On Rule #12: The Bike #1 Paradox

[rule number=12/]

The only parents who proclaim to have a favorite child are the ones who have only one; all the other ones pretend they don’t have a favorite because they are each “different and special in their own way”. It’s complete bollocks, that, and we all know every parent does in fact have a favorite, but we like the lie more than we like the truth, so we all play along.

Rule #12 poses a similar conundrum, one in which we tell ourselves the same lie: we love all our bikes equally. Which we don’t, of course; we all have a favorite. A friend recently asked me how one goes about the business of judging which bike is your favorite and even as I told the usual lie, I was performing the calculus as to which actually is my favorite.

Sentimentally, I’d have to say my favorite is my first love, my Bianchi EV2 which currently hangs in disrepair in the back corner of the basement, waiting to be restored to period-correct glory. Either that or my steel Bianchi TSX with simplex downtube shifters and sexy silver Campa hubs and bits. Or my Cervelo R3 which was my first carbon steed and who loyally carried me over two Cobbled Classics Keepers Tours and currently faithfully serves as my Nine Bike. Or my Veloforma CCX which was my first custom-painted bike, gloriously flying the colors of the Velominati with a V-Lion headtube badge. Or my Veloforma Strada iR which is my go-to featherweight road steed on summer rides. Apparently I’m sentimental about any bike I’ve ever suffered on, so measure turns out not to be a helpful one.

From a utility standpoint, one might suggest the #1 would be the one you ride most often, but no bike should go unridden, and we should endeavor to ride them equally. That has that one sorted as a useless measure as well. The next obvious measure would be the one we take out on special rides, irrespective of the weather or road conditions. Or perhaps it is simply the one we spent the most money on, the one that helps us observe Rule #25, but cost seems like a silly reason to prefer one bike over another.

My Bike #1 is the one that makes me feel most free, that returns me most dearly to the reasons why I started riding a bike in the first place: my Graveur. It carries me through the backcountry forest roads in Washington State, on rides that almost always start and end accompanied by my other loyal steed, our pitbull-greyhound mutt. You can’t feel more free on a bike than that.

I’ll say it again: the road is where my heart lies, but the gravel is where I find my soul. VLVV.

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64 Replies to “On Rule #12: The Bike #1 Paradox”

  1. @Marko


    Guess I m glad the cycling season and year 2015 is over then.
    But the real question remains: What is worse: EPMS or jersey-sag. My view: EPMS is worse as there is a clear Rule again that. Jersey-sag is only one of the by-rules that only @Frank is familiar with.

    I’ll take an EPMS over jersey sag on the adventure bike any day. For a couple reasons; I’ve lost things out of my jersey pockets while hike-a-bikeing and shouldering and it’s just uncomfortable on rough terrain bouncing around and sometimes even leaving scrapes and bruises on my lower back. Plus, there’s a tendency to fall more and falling on a loaded jersey sucks. It’s all about necessity. I’ve tried both. My first inclination as a Keeper was to ride without but I learned after a couple rides that it just wasn’t practical.

    Wouldn’t you be better with a small rucksack?

    If you’d have just taken the EPMS off for the picture you’d have avoided all this.

  2. @frank

    Am no english major ,although my father was . Guess I,ll need to try harder to meet up with your exceedingly high standards as you have commented before with a nose in the air manner .Looks like we will just have to duke it out on the bikes someday smarty pants . Twenty paces and fire .

  3. @Marko

    I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ll see your Graveur and raise you an adventure bike. Once I bought my fatbike last winter a little lightbulb went off. Super fun and had me riding in the dead of winter over lakes and trails that were formerly inaccessible on two wheels. But the white hot light of a thousand suns shown down on me when I put 29+ carbon hoops, 3″ tires, and drop bars on the thing. A whole new world opened up. Load it with packs and go to the mountains, get lost in the 100 mile swamp, roll fast on gravel, single-track – why not. This bike has been my go-to this summer. So bloody fun. And although I’d never tell my C40 – ssshhhhh – I think it’s number 1.

    You’re basically riding this, but with drop bars.

  4. @Uncle V


    Am no english major ,although my father was . Guess I,ll need to try harder to meet up with your exceedingly high standards as you have commented before with a nose in the air manner .Looks like we will just have to duke it out on the bikes someday smarty pants . Twenty paces and fire .

    Well played!

  5. My travel rig.Ritchey Breakaway.The whole thing breaks brown and fits in its own airline case.(with all bags etc).Had it since last November and we’ve already done 3000 kms together in Thailand and Europe.Not my #1, but I love it…

  6. for me its the bike you own that cannot be replaced. despite newer and sexier carerra road and look cx bikes, my old specialised epic carbon with 9sp dura ace is irreplaceable and it was particularly disappointing that a lever got damaged when brought of in a social ride on the way home from a race

  7. Frank, first of all, never slide your saddle as far back as you can just so you can put a bunch of junk under it—it isn’t like folding down the back seat of your car to fit your bike in. Jerseys have pockets–use them. Secondly, taking your dog along on a bike ride is wrong in so many ways. Firstly, it isn’t safe for other riders to have your down galloping down the trail. Secondly, why would you need to take your dog along? you already have mans best friend with you–your bike! Thirdly, it just looks dumb–like wearing a baseball hat on a road ride. When I see a guy on a ride with his dog or kid I always bet myself he is the kind of guy who has to ask his wife if it is ok for him to go for a ride. Gross–divorce her. Lastly, some orange in your socks would have tied that look together–just sayin…

  8. While on the topic of adventure bikes…my LBS got one of these in the other day…


  9. @kixsand

    or this…

    I’ve started compiling a very long shortlist (longlist?) of something a bit special for my 40th next year and this is on it, though not sure I’d use it for all of its intended purposes.

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