A state of the fleet: 2019

Hello, folks! Now it’s time for me to reflect on My Year In Bicycles. (Stasia, you can skip this post. 😉 )

2019 was another year of stasis. Since 2018, I’ve had the same five bicycles. Five’s the most I’ve ever owned. I don’t have a hard “can only own five bikes” mantra/mandate like some other folks, so who knows if 2020 may see an addition. But being very broke means the likelihood that a new bike entering the stable is pretty slim, unless it was cheap-to-free. (And knowing me, even a free bike can turn not so.)

And I don’t think I’m going to be pruning the fleet anytime soon. As much as I’d like to minimize, I realize that I’m not going to get a lot from selling any of my bikes, especially since I spent quite a bit on them. As much as the notion of culling the fleet has appeal, I probably won’t get that itch unless I introduce another bike or two. So now we are at another milestone: It’s been at least four years since a bike has left the fleet, the last one my Raleigh Wayfarer in 2015.

2019 was just a refinement of The Fleet. I’ve fit the bikes into three distinct categories:

  • Commuter/Daily Driver: Raleigh Superbe, Raleigh Crested Butte. These bikes definitely see the most action.
  • Utility. Schwinn Heavy Duti. The bike I take for that grocery run.
  • Fun. Robin Hood Path Racer, Bantam. The bikes I pull out for when “I want to go on a ride“, and also in the case of the Bantam, a tour.

Now, any of my bikes can get me around town, to work, etc. But it’s nice to divvy them up into categories, then be bewildered by choice. Like Doug, I like to have my bikes be distinct. This is always a battle for me, because if I don’t watch out all my bikes will be set up the same way!

As I mentioned earlier about my Crested Butte, I have another milestone with the fleet: A bike owned more than five years. Actually, I now have two bikes pass five years, as I celebrated the fifth anniversary of owning the Schwinn Heavy Duti at the end of September. Next year will see two more bikes enter the Five Year Club: My Bantam and the Superbe. (I didn’t get the Superbe rideable until early 2016, but it was in my hands in fall of 2015.)

So, what does the stable look like at the end of 2019? Listed in the order of when I got them:

  • Raleigh Crested Butte: This daily driver has been pretty much the same bike as it has been since early 2017, when a suite of improvements and changes were implemented. The biggest change this year is the smaller front basket. It’s still a fun bike to ride, and hopefully the llghtening up will mean more adventures!
  • Schwinn Heavy Duti: This bike has also stayed mostly the same since I had a bunch of improvements done to it in 2018. The Wald 257 Pizza Rack is on there now, so it has finally assumed the role of “ultimate hauling bike”. And I changed the light, so it is now a B+M Avy, just like what’s on my Crested Butte. The only change in the near future may be to the rear wheel, as the two-speed kickback wheel hasn’t been hitting the “two speed” thing for a bit.
  • Bantam: My touring/longer rides bike has seen more cobwebs than actual use this past year, which is a shame. (It doesn’t help that my touring and camping this year has been scant.) Still, it’s seen some changes. New tires, in this case Schwalbe Fat Franks. Salsa lowrider racks on the front for added capacity. And a new handlebar bag (Velo Orange) in conjunction with a small front basket for supreme usefulness. Oh yeah, it’s still fun!
  • Raleigh Superbe: No real changes to the bike this year. Heck, I pretty much got it to where I wanted it when it “debuted” in 2016. By then, I knew what I wanted in my go-to British Three Speed. Why mess with perfection? I did get the hub overhauled at the end of 2018, but that was needed stuff. I swapped out tires this year, but that’s to be expected. I guess the only “new thing” is that I’ve been using the rear rack more since I’ve switched to using panniers on this bike. Oh yeah, when I changed the tires, I put back on the original wheel (which had been on the Robin Hood.) So both the AW hub and Dynohub are 1968!
  • Robin Hood Path Racer: No real changes here either. It’s remained the sexy stripped down three speed. I swapped out the seatpost and put new tires (Col de la Vies) on it, that’s it.

And there you have it: Five unique bikes. The only thing that ties them all together (besides two wheels) is: All five bikes have front dynamo lighting! This has been the case since my last bike went dynamo, the Heavy Duti, in 2018. So I (mostly) don’t have to worry about batteries and charging of lights. (To note: both the Heavy Duti and Robin Hood use hard-mounted battery lights. But they are “Euro standard” 0.5 watt no-blinky lights that take AAA batteries. I replace the batteries maybe once a year.)

Now let’s see what 2020 brings…

Raleigh Crested Butte
Schwinn Heavy Duti
Bantam “Rambleneur”
Raleigh Superbe
Robin Hood “path racer”

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