole is something that defies description. But it doesn’t make buying another bike any easier. If your partner isn’t a Cyclist, there will be endless debating over ancillary details like explaining why already having a bike doesn’t preclude needing the machine in question, or why the existing stable can’t fulfill the purposes of the proposed new steed. Then – should the case have been made and the principle of the purchase agreed to – there will come the maddening discussions of budget and the prioritization of food or clothing over the bike. Suffice to say, being in a relationship with your life’s partner is worth it, but only just.
Partnering with a Cyclist is messier still. While food and clothing are quickly rank ordered at the bottom of the priority stack, there is the introduction of quantities of bicycles on the already-stretched budget. As the VMH happily supports and participates enthusiastically in the selection of wheels and kit, the knowledge will be creeping in that this acquisition only emboldens her for her own Rule #12 endeavors;
n + 1 slips to
n + 2.
It happened smoothly, without me noticing. Happy to have justified and gained budget approval for my original Bianchi EV2, I scoured the farthest reaches of the primordial Interwebs to stretch my budget to the maximum. I emerged from the other side with a full Dura-Ace 9-speed equipped racing machine, at which point I had no alternative but to accept that her steel Bianchi needed more than fresh bar tape in order to stand up against my lovely new steed.
She approved her own budget (I hold a seat on the finance committee but do not have a controlling vote) and emerged from a much shorter process with a Camapa Record 10spd equipped EV4. That’s two EV’s more than mine. Her superior machine meant that I had room to make upgrades while flying unnoticed under the radar; lighter wheels, better pedals, saddles, and stems flowed on and off my prized EV2 for several years until finally she had to admit I was due for a more substantial upgrade.
I have found, through this process, that the secret to a happy partnership is to keep the VMH in a slightly better bike than mine at all times. My upgrades stay one step behind, which gives me room to fiddle with my kit while her machines jump in leaps and bounds. Should I find myself unable to justify my own new upgrades, I approach the Committee with the suggestion that she requires an upgrade – a proposal which is approved without exception or opposition. She always lays claim to the best and lightest machines and I get to build and kit out twice as many nice bikes.
I know I’m not the only one taking this approach; Gianni’s VMH got a full Carbone climbing rig and months later he was throwing a leg over his own new steed. My mom recently acquired a 6.5 kilo Redline gravel machine which I’m sure will precede my dad’s next bike. Keeper Jim kitted his wife Jess out with a beautiful Carbone rig only to Twitter his way into his own a short time later. All the more reason to marry a Cyclist.
Oh, the web we weave. And if any of you even mentions the word “tandem”, I’m banning you for a week.