I have four bicycles. All serve a different purpose.
2018 Norco Torrent 2 HT
My mountain bike, ridden from May to October (six months). Yukon summer is short - snow typically starts to fly by the end of next month - but our collection of trails are incredible. Having a tough, reliable mountain bike that’s capable on all sorts of singletrack is key for maximum fun-age.
2017 Cervélo R3
My road bike, ridden from April to September (six months). I compete in bike races on the road, so having a light, high-performance bike is important. I also help with our youth road racing club and regularly get together with a great bunch of people on group rides. For me, going on a long road ride is the most therapeutic type of cycling.
2015 Specialized Fatboy
My fat bike, ridden from November to March (five months). I mostly use my Fatboy for commuting to and from work, but also to get out with the dog, friends and family for the occasional trail ride. Yukon is a certifiable Hoth in winter and I like to commute to save money and stay active. Fat bikes thus make a lot of sense for where I live.
2002 Cove Handjob
My retro commuter bike, ridden from April to October (seven months). This is my spring, summer and autumn all-around-town bike. That said, I don’t lock it to poles or outside buildings; it’s far too precious and rare for such abuses. In all other ways, I treat it like a typical commuter bike and ride it to and from work several days a week.
So, clearly all of these bikes fulfill a need. Still, when I look in our garage and see all of these bikes together, I feel guilty. Extravagant. Embarrassed.
When I consider ongoing maintenance costs - shifters, drivetrain, brakes, wheels, tires, tubes and other parts - spread out across the group, it starts to add up. If I’m being entirely practical, four bicycles are three too many for one person.
Sometimes I ask myself: If I could only keep a single bike, which would it be?
And the answer is, I don’t know.
How can one decide?