cycling · fitness

Changing of the guard: one bike out, one bike in

This weekend has been, for many social media watchers, All Olde England all the time. Yes, you probably heard something about a wedding; I think it was in the papers. Royal weddings are prime occasions for wallowing in the excesses of British pomp and parade. But for my money, I prefer the traditional, always-in-style changing of the guard in front of Buckingham palace. Maybe it’s because I was in marching band in high school and college, but I love me some bright uniforms and shiny brass buttons (but not those bearskin hats– read more about them and where they come from here).

If you’re not up on the British changing of the guard, here’s a photo to help (and of course the wikipedia page, too):

The changing of the Queen's guard at Buckingam palace, with red uniformed guards on horseback.
The changing of the Queen’s guard at Buckingham palace, with red uniformed guards on horseback.

Although it is undoubtedly less newsworthy, I thought I’d share with you, dear, readers, my changing-of-the-guard story.  I own 5–6 bikes (depending on how you count), which may seem to some (okay, almost all) people like a lot. Hey, bikes are like shoes– you need different ones for different occasions. And, of course, for all cyclists, the correct number of bikes to own is n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently own.

What I said above.
What I said above.

A less-well-covered story, though, is the story of letting bikes go.  We do this for lots of reasons: a bike might no longer fit well (because of injury or other body changes); we upgrade to a fancier model; we send it as hand-me-down to another; or, it’s just reached the end of its bike life. Such things happen, and all have happened to me.

But this time, I have to admit that I’m letting a bike go for more personal reasons.  The fact is, I just couldn’t make the relationship work. So it’s time for it to go be with someone else. I’m talking about my Brompton folding bike.

My Brompton folding bike, in all its orange and celadon-green glory.
My Brompton folding bike, in all its orange and celadon-green glory.

I bought it in December of 2016 with glee and anticipation of many memorable trips with it– to conferences, on vacation, to work, and who knows where else. I wrote about it here on the blog.

But you know, sometimes relationships just don’t work out. I tried hard to make friends with this bike. I rode it around town, put it in the car to ride it other places, and even took it to a conference in Atlanta.  Boy, did that not go well. You can read about my airline-induced bike fail here.  The fact is, I just didn’t like riding it.  Period.

However, just as some relationships end, others appear on the horizon. I had just made plans to sell the Brompton to my new friend Christy (who’s super-psyched about it– yay!), when my friend Rachel texted me to ask if I was interested in buying her year-old gravel bike. It’s too small for her, and she thought it would fit me. What is a gravel bike?  You can read here about it, but it is a bike built like a road bike, but with disc brakes.  And it’s meant to be ridden on a variety of terrains– on and off road, and takes bigger tires.  Here’s the one Rachel offered to me– a Salsa Warbird:

A Salsa Warbird, with shimano 105 components and a white frame with  red, orange an yellow stripes. Gorgeous.
A Salsa Warbird, with Shimano 105 components and a white frame with red, orange an yellow stripes. Gorgeous.

And here it is in my dining room:

Same bike as in above pic, but it's mine, all mine!
Same bike as in above pic, but it’s mine, all mine!

Yeah, I bought it. I love it. It rides beautifully, and it will carry me back into the woods, which I’ve not been riding in for some time. Yay!

So, one bike out, and one bike in. I’m preserving the bike status quo, and three people– me, Rachel, and Christy–  get a new bike to work into their rotation.  Oh, yeah, of course Rachel has to replace the Salsa Warbird with another gravel bike (I think she may get the same model but in a bigger size).

Have you recently let go of or acquired a new bike, boat, or other important-to-you gear? I love hearing people’s happy (and also bittersweet) stories.