Wednesday, April 2, 2008

By Request: Sentamentality

OK, here's a topic for the blog and general consideration. Sentimentality. How to part with a fine, beautiful, functional bike? Some have no issue. Others, like me, have a terrible time. Tonight the rag moves slowly downward and a step back is taken, "oh." More Simple Green is applied and the rag is busier. "Gracious. This is bike is really nice, why do I feel compelled to sell her?" My cold hearted friends feel no such remorse, but I know there are others out there who cling lovingly and tenderly attend to the steed that has delivered so much, yet asked so little.


I have friends that get very sentimental about their bikes. I guess, Brian who sent me the above email is in that bunch. I have largely escaped this condition. Only on rare occasions has it become an issue. I felt sad selling my First Curtlo road bike. It was my first nice road bike. And being steel it road so well. It was replaced by my Fuji Aloha CF2 which is sort of a do it all bike; I switch the bars out for either dropbars with regular road shifters or for a full aero set up with bar end shifters depending on the season and if there is a triathlon coming up. Still, I got over selling the Curtlo pretty easily. The Fuji holds no particular feelings for me. It is soulless. It does ride well though. It is sort of a mercenary bike I suppose, easily interchanged for the next good deal.

My first cyclocross bike was a 1999 Reparto Corse Bianchi that I picked up as a used frameset. It rode so nice, but it didn't fit quite perfectly and I wanted something that did. Plus, Doug at Curtlo was willing to build me a cross bike out of S3 tubes. That frameset holds more feelings for me. It will be going on its 3rd season this year and it is a killer bike. This year it will share cross duties with the Lapierre. The Lapierre will be the bike for nicer conditions, and the Curtlo will be there for rainy/muddy stuff. Not because it is less special, but because I trust it more. That means that the Lapierre will be the bike for the first couple of races and then it will be a pit bike after that most likely. I really like the set up of my Curtlo. It has soul. The Lapierre has some soul, but it the soul of a small Taiwanese man that likes to eat crepes. Weird.

I also have a Curtlo Singlespeed. This bike replaced a Dean Ti Colonel 29er. The Dean was a great bike, but it was built sloppily. Not enough tire clearance and seatstays didn't really meet up perfectly. And it suffered from chainsuck for some reason. Never had an issue with any other bike with that. Basically, I feel that Dean was jinxed, and it needed to go. I was sad to see it go even still. I tried to work it out and I bought a new crankset for it, and tried lots of tires, but in the end it went on ebay. It was a marriage doomed from the start. So sexy with its ti tubing and buttery ride, but it had this dark side. I could only take it for so long.

Back to the Curtlo. It rides like a dream. Not tons of time on it yet but enough to know that it won't be going anywhere. DTP got on it and didn't really like the feel. Probably because the bike didn't like DTP so it would perform for him like she does for me. Or maybe it is just that the bike is made for a guy my height and not for his. Nah, it just didn't like DTP.

Some people name their bikes. I only named one bike, the Bianchi. It doesn't come natural to me to name a bike. Fish names his bikes, at least the ones that become part of the family. And he has a large family--I think two road bikes, three cross bikes, one singlespeed 29er, one geared 29er, a TT bike, and then there may be others too. It is hard to remember them all, but there are certain ones that are unforgettable. I really don't know how to name a bike. I have a difficult time coming up with names for my kids, and bikes seem even harder to name for me. Maybe, I don't keep them long enough to develop a friendship with them. Nah, I keep them generally for a couple of years usually. That is long enough for a name to come up. I am a sentimental guy, I cry while watch movies like Field of Dreams and Terminator 2 (OK, not really that one), but I rarely get sentimental about my bikes. I sort of feel bad about it--until the replacement comes.

Anyway, these are the bikes I have owned during my adult life in chronological order. May those that are gone rest in peace.

1992 Haro Extreme (hit by a car)
Trek 950
Reflex Professional
Caloi aluminum mtb (can't remember frame model)
Santa Cruz Heckler (green coil shock)
Santa Crus Heckler (polished with air shock)
Ellsworth Truth
Titus Quasimodo
Bontrager Race Lite
Cannondale R400
CPC Euphoria XC (no longer in existance, it was a company that only made a few bikes)
Rocky Mountain Edge
Breezer steel road bike
Ellsworth Id
Fisher Sugar
K2 Razorback
Curtlo 29er 24hr
Trek 1200
Curtlo softtail
Cannondale 1FG
Niner One 9
Dean Ti Colonel 29er
Curtlo Road OX Platinum
Fuji Cross Pro
Bianchi Reparto Corse
Curtlo Cross S3
Cannondale Caad 9 (wife's bike, but I rode it nearly as often as she)
Fuji Aloha CF2
Curtlo Singlespeed 29er full rigid
Lapierre XLite Cross

I think I got them all, but it is possible I missed one or two.

When I look at that list I can see why none really made me sad to sell, well most of them. That Bontrager Race Lite was awfully hard to part with. They were all pretty cool but none had a timeless sort of cool except for my curtlos, which were made specifically for me and the Dean. Now, if I had a bunch of custom made steel and Ti bikes I could see that they would be more likely to remain with me because they are inherently more personal and costly.

To Brian who started me thinking about this subject, thanks for helping me waste the morning.

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