I’ve got an organizer near my front door with two bins of cycling shoes, one for road shoes, the other for mountain shoes. For reasons of professional obligation having to do with review bikes and multiple brands of pedals, I’ve got more cycling shoes than I do sneakers and dress shoes. And while I’d like to say that I open the garage and pick a bike based on my mood, that’s not quite accurate. I pick a pair of shoes. The shoes dictate which bikes I can ride. And yes, I have crossed my wires, gotten to the garage, aired tires, thrown a leg, stepped down … and slid off the pedal.
Then I marched back upstairs and changed shoes.
I’ve watched with somewhat bemused detachment how infrequently I pull out the bin with road shoes. The majority of bikes with drop bars in my garage are equipped with some variety of mountain bike pedal. What I find remarkable is that there are days when I decide to go for a road ride, a ride that will feature no dirt whatsoever and I still choose to take a bike with tires meant for unimproved surfaces.
Recently, I was on a ride and encountered a friend as we both rode back into town. Like me, he was on a bike with disc brakes, and while his tires were a moderate 28mm wide, he told me that he had a second set of wheels set up with tires for offroading. In fact, he told me he’d sold his road bike and that his gravel bike was his only drop-bar bike in his garage. He noted that he wasn’t racing anymore, didn’t want to ride without disc brakes now that he had them and due to our deteriorating roads, a 23mm tire had become antithetical to his idea of a good time. That wasn’t the first time I’ve heard such a thing. Honestly, it makes a bunch of sense.
If we are willing to admit that N+1 is little more than a romantic ideal, the conversation about just how many bikes are appropriate to have in a garage, given all the different riding you want to do, becomes an interesting study in strategy and your idea of fun.
So this week’s question is, have you sold a road bike and shifted resources to a gravel or ‘cross bike? If so, which bike? And if not, is it something you’ve considered?
Image: Jorge Flores, Justpedal