I got bikes on my mind

So. We all know I was bitching over the winter about how annoyed I was with riding the Beast because its gears are so low and I have to spend all my time in the highest ring on the crank. And I’ve been needing a bike that I could utilize in the winter months and in less than ideal conditions–roads in various states of disrepair, or, not even roads at all as occasionally I might have the whimsy to ride on a non-paved path. Well, so, I was originally looking for a hybrid that would offer better gearing and was maybe a little lighter than the Beast. When I expressed this to Derrick at CC last Sunday, he started to lead me through the land of fitness bikes–Giant FCR and the Raleigh Cadent. Pretty sweet looking hybrids, these. But as I continued elaborating on my intended use for this new theoretical bike, he paused and said, “I think what you really need is a cycle cross bike.”

At which point he proceeded to show me a Masi Speciale CX that costs as much as my OCR. But I found myself salivating as I looked at the bike–in a warm “root beer” brown–he showed me as an example, pointing out the heavier wheels and other important components for the rougher ride. Like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit. My eyes filled with the stars of blind love. A bike I can take both on the road and on the towpath, while maintaining the kind of gearing I expect when riding, and something I could potentially use for long rides where I needed to pack gear? Hmmmm….

So then I started thinking about cycle cross bikes and how one might fit into my life perfectly as a second bicycle to my OCR, which would still be my main bike for ideal conditions, but the cycle cross bike could be substituted for the less than ideal riding conditions without a loss of power or speed. Such as early spring. Such as TOSRV.

Hmmm. So my mind is racing now, palms sweating. And then yesterday I send a quick email off to Derrick to inquire further about cycle cross bikes and all my options. At the end of it, I learn I could also have a custom Surly Cross Check bike built to my specs for a little more mullah. And he is having a Masi Speciale in something close to my size sent to the Peninsula CC for a test ride on Friday. Mind is racing. Mind is obsessing. Toys, toys, toys.

Recite and repeat: I am not in the market to buy anything right now. I’m just looking. It’s all for education’s sake. Something to ruminate about until fall when I could really use a bike such as the cycle cross. Must sell the Beast. Of course, I won’t get much cash from that to apply to a new bike. Still. First things first, right?

One would ask, “Why look now for something you might buy later?”

Um. Cuz. I. Um. Well, you know. B-b-b-bikes!

I left work with my mind dizzy with possibilities. I could order a bike especially for me with the CC mechanics doing what they do best, working their magic–the magic they use to rebuild their own bikes. Or I could get myself a nice looking Masi, tripped out in fenders and slightly knobby tires and a pannier rack. Oooh… the possibilities. I could already easily see myself riding on either bike. I pictured bouncing over wet, potholed roads in comfort and style. Climbing Snowville Road on my way to work. Riding on the towpath with Diane and Jeff. Winter (when it’s above 40 degrees) riding with ABC. No worries (or as much) about flats and maintaining good speed that I can’t on my hybrid, managing to keep up with my compadres despite the conditions. Hmmm….

I am not in the market for buying anything right now. I’m just looking.

I tried to forget about all this last night. I went out to an Indians game with Diane, Jeff, and Michael. Of course, Diane and Michael both separately teased me on the topic of bike purchasing again, and despite the one beer I drank, my mind did not relax and it was again going wild with thoughts of purchasing another bike. I thought about it all night on the way home. Probably in my sleep. It was the first thought I had this morning once I became coherent.

The little devil on my shoulder is whispering, “You know, if you’re going to get another bike, you should spend the money for something you know you would really enjoy. And a custom bike built to your preferences would be the best of all options.” Those Surlys have some really swanky off-the-wall colors (check out their naming schemes).

The little angel on my right shoulder replies, “But you’re thinking about grad school! You need a digital video camera! I thought you wanted to go skiing in Utah this December with your friend J! You should save money. What if you want a motorcycle?”

Devil says, “Yeah, but nothing makes you more happy in life than the fahrfignugen–the pleasure of the ride–via bicycle. Bicycles are the one thing you purchase that you make good use of.”

True that having a bike custom built for me may cost a little extra money (and not nearly as much as you would think, really). But it would be done totally right. So the urge to just let go and splurge seems justified, in a twisted way. The Masi, though, is pretty nice-looking and probably all that I really need. I’m definitely no expert rider, that’s for sure. I’m not even that great, comparatively, to the hammerheads out there in my club. I’m pretty mediocre, so do I really need a custom built bike?

Well, technically, I don’t even need another bike. The one I have is fine for most purposes. And I could suffer with the slight annoyances of the Beast’s watered down performance. I mean, come on, I don’t even ride that much in the winter. I do ride a lot in the spring, though.

Masi. Surly. Masi, Surly. MasiSurlyMasiSurlyMasiSurlyMasiSurlymasisurlymasisurlymasisurly….

The sad truth of this situation is that when I start obsessing like this, it usually indicates that I am in the market for buying. I never torture myself so otherwise. But I know I need to control the urge to spend and focus my obsessions elsewhere. Like on my job. Which pays for these obsessive pleasures I’m compulsively drawn to. At least it’s a healthy hobby. I’ll probably live to be 110 with no heart problems and die peacefully in my sleep. After years and years of pedaling the endless streets of the world…

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14 thoughts on “I got bikes on my mind

  1. Upgrade your road bike, put 28’s and maybe some fenders on th OCR and you are good to go year round. You will get a lot more enjoyment from a new road bike you ride all the time than you will a winter Cross bike you will use occasionally.

    I would encourage you to step up all the way to a full carbon frame or nice custom steel frame.

    All this would depend on your budget, and only if you were in the market of course.

  2. Which puts me back in the area of the Giant Defy Alliance 0, but that’s actually not fully carbon, but pleasurable all the same. Not sure how I feel about ALL carbon…

    I think I would use the “second” bike (whether that be cycle cross or my OCR now stepping into second) just in the winter. Like I said, I would use the secondary bike to commute to work, having the pannier rack on it fulltime to carry my clothes and such in. Possibly some rides I’d use the secondary on, such a TOSRV because it’s generally a wet slog. I’d use whatever is my primary bike for other rides where I would want better than my average speeds… The secondary bike would also go to places like Pelee Island where there are no paved roads…

    Which brings me to another point… I wonder if Speedplay sells Frogs where onside is a non-clipping surface so that I could also use the secondary bike with tennis shoes on occasion…. (ie for when I’m in Pelee Island or some such place).

  3. Of course, I still have Mike (the trail bike my husband used to own). I could use that for Pelee Island and such… places where my bike is really just transportation and not a speed item and there are no hills.

    Okay. I just need to take a chill pill and forget all this crap. I was fine until I started test riding other bikes. Bleh.

  4. I agree with Anon. My $.02:

    There’s not that much of winter when it’s above 40 degrees and I frankly don’t think you’re going to be riding in the cold, dark, salt and drizzle often enough to justify a custom cross bike. Put wider rims on the OCR to satisfy any riding itches you have in the winter and buy the Defy.

  5. Is it really terribly inconvenient for you people to identify yourselves?? I get really irritated by anonymous comments. I swear, I’m going to close off the Anon portal. No offense.

  6. FYI, I was told that perhaps I would end up using the cycle cross more than the OCR… I am thinking that I would find less use for the Defy… especially out here in hill country.

  7. Sorry I am Anon 1 I was being lazy. I became aware of your blog after you sent the kind words to TAB following our MARR ride last summer. I check in every now and then and saw your recent post on bike lust. It is a terrible thing but something we all suffer from.

    I don’t think you would ever be unhappy upgrading your A bike. The OCR would make a terrific B bike with minimal changes for all the reasons you mentioned. All carbon or nice steel is a very sweet ride. You should try both.

    Buying a B bike is alway a disappointment. Upgrad the bike you will ride most. Just my thoughts.

    Hope to see you and the ABC group this summer at MARR mark you calander August 1.

  8. Brian,

    I LOOOOOVED MARR! That was one of my two favorite rides last year (the other being Marietta River Rondevouz). Unfortunately, I will miss MARR this year because I’m doing XOBA and XOBA ends on the date of MARR. I was kind of bummed, but I think I will be back in the future sometime. I really loved the route and I thought that you guys had managed it so well. Really, I liked it much better than the route the MS 150 always puts us on (which seems to be the ugliest parts of Toledo). So, that said, thanks for putting on such a great ride! I think the TAB people are a lot of fun, and I’ve even tried to ride in pacelines with them, though, admittedly, pacelining isnt my thing (looking at someone’s tire the entire ride is not my idea of fun).

    Anyway, that said. Sorry about my paranoia. I’ve had an attack of beligerant Anons on here so I got all paranoid… Sorry to sound like a freak!

    I totally respect your opinion about the A and B bikes… I dont know what to do. I rode my OCR tonight on ABC’s ride and I totally had the love for my bike so I’m back to ga-gaing it. I would hate to make it my B bike… even though I know it’s inferior in that it only has carbon forks, stays, and seat post. It really is a great ride and though I loved the Giant Defy A0, I still felt a comfort level and love for my OCR that made me feel bad to think of donning it with fenders and such to make it my B bike. Even though I know there’s lots of BETTER upgrade bikes I could move to. And, admittedly, I’m totally smitten with Giant bikes which seem to fit my form so handsomely and comfortably…

    So. I dont know. I guess I’m kind of stuck with that whole quandary of buying a B bike… Even though I know in my head that if I bought something, I should upgrade from the bike I have and use my current bike as the B. I dont know, though, I think my OCR is perfect for the hills down here… (I think that’s why the love came out tonight, because me and my steed climbed Everett Road and it felt good…)

    I do know, however, that the hybrid aint cutting it for me. So I either do have to get a fitness bike or something like a cycle cross. Or something. I dont feel the pleasure anymore of riding on the hybrid… I hate being so slow on it and feeling like I’m lugging its weight with me as I ride.

    This is a crazy hobby we get ourselves into, isnt it? ;) I think people who dont put in the miles we do just dont understand what it is we love about riding our bikes… For me, it’s just, I dont know, the journey. I love pushing myself to the limits and seeing what I can do… It feels so wonderful.

    (I’m definitely on an endorphin high right now…)

  9. The Surly is a great, inexpensive frame that you can do anything with. Built one for my dad to use as a commuter and for dirt road touring (DC to Pittsburgh, again, this year). He just changes the tires and jacks up the fenders. Liked it so much, I built myself one. Told Krista at the Rocky River store how much I liked it, and that is what she had built up for herself.
    If you can’t take the word of a Pok-A-Dot, whose word can you take?

  10. I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with both the Masis and the Surlys… as well as the Giant Defy A0… and my bike. I want them all!! ;)

  11. As someone who keeps adding components to her bike (like trying to find the perfect seat) and is starting to think that maybe I should have just gotten a custom-built bike, I’d say splurge on the Surly to get it customized to your liking. If you get the Masi you’ll probably end up spending just as much in the end fixing that bike “just so” over time anyway. good part.

  12. I have no idea what that “good part” at the end of my post is for… I must have forgotten to delete something before publishing.

  13. Di, check out those swanky color names they use for the Surly frames, too… “Truckaccino,” “Chum Bucket Red, “Beef Gravy Brown,” “Mountain Mist Gray.”

    I think I have an affinity to that Olive Green… but the Cross Check only comes in black or Beef Gravy Brown, which I suppose is fine… you rarely get to pick the color of your bike… you get what you get.

    Remember, though, this bike would only be my #2. But I’d probably ride whatever I get more than I currently ride my hybrid…

  14. Ooooh. I just noticed the Masi I was looking at comes with Tiagara shifters… I’d prefer AT LEAST 105s. But if I am going to spend the money, I’d PREFER Ultegra…

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