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Am I Happy?

November 23, 2010

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

-Bertrand Russell

I’ve been thinking about bikes, lately – which is no different to the sort of thing I’d usually think about, in some ways.

But on the other hand, I’ve been thinking about bikes, and thinking that, beyond a little tinkering, I have what I need right now.

I have the Surly Long Haul Trucker, which serves as my commuter, tourer and towpath bike (towpaths being about as offroad as I get).  I rewrapped the bars last weekend, and did some experimenting with the brake setup.  With the Carradice saddlebag, it makes a fantastic commuter, and whacking 42c tyres on it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done – handles rough ground easily, and gives a plush ride on road without too much worrying about threading a line through potholes.  I’m toying with the idea of building a dynamo wheel for it, but it’s a great bike, and I can’t think of much more I want to do with it to improve it.

I have the Giant SCR2.0 as my “quick” bike.  It has a nice set of sturdy handbuilts for winter rides, Mavic Aksiums for summer rides, and I have good tyres in storage for when the current pairs reach the end of their lives.  Much messing about with saddles saw me come back to Fizik (albeit an Aliante rather than an Arione).  A longer stem gives me a riding position I like better than the one I began with – a wider seatpost gives a slightly better ride, and a hollowtech bb has changed the feel of the bike for the better.  I might rewrap the bars at some point – and double wrap them to make up for the thinness of the wing bar in the drops – but the setup of this bike is pretty much the way I want it.

I have the Brompton for errands, short multi-modal commutes, travelling anywhere that I’m not sure of the bike parking, and anything else really.  I’ve done very little to this bike, beyond putting my customary Flandrian Lion on the main tube to personalise it a little.  I might put in nicer rim tape to make changing tyres less of a pain, or add Brompton’s “Hard” elastomer to the rear suspension.  But it’s rare that it’s ridden more than 5 miles at a time.

The feeling I have overall is that I’ve moved from a point where I was looking for bikes to fill niches (“fun” bike, touring bike, commuting bike, train bike) and bits to make those bikes work in those roles, to a point where the bikes I lust after now would be, to some degree, frivolous.  I’d love an audax type bike (to fall somewhere between the SCR and the LHT) for quick(er), fat(ter) tyred commuting.  But the LHT does commuting well enough.  I’d like a cargo bike to do big errands, but the LHT can handle 80% of that.  I’d like a speed machine, but in all truth, the SCR is probably more than enough bike for any level of fitness I’ll ever acheive.

On my derailleur bikes, I don’t want ten speed drivetrains because 9 speed wears out quick enough, thanks.

Which isn’t to say rhat I’d turn down a racing green Mercian Audax (dream bike), given the chance, a disc braked Cotic X or Roadrat (would make beautiful, practical quick commuters), a Yuba Mundo (these things can haul 300lbs of cargo – or carry passengers), or a Cervélo S3 (beautiful) but those bikes would overlap with the current ones to the degree that they start to feel like luxuries as I consider them.

There’s nothing wrong with luxuries, of course, but as Thoreau said, “That man is richest, whose pleasures are cheapest.” 

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From → Cycling

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