Is three the magic number?

wp-1452398881424.jpgIn late summer I received my custom Bantam Rambleneur bike. The bike! At that point, I figured all I needed to have was three bikes:

  1. My roadish all-rounder also suitable for off road and touring (Bantam)
  2. A three speed, because! Also, as the more primary commuter/utility bike (Raleigh Wayfarer)
  3. A beater/klunker/”bar” bike, one that I didn’t have to worry much about (Schwinn Heavy Duti)

So I got ready to sell the Raleigh Crested Butte, because that would be One Bike Too Many. I didn’t need this bike anymore, why hold onto it?

Of course, we know how that went. I got a few bites when I tried to sell the Crested Butte, but nothing happened. And in the end, I decided I still wanted to keep the bike, at least for now. There have been (and probably will always be) fit issues with it, but I’ve made it work. And it’s just a nice bike in general.

But there was still something gnawing in the back of my head. While I could justify keeping the Crested Butte, esp. if I modified it a bit so it wasn’t too much like another bike in the fleet, I couldn’t get out of my head the fact that this was the Fourth Bike, and I had already settled on three being the number of bikes I would have.

Why was I getting so neurotic about a number?

Maybe because I didn’t want to become one of Those Guys who has lots and lots of bikes. For one, I am no bike mechanic, I like having my bikes operational, and don’t want to spend a bunch of money “maintaining a fleet”. I also like riding my bikes regularly, and didn’t want to have just one or two bikes that saw regular use, and then a bunch that basically gather dust for most of the year.

But I started to think: Three is just a number. Four isn’t necessarily the slippery slope into the abyss. If I enjoyed all the bikes, why get rid of one because I somehow felt I had to?  And my bikes are generally in pretty good shape, I end up spending more money changing out and reconfiguring things than basic upkeep. If I keep that to a minimum besides a couple projects I want to do, I won’t end up spending loads of money on bikes. (And note to self: Don’t get another bike this year!) Besides, I don’t ride the Heavy Duti much, and it’s minimal maintenance. And the Bantam being brand new shouldn’t need anything major anytime soon. (Hopefully!)

If anything, I shouldn’t get hung up on numbers. If it all feels right, do it. If at some point, I do feel l have too many bikes, or just don’t want the Crested Butte anymore, then sell it. But don’t stress out about it.

And just ride bikes more!

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6 thoughts on “Is three the magic number?

  1. A Shawn with four bikes sounds good to me! Though I’m all for sticking to arbitrary rules, in general. I decided today I need one more bike, but I don’t want to admit in pixels how many I already have.

  2. Interesting overlap in thinking. I’m thinking the ideal number for me is two; a bicycle and a back-up. Basically, I am on a quest for the perfect all-rounder plus one desirable backup in case the perfect all-rounder is temporarily out of commission. Of course the backup needs to be something that is sufficiently enjoyable (but different) to give me some amusing variety. That two-bike model strikes a chord with me, but I have three now and can’t figure out how to part with one of them. Every time I put a finger on one and think it could be sacrificed, I can’t bear to make it happen.

  3. Shawn,
    I need to be honest, and this is coming from “one of those Guys”… It is in fact a slippery slope and you must resist the urge to slide down. First, it is 4 bikes and then one day you open the shed door and there is a bike that you can’t even remember buying..
    So if I can offer any advise, keep that sweet old Raleigh, let it serve as a reminder and every time you get that urge, just look at that bike and remain strong!

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