Rule #12: The Fine Print

Rule #12. Someone was working overtime to come up with this beauty. One should always be dreaming about the next bike unless the next bike means divorce, restraining orders and/or living in a van down by the river. Velominati need and enjoy having some limits set as were are prone to excess in all things.

S-1. I learned an important lesson the first time I was brought down to Frank’s basement bicycle stable. There, at least four badass bikes were hanging on the wall and he was quick to point out that two of them were his partners. And her #1 was better than his #1; you have to make sure she has a better bike than you.

That was all that needed to be said. The deep wisdom of it was obvious and obviously passed down through the ages. Unless you are a professional (you are not), you are paying for your bikes (you are) and if your finances are shared with a partner, pay attention. The best way of not getting to s-1 is to make sure your partner’s #1 is nicer than yours. All upgrades to your own bike barely merit discussion as long as said upgrades don’t improve it past you know what.

So your partner is not a cyclist? That does complicate things. Whatever they love the most, upgrade it beyond reason. She loves to read and her book group is her favorite thing? Make believe you actually want to join it (?!), to scare her, then don’t. That is like an upgrade, in that you are not ruining the thing she most enjoys.

I’ve been trying this for a long time. I tried unsuccessfully to gift my fiancée a new racing bike instead of an engagement ring. While that bombed badly, I did learn. After I finally bought out the clone, my wife ended up with the LBS owner’s Merlin and you best believe shop owners tend to have the best bike in the shop. Before I finally upgraded to a carbon bike I made sure my wife was already upgraded to something better. And just yesterday, as she was putting her front carbon tubular wheel (yes, slightly lighter than mine) in the back of the truck, I saw her kiss it. Yes, brothers and sisters, these things do pay off.

If you want n+1, start planning for partner’s n+1. It’s going to cost, but it is going to be fun, and it’s better than s-1.

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74 Replies to “Rule #12: The Fine Print”

  1. @davidlhill

    @Gianni

    Pedant alert!

    Sure you meant to end with “…it’s better than s bikes.” as if you have s-1 bikes you are still safe and coupled up?

    I believe, though won’t be testing for at least 24 months, that at present I am at s-3 as I could justify adding a track bike (once licenced for the london velodrome) and a mountain bike.

    David

    I’m confused. Did I mistype the end because I did mean to write “better than s-1”? Meaning keep it under control before your partner says sod off. Or did Frank edit my post? More likely I screwed it up. It shall be fixed. Thanks for the pendant alert.

  2. I just purchased a new BMC CX01 for racing, this is my “B” bike. This is the S-1 bike, so for now it’s hiding out in the garage. She found the box for my other CX bike, then tore the house apart looking for the invoice. Once found she texted me ( I was racing during this) asking if I got a new bike. Then played me asking what it cost. Of course I said less then 1/2 of what it really cost.

    She has a nice car, a nice house, and almost anything she wants, including 100+ shoes. I just want N+1 bikes!!!!

  3. So my VMH decides we need new bikes. Same BMC SLR01 but hers has 404s and I get her old Reynolds Assaults, still nice though.

    Then she says we should sell our old BMCs, which I do, but she has failed to do.

    Then we sell my car.

    What’s going on?

  4. My VMH has now started riding more seriously now and has recently taken possesion of a Liv Avail so at the moment I’m still ahead by 3( including the still in progress steel single speed) and of course the Helium SL is worth quite a bit more too

    .However I did notice her saying “that’s nice” while looking at a Specalized Amira (like Lizzies’)and also at a liv Avail advanced;it’s only time I suppose until there’s a shiny female sized carbon bike in the houshold,

    Oh and hers gets to be in the house too and I get to clean it!

  5. Last time I mentioned to get a CX bike my wife negotiated an extra room for her artwork once we buy a place. This better be a decent CX bike, …

  6. the VMH doesn’t ride but has a room full of exercise equipment, while my n+1 is at a “reasonable” level, my vehicle collection is approaching N+1. But I think she sees right thru me telling her that her vehicle is better than mine.

  7. @Gianni … deep wisdom indeed. If your VMH isn’t a cyclist, discover what her “n” is and then do everything you can to make “n+1” a reality for her.

    This summer my VMH says, “I was thinking…instead of throwing a big party for our 25th anniversary coming up in September, why don’t we each just buy what we really want for ourselves.”

    Hmm…

    Turns out she really, really wanted a painting by a local artist and knew that the total cost of this idea would include the value of a new bike for me. Little did she know that I slipped in an extra $1300 from my stash for an upgraded bike. Little did I know that the room that would host the painting was in need of redecorating in order to properly receive this work of art.

    As discussed in the posts above: a “balanced” equation. Everybody happy.

  8. @azryder

    the VMH doesn’t ride but has a room full of exercise equipment, while my n+1 is at a “reasonable” level, my vehicle collection is approaching N+1. But I think she sees right thru me telling her that her vehicle is better than mine.

    I hope her car is the Rover. I see cactus outside. Year round riding? Or too f’ing hot in summer?

  9. Myself, my VMH and my junior pedalwan now own eight bikes between us including a tandem that’s undergoing a full restoration for Eroica Brittania next year. This doesn’t sound too excessive until you realise that the VMH rides just one bike, the Pedalwan two (if you include the tandem).

  10. @azryder

    Being UK based where cars were somewhat smaller historically speaking and garages equivalently sized – also suffering serious garage envy compared to the one attached to our ’60s postage stamp.

  11. Yep, year round riding and driving. Never “too hot”!   Yep, hers is the Rover. And, I am lucky to have a N+1 room, to kinda hide the 5 rides. I spend as much time in the garage as anywhere else in the house. When not on the road, watching the pavement slide by. 2-3 hrs on either of the key steeds, will set your attitude just right.

  12. I plead the 5th on Rule 25 application for that pic. And I use the 13 yr old daily driver for bike transport duty. Which qualifies for Rule 25, as the prime ride is probably worth more. The DD has 218K miles on it.

  13. @azryder

    the VMH doesn’t ride but has a room full of exercise equipment, while my n+1 is at a “reasonable” level, my vehicle collection is approaching N+1. But I think she sees right thru me telling her that her vehicle is better than mine.

    I hate you.

  14. @frank

    To everyone… my better half was rather nervous on her new road bike. I changed to Conti 4000 28 mm. She came home a changed and very happy woman. So, something to consider if your partner wants a plush ride with a bit more traction. Obviously, the tires need to fit. She now actively rides on her own.

    My heart goes out to all the people of France.

  15. @frank

    My VMH has mentioned that if she ever finds me cheating, she’ll start poisoning me, not fatally, but enough to make sure my riding really suffers and that I don’t realize why I keep getting slower.

    Ingeniously sinister.

  16. @Garth

    @frank

    To everyone… my better half was rather nervous on her new road bike. I changed to Conti 4000 28 mm. She came home a changed and very happy woman. So, something to consider if your partner wants a plush ride with a bit more traction. Obviously, the tires need to fit. She now actively rides on her own.

    My heart goes out to all the people of France.

    Funny – I can’t convince mine to leave her 20’s at home; she says 23’s look “fat and slow”…

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