The “too many bikes” dilemma again.

My active fleet of bikes currently stands at five, more than many folks but a lot less than some bike junkies I know. I’m not particularly proud of having that many bikes, but it usually doesn’t keep me up at night. And I currently live in a house with ample space, so there’s no reason to cull the fleet because of room.

No, sometimes I feel like culling the fleet because of the headache of having to maintain that many bikes. Normally by bikes are in good order, but lately it seems like there’s something wrong with every bike I own:

  • The Crested Butte needs a new drivechain, both chain and freewheel block.
  • The Raleigh Superbe needs a hub overhaul in the AW hub.
  • The Schwinn Heavy Duti needs a different bottle dynamo.
  • I feel like there’s an issue with the front brake on the Robin Hood.

The only bike that doesn’t seem to have anything up with it is the Bantam. And that’s the bike I use least as my “city” bike, an arrangement I’d like to keep.

If this was earlier this year, I would just simply bring the bike(s) to the shop and get work done. But now I’m in leaner times and that’s not as easy as it used to be. I have to be more careful with my money, so some of these bikes may have to wait a month or so before I get around to bringing them to the shop.

Can I keep the fleet maintained when I don’t have much cash? Or do I move into a state of deferred maintenance, which would guarantee that repairs will be even more expensive when I get around to them? So this is where I start thinking about culling the fleet again. If I can’t properly maintain so many bikes, why should I have so many bikes?

Of course, there’s two big reasons to not cull the fleet. The first one is that I like all my bikes, and have spent a lot of time and energy (and money!) with each one to get it to where I’d like it to be. The other big reason is money, or lack thereof: I wouldn’t get much cash out of selling any of my bikes, except the Bantam, which I am definitely not going to sell. This is especially in respect to the amount of money I’ve put into the bikes. I might get a few hundred dollars out of a bike sale, that’s it. And inevitably I’d get another bike and sink money into it. No, now is not the time for purging.

So I’m just going to stick with them all, for now. I’ll work through the issues as they come along, but now will not be the time for extravagant projects.

But there is some salvation: This week I brought the Crested Butte to North Portland Bikeworks to do the appropriate drivetrain update. Bikeworks is a non-profit shop that’s been around since 2002. I’ve been involved with the shop in some way or another since then, designing a lot of flyers and art over the years. They said that they would need another flyer “eventually” so my bike work would be credited towards that! Nice. Sometimes folks in this city look out for me, and I love that. 🙂


8 thoughts on “The “too many bikes” dilemma again.

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  1. Shawn, I feel your dilemma with bike maintenance while owning a fleet of bikes. I was thinking along the same lines recently (and plan to post somewhat similar thoughts) why it is that each of my own bikes could use some help, but it takes me a while to get to each one. My Clementine is like your Bantam – new enough and not ridden enough to need maintenance!

  2. Personally, i’d attempt to describe the issue with Robin Hood’s front brake on your blog… could be that the issue may be indentified and a solution suggested…
    …failing that, is your Raliegh Superbe and your Robin Hood both 3 speeds and if so are the hub OLN and rim size the same? If the answer yes, how would you feel about swapping the back wheels over, until you have the time/money to overhaul the Superbe’s rear hub?
    As for the bike without the dynamo, for the short term how would you feel about using a set of cheap battery lights? 🙂

  3. I’m sorry what is this “too many” thing you speak of? doesn’t everyone have an apartment full of bikes to the extent they can Coffeeneur on a different one each time?

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