On Rule #12: The Luxury of Passion

Rule #12 is a luxury of passion; the #1 for good weather and epic rides or races, the Nine Bike for bad weather, the Graveur (which is neither a cross bike nor a road bike), a ‘Cross bike, a mountain bike, a townie, a track bike, a time trial bike. Add in steel, carbon, titanium – a bike for each material and a material for each bike. The only logical conclusion is that we all need – need – a bare minimum of somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 bikes. Columbo couldn’t poke a hole in that case.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for just riding your bike wherever you happen to point it, in whatever weather you happen to be riding in, on whatever kind of road you happen to have at your disposal.

We should collect as many bikes as we can love, but we should also remember that bikes were meant to be ridden, not pampered. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

Related Posts

84 Replies to “On Rule #12: The Luxury of Passion”

  1. My first post, First I thank thee for providing a special place for cyclists to post. Yes I must agree Frank, there is nothing like a healthy obsession. Why are our brake cables on the wrong side in oz?

  2. On my recent 30 day meditation course I was able to map out a 5 year plan for filling my bike cave with 7 bikes:

    1) Nairo – carbon frame epic day out,

    2) Fausto – current modern steel frame racer

    3) Serse – aluminum fast commuter / winter trainer / 9 bike (Serse is Fausto’s gregario brother)

    4) Burro – steel utility / non-training commuter / light tourer

    5) Roger – classic steel (but newly made) frame for recovery / fine weather commuting and cruising

    6) Corriere – single / fixed speed for popping up to the shops etc…

    7) Greg – my Dad’s classic 1980 carbon Graftek with Super Record which I will inherit some day

    I can see the Velo-cave these steeds will be stabled in and the sequence of acquisition, financing, gruppo/components cascading from one frame to another.

    To be honest this was an obsessive, craving laced distraction from the actual meditation work I was meant to be doing. Let’s not kid ourselves – Rule #12 is a form of suffering.

    But hey, thinking about bikes is healthier than other subjects, and I could easily spend the money on 1 car that would not last half as long as the bikes nor provide near as much joy.

    Oh yeah then there is 8) Space Cowboy – Moots Vamotts with electronic group-san and hydraulic disc brakes. The suffering is endless!

  3. @rfreese888

    Let me get this straight. You spent a month pretending to meditate on the noble truths (i.e. desire is suffering) while actually plotting how you would suffer to fulfil said desires? Sounds legit, but you wasted money on the course that could have been spent on bikes.

  4. Already/only(?) have 4 bikes (new #1 to arrive next week, the 33yrs old steel #1 becoming the Nine Bike, a mountainbike, old steel Raleigh townie), plus I also bought a Koga for the VMW->VMH, so have reached my S-1 for now. Still need to decide which bike will get the inside-trainer-tube… Life’s full of difficult questions.

  5. @pistard

    Yes in my ‘weaker’ moments I was rolling in desire for bikes instead if observing the truth of suffering – but after a number of obsessive N+1 hours I could see quite clearly, ‘This is Dukkha’ – so I now have some level of  equanimity with Rule #12.

    Also it was cheaper for me to sit than daily life ‘on the outside’ so in good shape for N+1 transactions :-)

  6. @Oli

    What is the story with these bikes named Benson? Someone had posted a snapshot of their orange Benson on the bike thread the other day. I’ve not heard of Benson and a google search across the inter webs doesn’t give me any clue. Dang, red is a great color for a bike. If I didn’t like black so much I’d have a garage full of red bikes. Black with a little red? maybe perfect. Cheers

  7. @Oli

    I have a dozen bikes I could ride at any given time, but I seem to mainly ride one.

    I can understand why, that is a stunning bike in a most understated way.

    I’m currently at n = 3 but that a slightly simplistic way to look at it as 3 = r + m + b where r is road, m is mountain and b is bmx.

    I’ve had the mountainbike on ebay a couple of times recently but suspect that it was too close to Christmas. I’m not in a rush to get rid of it but if I got a decent price for it I’d put the cash towards another road bike. As for the bmx, I should probably put that on ebay as well an look for a cheap second hand cross bike.

    12 might be Frank’s magic number but I suspect that for most of us a realistic maximum would be 3, the #1, a dual purpose cross/graveur and a nine bike. Or the #1, a cross bike and a dual purpose graveur/nine bike. Or combinations thereof.

  8. Tour of Ireland 1986 I think. I love the look on Sean Yates’s face: C’mon Greg, can’t you go any faster, I’m getting pretty bored back here!” Frank Hoste behind him just looks worried.

    Kimmage and Timmis behind Hoste I think.

    Crazy fact of the day: the 1976 Tour of Ireland was won by none other than a certain Pat McQuaid, later purveyor of sterling services to cycling via the UCI.

  9. I’ve got a big heart, so I can love a big stable.

    Right now I’m set on bikes, I just want to perfect a few to my liking. Would like a new wheelset for my Casati but I’m having trouble setting on rims. Right now it has mismatched Open Pros, one black, one white, with black Record hubs (not my doing, was purchased used). I’d like to use the hubs and go with low profile alloy rims, but not easy to find 32h rims. I’d love to go with the white/silver DT 465s, but they were only made in 28s. It’s a silver frameset with white and silver parts, so I’d like to stay away from black rims.

    Oli, great bike and great photo! I love seeing shots of New Zealand.

  10. @Ron

    Looks like it’s just plain missing. It would have been an early Avocet I think and likely brightly colored. Note the clean cockpit of Yates. He used the mental V meter.

  11. And then you need a sport tourer, a dual sport adventure, a super bike for the track, a cruiser, a cafe racer, a motocross bike…

  12. Was the foam at the top of LeMan’s Oakley’s replaceable? Removable and washable? Seems like it would get pretty malodorous rather quickly with brow sweat and road muck.

    I guess the trick was to motor along fast enough that all scents were heaved up the riders sucking your wheel.

  13. @Ron

    Was the foam at the top of LeMan’s Oakley’s replaceable? Removable and washable? Seems like it would get pretty malodorous rather quickly with brow sweat and road muck.

    I guess the trick was to motor along fast enough that all scents were heaved up the riders sucking your wheel.

    Or have a sponsor.  Hey Mr Oakley, my glasses are dirty.  That’s OK sir, here’s a new pair.

  14. I, for one, agree that one should have a quiver of bikes to use for the adventure at hand. But I have to admit there seems to be a ratio between ones income, number of bikes, and time to ride. When I made very little money I had lots of time to ride, and just one bike (a great one, was the old Merckx). Now, I can afford that selection of bikes for whatever purpose, but the time to ride has been surrendered to the job for the money. I love having a selection of bikes in my garage but sometimes I’d rather have the time I had as a kid to roll the miles on just one good bici.

  15. On the first ride of 2015 I found myself on unfamiliar roads riding the n1 (The Blackbird) when the tarmac turned to aggregate. There was a brief moment of “oh no, I’m on the wrong bike!” but it was only brief.

    5km of beautiful flat gravel and all that mattered was that I was on a bike and I could ride as hard as I wanted.

    So I agree, sometimes… most times, you just have to go for it.

  16. @rfreese888

    @pistard

    Yes in my ‘weaker’ moments I was rolling in desire for bikes instead if observing the truth of suffering – but after a number of obsessive N+1 hours I could see quite clearly, ‘This is Dukkha’ – so I now have some level of  equanimity with Rule #12.

    Also it was cheaper for me to sit than daily life ‘on the outside’ so in good shape for N+1 transactions :-)

    Well played! 

  17. I think they were replaceable. I never had a pair, but knew guys who did. I think they rinsed it out until it got too groaty them used the glasses without it. When you’re a pro, I’m sure Oakley gave you a bag full of replacements.

    It’s hard to tell from images, but I think when Hampsten wore his on the infamous Gavia state in 88, he didn’t have the sweat band thing on. In fact, from a bit of research, I think AH eschewed the sweat bar as from memory, it tended to push the glasses off the face.

  18. @wilburrox

    @Oli

    What is the story with these bikes named Benson? Someone had posted a snapshot of their orange Benson on the bike thread the other day. I’ve not heard of Benson and a google search across the inter webs doesn’t give me any clue. Dang, red is a great color for a bike. If I didn’t like black so much I’d have a garage full of red bikes. Black with a little red? maybe perfect. Cheers

    There aren’t many Bensons about, I’m part of a lucky select few. They are built by the wonderful guru David Benson here in New Zealand. DB has a full time job (working for the local Campagnolo importer) so the frame building is very much a part-time labour of love thing for friends, although he’s been building on and off since the early 90s.

    I was lucky enough to get one thanks to a syndicate of dear, dear friends who got together and commissioned (and paid!) David to build it for me – it’s truly custom in that DB has actually known me for years, he knows my riding preferences and he knows I’m an, er, “powerfully built” gent, so the geometry and tubing choices are super specific (Columbus Pego-Ritchie, for those interested).

    It’s designed to take 28mm tyres, although I’ve run 33mm ones no problem. Even though my life seems to be conspiring to keep me away from them, it’s designed for gravel road riding and day touring, which I’ve been into for as long as I’ve owned bicycles.

  19. Right now I’m at three.

    Back to front:

    1988 Miyata 512 (steel commuter/nine bike)

    1990 Miyata 721a (#1)

    2008 Bianchi Pista (track bike for velodrome training/racing)

  20. @Ron

    Would like a new wheelset for my Casati but I’m having trouble setting on rims. Right now it has mismatched Open Pros, one black, one white, with black Record hubs (not my doing, was purchased used). I’d like to use the hubs and go with low profile alloy rims, but not easy to find 32h rims. I’d love to go with the white/silver DT 465s, but they were only made in 28s. It’s a silver frameset with white and silver parts, so I’d like to stay away from black rims.

    There are a few options for low profile silver rims in 32H. People seem to like the H Plus Son TB14; looks nice but a little portly. Pacenti PL23 are a bit lighter and tubeless compatible. Very square profile. Velo Orange have a few, mostly touring weight, but their PBP is respectably light, high polish with stainless eyelets. Kinlin make a couple which are lighter and cheaper but a bit higher profile. NOS and/or tubular mean even more possibilities.

  21. I have only one roadie, I enjoy 250km a week with her, I have a 26″ hard tail that gets about 4 rides a year, I want a fatbike, I’m sorry.

  22. I hesitate to enumerate in public, so let’s just say I’m halfway to Frank’s logical minimum. It helps to keep several in progress or pieces. “Another bike? No just some spare parts.”)

    The reaction from non-cyclists is predictable, but many ostensible fellow travellers don’t even get it: “Why do you need eight track bikes? They’re all the same.” (One exemplar from every decade I’ve been alive, plus a couple extras.) “Why’s that one got rainbows on it?” Sigh.

    They all get ridden, and hard; some more than others, some only on sunny days. They all get some pampering, but not the Pampers® @the Engine needs.

  23. With the cost of building land in London around £4000 per sq metre, I have to factor that into any bike purchase. Hence, n=3 for me, or 5 as a household, anymore would require a move. I’m just going to have to kill my fellow occupants to make the space. Blood maybe thicker than water, but it looks like bikes beat blood.

  24. @pistard

    : “Why do you need eight track bikes? They’re all the same.”

    Simple response:

    “When you start wearing the same clothes every day, I’ll listen, otherwise fuck off”.

    (Add ‘Mum’, ‘love’, ‘officer’, ‘sir’ as appropriate)

  25. @Ron

    Was the foam at the top of LeMan’s Oakley’s replaceable? Removable and washable? Seems like it would get pretty malodorous rather quickly with brow sweat and road muck.

    I guess the trick was to motor along fast enough that all scents were heaved up the riders sucking your wheel.

    Speaking of needing cleaning

    LeMan indeed.

  26. @The Grande Fondue

    Some people, I’m lead to believe, will pay good beer-chits to have mud slathered all over their face as they think it will enhance their looks. Here we have a fine example of beauty therapy for free.

  27. @markb

    @pistard

    : “Why do you need eight track bikes? They’re all the same.”

    Simple response:

    “When you start wearing the same clothes every day, I’ll listen, otherwise fuck off”.

    (Add ‘Mum’, ‘love’, ‘officer’, ‘sir’ as appropriate)

    Brilliant!

  28. No matter which formula one uses to determine the proper number of steeds (n+1 vs s-1), it should never involve a recumbent. I suspect the purchase of one requires the removal of one’s gonads (sans anesthesia no doubt and performed right there in the shop by someone bearing a striking resemblance to that gimp fellow from Pulp Fiction).

    Two asides: 1. Where does one exactly purchase a recumbent? I’ve never seen a store. But just as I have never seen a pigeon chick or nest, they must exist. 2. LeMan’s position in that photo is just fucking rockstar perfect.
  29. @Chris

    @Oli

    I have a dozen bikes I could ride at any given time, but I seem to mainly ride one.

    I can understand why, that is a stunning bike in a most understated way.

    I’m currently at n = 3 but that a slightly simplistic way to look at it as 3 = r + m + b where r is road, m is mountain and b is bmx.

    I’ve had the mountainbike on ebay a couple of times recently but suspect that it was too close to Christmas. I’m not in a rush to get rid of it but if I got a decent price for it I’d put the cash towards another road bike. As for the bmx, I should probably put that on ebay as well an look for a cheap second hand cross bike.

    12 might be Frank’s magic number but I suspect that for most of us a realistic maximum would be 3, the #1, a dual purpose cross/graveur and a nine bike. Or the #1, a cross bike and a dual purpose graveur/nine bike. Or combinations thereof.

    How was twelve my magic number? Didn’t I say 25? Also, I made that number up because doing math is harder than choosing a random number.

    I do agree that a very sensible number is 3; a good weather/race/event bike (I distinguish between good weather and events because you should ride your good bike irrespective of the weather on non-training rides), a Nine Bike (which if its good enough could double as an every day trainer if you really want to keep the good one for racing/events so you can feel like you’re flying that day) and the CX/Graveur.

    Then a retro steel with dt shifters is fun, and don’t get me started on having a variety of wheels to choose from.

    But one bike is fine, too; you’d just have to clean it more diligently which is its own kind of passion.

  30. @Gregory Higgins

    My first post, First I thank thee for providing a special place for cyclists to post. Yes I must agree Frank, there is nothing like a healthy obsession. Why are our brake cables on the wrong side in oz?

    Well, you’re already on the wrong side of the planet, so what does it matter you also fucked up the brakes?

    @KogaLover

    Already/only(?) have 4 bikes (new #1 to arrive next week, the 33yrs old steel #1 becoming the Nine Bike, a mountainbike, old steel Raleigh townie), plus I also bought a Koga for the VMW->VMH, so have reached my S-1 for now. Still need to decide which bike will get the inside-trainer-tube… Life’s full of difficult questions.

    I use this exercise this technique myself. Highly effective.

  31. @Oli

    I have a dozen bikes I could ride at any given time, but I seem to mainly ride one.

    Beauty. Almost didn’t recognize you without the Bianchi. I trust they are safe and well in the stable?

  32. @Ron

    I’ve got a big heart, so I can love a big stable.

    Right now I’m set on bikes, I just want to perfect a few to my liking. Would like a new wheelset for my Casati but I’m having trouble setting on rims. Right now it has mismatched Open Pros, one black, one white, with black Record hubs (not my doing, was purchased used). I’d like to use the hubs and go with low profile alloy rims, but not easy to find 32h rims. I’d love to go with the white/silver DT 465s, but they were only made in 28s. It’s a silver frameset with white and silver parts, so I’d like to stay away from black rims.

    Oli, great bike and great photo! I love seeing shots of New Zealand.

    On the contrary, I think an anodized rim (tubulars, if you are sufficiently sophisticated) would be a beautiful compliment. Mind you, anodized is not black. They’ll be stronger than silver rims, too.

  33. @Bruce Lee

    I, for one, agree that one should have a quiver of bikes to use for the adventure at hand. But I have to admit there seems to be a ratio between ones income, number of bikes, and time to ride. When I made very little money I had lots of time to ride, and just one bike (a great one, was the old Merckx). Now, I can afford that selection of bikes for whatever purpose, but the time to ride has been surrendered to the job for the money. I love having a selection of bikes in my garage but sometimes I’d rather have the time I had as a kid to roll the miles on just one good bici.

    A-Merckx, brother. A-Merckx.

    @wiscot

    I think they were replaceable. I never had a pair, but knew guys who did. I think they rinsed it out until it got too groaty them used the glasses without it. When you’re a pro, I’m sure Oakley gave you a bag full of replacements.

    It’s hard to tell from images, but I think when Hampsten wore his on the infamous Gavia state in 88, he didn’t have the sweat band thing on. In fact, from a bit of research, I think AH eschewed the sweat bar as from memory, it tended to push the glasses off the face.

    Yeah, they had sticky tape to stick them on. You could rinse them for ages (a season at least) and then when the foam broke down a bit you could stick a new one on. They shipped with spares, if memory serves.

  34. @Oli

    @wilburrox

    @Oli

    What is the story with these bikes named Benson? Someone had posted a snapshot of their orange Benson on the bike thread the other day. I’ve not heard of Benson and a google search across the inter webs doesn’t give me any clue. Dang, red is a great color for a bike. If I didn’t like black so much I’d have a garage full of red bikes. Black with a little red? maybe perfect. Cheers

    There aren’t many Bensons about, I’m part of a lucky select few. They are built by the wonderful guru David Benson here in New Zealand. DB has a full time job (working for the local Campagnolo importer) so the frame building is very much a part-time labour of love thing for friends, although he’s been building on and off since the early 90s.

    I was lucky enough to get one thanks to a syndicate of dear, dear friends who got together and commissioned (and paid!) David to build it for me – it’s truly custom in that DB has actually known me for years, he knows my riding preferences and he knows I’m an, er, “powerfully built” gent, so the geometry and tubing choices are super specific (Columbus Pego-Ritchie, for those interested).

    It’s designed to take 28mm tyres, although I’ve run 33mm ones no problem. Even though my life seems to be conspiring to keep me away from them, it’s designed for gravel road riding and day touring, which I’ve been into for as long as I’ve owned bicycles.

    Wow, what a cool background! The day touring I’ve been doing with the VMH in the Cascades has been so much fun. Taking it easy, taking time to enjoy the views…making a day of it is so much fun. Impressed it will take 30’s.

    The Veloforma, to my surprise, will easily take 28’s as well and I’ve a feeling I could squeeze a 30 in there; I’ve got some 27mm FMB Paris-Roubaix’s stretching in wait for my new wheels from Café Roubaix which I’ll take on Keepers Tour. I have to say I’m a convert on the whole wider tire thing.

  35. @frank

    @Oli

    @wilburrox

    @Oli

    What is the story with these bikes named Benson? Someone had posted a snapshot of their orange Benson on the bike thread the other day. I’ve not heard of Benson and a google search across the inter webs doesn’t give me any clue. Dang, red is a great color for a bike. If I didn’t like black so much I’d have a garage full of red bikes. Black with a little red? maybe perfect. Cheers

    There aren’t many Bensons about, I’m part of a lucky select few. They are built by the wonderful guru David Benson here in New Zealand. DB has a full time job (working for the local Campagnolo importer) so the frame building is very much a part-time labour of love thing for friends, although he’s been building on and off since the early 90s.

    I was lucky enough to get one thanks to a syndicate of dear, dear friends who got together and commissioned (and paid!) David to build it for me – it’s truly custom in that DB has actually known me for years, he knows my riding preferences and he knows I’m an, er, “powerfully built” gent, so the geometry and tubing choices are super specific (Columbus Pego-Ritchie, for those interested).

    It’s designed to take 28mm tyres, although I’ve run 33mm ones no problem. Even though my life seems to be conspiring to keep me away from them, it’s designed for gravel road riding and day touring, which I’ve been into for as long as I’ve owned bicycles.

    Wow, what a cool background! The day touring I’ve been doing with the VMH in the Cascades has been so much fun. Taking it easy, taking time to enjoy the views…making a day of it is so much fun. Impressed it will take 30’s.

    The Veloforma, to my surprise, will easily take 28’s as well and I’ve a feeling I could squeeze a 30 in there; I’ve got some 27mm FMB Paris-Roubaix’s stretching in wait for my new wheels from Café Roubaix which I’ll take on Keepers Tour. I have to say I’m a convert on the whole wider tire thing.

    The V-Bike will take a 32 and mine will be making a guest appearance on the cobbles with whatever the widest tubeless road tyres are. Because I’m driving I’ll take the Ridley for the smoother stuff.

  36. @the Engine

    The V-Bike can take much more than a 32mm tire. Its a fucking CX bike, you git. Can’t wait to smack you upside the head in Lille for not bringing a road bike on Keepers Tour!

  37. @frank

    How was twelve my magic number? Didn’t I say 25? Also, I made that number up because doing math is harder than choosing a random number.

    You may well have said 25, but I said 12 as making things up is easier than actually reading your articles properly.

  38. @the Engine

    @Chris

    @the Engine

    I’m not known as a bike pamperer

    Ivor, we’re not tri-athletes, comfort stops are allowed.

    …and I promise not to shit myself on the KT

    No, but Museeuw will if you turn up to ride with him on fat tyres and cross sized rings.

    @frank is right the KT isn’t about comfort bikes

  39. Well this pampered little princess is actually RIDDEN since she is only one of two… Yes, I’m looking to ADD; perhaps an INFINITO CV lies in my future… MAYBE. But it has to be the right color, of course.This sweet little greenie is known in these parts as The Duchess. No interloper will ever rank higher OR get more attention. .. believe me. She takes me wherever I want to go.. whenever. Rain or shine.

  40. @Lynn Pauly

    Well this pampered little princess is actually RIDDEN since she is only one of two… Yes, I’m looking to ADD; perhaps an INFINITO CV lies in my future… MAYBE. But it has to be the right color, of course.This sweet little greenie is known in these parts as The Duchess. No interloper will ever rank higher OR get more attention. .. believe me. She takes me wherever I want to go.. whenever. Rain or shine.

    Nice, Lynn! As you may be aware, I too love the Celeste.

  41. @Oli

    Well, I wouldn’t say that!! And look how the beauteous water background accentuates!

  42. Sorry, that comment was because the photos didn’t come through when I initially tried to post them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.