Your partner's better be better. photo: Eroica Cicli

Rule #12: The Fine Print

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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.

// The Rules

  1. Holy shit, that Basso!

  2. @Barracuda

    Between the 4 of us, Wife, 2 tin lids, we have 9 steeds.

    Me and Mrs Sandy have 3 each (road bike, mtn bike, commuter), and my son has 3 x balance bikes and 3 x pedal bikes, with another pedal bike on the way. To be fair, we keep getting handed down bikes for him to grow into but we’ve realised if we want to get him pedalling we need to invest in a tiny pedal bike to do him the next year.

    Can you believe a bike for a 4 year old is nearly as heavy as my #1?

  3. Hi. My kids have very heavy Raleigh bikes (rationalised as cheaper but what I’d have dreamed of as a kid). Then after some serious feedback from my better half, at twice the cost and half the weight they now have ISLA bikes. So much lighter and easier to handle. P.s. I’m sure Raleigh were lighter when we were kids.

    V informative website. Cheers, Rhods

  4. The rock on my better half’s finger cost more Merkels than my #1 and my nine bike put together. Also, her car is worth approx 10 times mine, which, appropriately, is worth less than my #1. I’m sure there’s a mathematical equasion in there somewhere!

  5. @brett

    Holy shit, that Basso!

    Save for the color of the handlebar tape, that looks identical to my friend’s Basso that I coveted so much.

  6. @DavyMoore

    The rock on my better half’s finger cost more Merkels than my #1 and my nine bike put together. Also, her car is worth approx 10 times mine, which, appropriately, is worth less than my #1. I’m sure there’s a mathematical equasion in there somewhere!

    What I believe would be called a balanced equation.

  7. @wilburrox

    Such is the nature of an equation! Although balance does not equate fairness. I still get the “we have a child to feed” talk if I come within 100m of the LBS.

  8. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Frank Vandenbroucke would be racing with Team Cannondale for the 2016 season if it weren’t for that Sarah Pinacci poisoning him.

    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.

    Has it occured to you that this may have already started..?

  9. @frank

    @Gianni

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Yeah, this is smart stuff–the kind of smart that only makes immediate sense to you after you’ve failed repeatedly to understand and implement it, to your cost. And by “you” and “your,” I mean “me” and “my.”

    My newish #1 is nicer than her road bike. But her new graveur is much nicer than my graveur.

    Well played. You can’t go wrong putting her on a beautiful bike like that. If you are contending with multiple bike categories, you do have to pick your battles.

    We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the VMH’s Veloforma CCX, custom-painted, of course. This puts her at two CX bikes to my one. Daddy needs a track bike, or a pit bike.

    Track bike…there is no other option…just sayin…

  10. Slow poison? Maybe I should worry about that. My wife occasionally refers to my bike as my mistress. Experience has taught me to let the comment go.

  11. @Teocalli

    @Uncle V

    I have a shit car ,the wife a Beemer SUV with a V8 which practically drives itself. So I am able to make up for it in bikes . Have mentioned occasionally on this site my 40th Anniversary Marinoni . Sometimes I think I look at it more than I ride it . Built up with manic attention to detail it blossomed into one of finest looking bikes that I have ever seen . Problem is I can sure build up a frame but when it comes to computers am in the first grade . Hope to post a photo of it someday when some kind person shows me how.

    Step 1 Login

    Step 2 Select Camera Icon which you will then find top of the posting section above the text format options

    Step 3 select photo

    Step 4 Post

    Just gotta find my camera now . Think one of my 3 Chihuahua,s located it and quite possibly chewed it up then hid it somewhere . Started out with one of these little hellions and ended up with 3 Seems I am not only compliant with Rule #12 regarding bikes but also with creatures of the 4 legged variety .

  12. @rhods

    Hi. My kids have very heavy Raleigh bikes (rationalised as cheaper but what I’d have dreamed of as a kid). Then after some serious feedback from my better half, at twice the cost and half the weight they now have ISLA bikes. So much lighter and easier to handle. P.s. I’m sure Raleigh were lighter when we were kids.

    V informative website. Cheers, Rhods

    Thinking of going for a halfway house between the Raleigh and the Isla, in either a Ridgeback or a Saracen – not as light as an Isla but lots lighter than the cheaper bikes. I’m pretty sure I’ve spent longer deciding on my son’s bike than I did choosing mine.

  13. Love the Basso, beautiful.

    My wife doesn’t ride, so I have to buy a large, heavy and usually expensive piece of furniture to compensate for any n+1 related purchases. Quite often I don’t even like the piece of furniture, but don’t really care if I can manage to improve my bike purchase positioning..

  14. Thankfully, my VMH and I are very similarly sized. She has an old Takara to ride around town on, but I gifted her my De Bernardi that I wasn’t riding enough. Going from DT shifters to 105 5700 10-s shifters was a revelation. It’s not nicer than my road bikes, but it is a nice road bike and she’s happy. Plus, the only thing I need to do is swap the saddle and I can ride it! I’ve tried to get her a cross bike, but she doesn’t love the “thrill” of possible washouts.

    Yes, that lead Basso is a stunner!

  15. @Haldy

    @frank

    @Chipomarc

    Frank Vandenbroucke would be racing with Team Cannondale for the 2016 season if it weren’t for that Sarah Pinacci poisoning him.

    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.

    Has it occured to you that this may have already started..?

    It has, actually. Although she’s have gotten it wrong…

  16. @brett

    Yeah nice. Shame about the front wheel though. Spoke pattern is wrong.

  17. @TommyTubolare

    @brett

    Yeah nice. Shame about the front wheel though. Spoke pattern is wrong.

    Ouch, sharp eye! I only got as far as the lack of gum walls and the brake lavers being mounted too low. But that wheel is fucked, isn’t it?

  18. @frank

    The first thing that goes is the grammar …

  19. @TommyTubolare

    @brett

    Yeah nice. Shame about the front wheel though. Spoke pattern is wrong.

    3 cross 32h. How is that wrong?

  20. @mouse

    The valve should be between almost parallel spokes, i.e., two spokes forward or back from where it is.

  21. @pistard

    Ah. Clearly not a pedant am I.

  22. @Uncle V

    Plus 1 to that. Especially if the partner is not a cyclist, it’s safe to follow the guidance that the bike on top of your car should be worth more than the car; however, the bike plus the car should be worth less than the partner’s car. That should keep you on the safe side of s.

  23. @mouse

    Pedant? No, nothing to do with it. The first key spoke is wrong and 31 follows.

  24. @frank snap! Brilliant lady you’ve got there. Sinister doesn’t begin to describe it

  25. @Chipomarc

    Hopefully humour was intended there. Hopefully.

  26. @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

  27. @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.

  28. 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!!!!

  29. @TommyTubolare

    Fair enough.

    Clearly there’s a reason I don’t build my own wheels.

  30. 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?

  31. 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!

  32. @girl

    @Chipomarc

    Hopefully humour was intended there. Hopefully.

    If not, then the little mystery of his singleness is its own justice.

  33. 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, …

  34. @frank

    @girl

    @Chipomarc

    Hopefully humour was intended there. Hopefully.

    If not, then the little mystery of his singleness is its own justice.

    I laughed a lot at his joke. I hope it was a joke.

  35. 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.

  36. @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.

  37. @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?

  38. @Gianni

    @azryder

    Year round driving by the look of that quiver

  39. @Barracuda

    Yep! with spare rims on top of the cupboard.

    Arr, where’s the bikes?

  40. 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).

  41. @Barracuda

    @Gianni

    @azryder

    Year round driving by the look of that quiver

    Rule #25 could be a challenge……

  42. @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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. Is it still Rule #25 if you can put your bikes inside vehicle?

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/141823774377

  46. @sthilzy

    well now that Richie has left for BMC they had to get some cash back on his campervan.

  47. @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.

  48. @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.

  49. @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.

  50. @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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