On getting rid of bikes, and not building the same bike again and again

Schwinn Heavy Duti at Laurelhurst Park, 1 Sept 2021 Camera: Minolta SR-T 101. Film: Fuji Velvia 50 (expired)

It’s springtime, the season to sell a bike. I tried to sell my Schwinn Heavy Duti right around Christmas. I knew that it would be a tough sell for winter, but I hoped that maybe someone wanted to buy it for a present. Despite a few nibbles (and a total low-ball offer), nothing much came of that. I took it off the selling block for the time. I wanted to see if I still wanted to sell the bike come spring.

It’s spring, and yeah, I want to sell that bike. The desire to ride it again did not come about, though I tried to come up with a reason for keeping it. It was my most “cargo” bike, and since an actual cargo bike won’t happen for a few years, maybe I should make it more of a cargo bike again? I thought about mounting the giant Wald basket to it for added utility. Then I remembered how much of a beast it was when I did have either the giant basket or the “pizza” rack on it. Do I really want to go back to that? No, I don’t. So in a week or three it’ll be listed again.

There will be more bike parts a’coming with that sale. I still need to strip more bits off the Robin Hood path racer, another bike that died for me last year. There’s other stuff scattered across the garage that needs to go. I was holding some of that stuff in case I found another nice vintage mountain bike, so I could build it up like I did with the Raleigh Crested Butte. Then I realized what I was doing: I was going to build up the same bike, again. I don’t need to do that. The days of reimagining bikes is over. It was fun for a few years, especially when it got my mind off of other things. But now if I want a new bike I want it to be something different. And my Bantam is everything the Crested Butte was, and more. The only thing it doesn’t have is upright bars, but I could change that if I really want to.

It’s been a few months now with just three bikes in the fleet. All three of these bikes, the Bantam, the Brompton, and the Raleigh Superbe, are nice bikes that fit me and are enjoyable to ride. It feels liberating to have to worry about just three bikes. I get anxious when I have too many bikes to think about, so three is the magic number for now. Of course another bike or two may enter the stable at some point. But they’ll be different than what came before.

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4 thoughts on “On getting rid of bikes, and not building the same bike again and again

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  1. Good and timely. I like that you gave the spares the attention they deserve. It’s nice to have the parts necessary to repair something on the fly. But having a “parts bin” leads to “parts bin special” builds. And they are absolutely fine in some cases. Building a bike for the sake of building a bike was fantastic for a time, but it’s not where I want to invest my time in my current season of life. For me, it became an excuse to not deal with the hoard properly. “This frame will go well with these bits, and all I need to buy are tires and a seat post clamp – I’d be stupid to NOT build it.” Well that just leads to owning bikes I don’t really have a use for. And again, I stress there’s nothing wrong with that, I just can’t spend my time that way, and still do the other things I want to. So yes, I too am getting rid of the spares. The other nice thing about that is when / if I decide to build up another bike, the build won’t be influenced by what I have. A fresh start, so to speak. Yeah, it will cost more that way. But if I’m going to bring another thing into my life, I’ve resolved to pay the price.

    -Wilson

    1. I think I needed to have enough time to sit on the idea of “parts bin bike” to know for sure if I wanted to hold on or get rid of the parts. Nothing sucks more than getting a new bike to build up after you got rid of a bunch of usable parts. But now I know that this is not the route I want to go down again. I’m going to hold on to some basic bits that are either backups for failed stuff or because they are consumables–like an extra set of pedals, a few dyno light stuff, grips, etc. I think I have a spare Brooks B67 saddle that I’ll hold on to for whenever the next bike comes around.

  2. Me too. And I’m still working on this very thing with regards to tools, and building supplies (which include usable scraps from home improvement jobs already done). With the bikes, things came to a head when I was realizing I had to move bikes in and out of my basement whenever I wanted to switch bikes, or build a shed. Gee, I thought. What if I just downsized the bikes? I figured I’d be much happier that way, and so far I am. I don’t really miss any of the bikes aside from my 1955 Schwinn Corvette semi-custom. A middleweight Schwinn cruiser might make its way back in at some point…

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