Friday Group Ride #393

Friday Group Ride #393

Something happened during this recent Christmas season. I became stuff sick. The act of buying things for people who don’t need more things, just so I could fulfill some social obligation suddenly became a little bit of a spiritual crisis. I pulled through. I did what has come to be expected of me, but something in my mind changed.

Since the holidays I’ve been purging things from my home, clothing, furniture, books and bags and shoes and appliances. And it is only just a start. There is so much more that has to go. Not coincidentally, I came across The Minimalists, and their ideas gave me an underpinning for what I want to get to in my own life.

I’m not trying to be come an ascetic or a sadhu, but I would like to get to a place where I am not bringing stuff into my life just for the sake of having more stuff. I want to buy things only very deliberately, and then keep them for a long time. By extension, I want to spend less money and share more with other people. For me, it’s about living a life I believe in and not participating in a materialism that I don’t.

And please, before you start, don’t infer any judgement in what I’m writing here. There is no sanctimony to what I’m trying to do. This is what I think will work better for me, though the process of working through it is difficult.

And of course, no where in my life is this more freighted than with my bikes. I have 5 or 6 currently, and some bins with parts, and some extra wheels and a tire library. I have enough clothing to outfit 2 or 3 of myself adequately. I have 5 helmets.

And it is very hard to let any of it go. But I will. Slowly, but surely, I will.

This week’s Group Ride asks, do you have too much or too little cycling equipment? Is it a problem, either way? And what are the criteria you use for adding more? How often do you sell or give stuff away?

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16 comments

  1. souleur

    too much cycling equipment?? seriously…..c’mon man

    I’ve spent too many years convincing my wife that i require n+1 bikes in the shed to EVER admit either I have too much nor have a problem……it’s simply not a problem

    I will however gladly give it away to a newbie when I have not used it for the past season, in order to buy another

  2. Lyford

    “The act of buying things for people who don’t need more things, just so I could fulfill some social obligation suddenly became a little bit of a spiritual crisis.” Giving experiences instead of stuff works well, especially for adults who already have stuff.

    Last year I gave away two old bikes, all my old parts, and some clothing. Two years ago I sold a bike that had emotional value but didn’t fit properly. I think now I’ve got a good level of bike stuff. It all gets used.

    I would suggest that having less is not always the best way to tranquillity. For example, having a beater commuter and a ‘nice” bike might result in more peace of mind and pleasure in riding than just having one bike for everything.

    Criteria for adding stuff: One approach is to ask “Will it let me do something I couldn’t do before, or will it let me do something I can already do, only a little bit differently?”

    “Upgrading” for performance is less important as I age, but improving safety and comfort seems worthwhile.

  3. AC

    I have far too much. It is a problem, in that the time spent organizing and maintaining equipment increases dramatically. Yet older bikes lose value so quickly there is little incentive to sell off old bikes, and of course, I actually like to ride them from time to time. I have 6 bikes, not counting a nearly 20 year old dedicated trainer bike, and all were ridden last year. Some more than others for sure, but all enjoyed.

    It is indeed all too easy to become a slave to stuff. Buying more deliberately, choosing quality over quantity helps. Or so I tell myself.

  4. AG

    My kids think I have too much cycling equipment. But I disagree although I’m certainly not an n+1 fanatic. The stuff I keep has a story or some kind of meaning for me. You just can’t find a mountain bike built from Tange Prestige tubes anymore, but I got one in the shed just because it’s pretty cool (I think Tom Ritchey would agree and c’mon, he’s badass). I don’t buy a lot of gear, and I mostly buy new stuff if the old thing wears out, becomes smelly or is becoming so out of date that I can’t find parts for it. Stuff with no memories or some kind of human craftsmanship attached to it I have no problem throwing away or selling. But after thirty years of riding, some old gear is just too good to chuck even if it just hangs in the shed (bike museum).

  5. Michael

    I have a 26″ hardtail mtn bike in storage that I’d like to sell, but can’t find a buyer. It is a custom bike from 22 years ago, but a nice one. I’d give it away if I knew the person would thrash it! Otherwise, my bikes are ridden frequently. Clothes, on the other hand, I have too many of. I keep getting hand-me-downs from my brother, faster than I can wear them out. If I were back in the US, I’d have sent them to Paddy for his give=away.

    1. Padraig

      We’re looking for 26″ mountain bikes for one of the local NICA teams. I’d be willing to buy it for them.

  6. Jan

    Here’s where having a more modest income (and not getting bike equipment for free as a pro of some sort) may be a positive! I have one bike. I had another (it was 20 years old, and a tad too big) but I gave it to a friend who’s taller than I am. My bike is GREAT fun. It would be faster if I were, and tougher if I were, but I average a lot of smiles/miles. (It’s a road bike because I pretty much ride on roads when I ride. I don’t think I’d prefer to ride trails or gravel, so I’m pretty happy with it.)

    I DO lust after fancy titanium bikes. But I really have no need, so…

    After a couple years of searching, I found some bib shorts that work for me, so I have two pair of those, and a couple pairs that aren’t quite as good for me (but not worn out yet). I have four or five jerseys that work for me. If one were still made, I’d gladly get more, since it’s my favorite, but I can’t really wear it every day or people would faint as I rode by. I wish it were easier in the boonies to try different clothes/equipment. (This is ESPECIALLY true for women’s gear!)

    I’m slowly gaining camping equipment because more and more, I like going out and sleeping in a park for a few nights.

  7. Aar

    Two years ago, I had 3 closets, a chest of drawers and 8 storage bins in the attic – all overflowing with stuff. I’m now down to 2 closets that are neatly organized with space to spare. Various charities, including cyclist victims of Northern California wildfires (care of RKP) have benefitted from the stuff purge that was fueled by Mari Kondo and losing so much weight the decades of clothing no longer fit.

    During this time, I added a bike – actually just a bike frame because I had all the other bits. Now with separate bikes for trainer and outdoor use, I’m not currently on the n+1 wagon and it’s not a problem. Since eBay sucked the soul and price out of used gear, I just give my old stuff away, recycle it or throw it away but I also tend to wear it out first.

    As far as adding more goes, the chainrings on my old Campy crank are about dead, my PowerTab hub needs an annual rebuild and the Dura Ace Power Crankset is about to hit the US market. So, it seems that the crank fits….

  8. Tominalbany

    I have two, old bikes that have not seen daylight for 13+ years. They need to go, despite my sentimental attachment. I’ve got old parts that can go but, not many.

    My biggest inertia to purging is figuring out how to recycle the stuff. I hate to throw it to a landfill-bound stream where it will never see the light of day….

  9. Jeff R Dieffenbach

    I have too much stuff. But I don’t have enough bike stuff. If I act sufficiently on the former, I can indulge in the latter and still head in the healthier (less stuff) direction.

    That said, a relatively pain-free divorce, the sale of a house, and a significant downsizing certainly got me started in the right direction!

  10. David

    Even as a kid, I’ve never been a “collector” of anything. And a 20 year career in the US Army, moving every couple of years, packing and unpacking, certainly helped the disinterest in accumulating stuff.

    That said, I’ve got one road bike – an 8 year old titanium framed Lynskey with 47,000 + miles that I’ll never part with and one hard tail mountain bike, enough clothing for a decent rotation, one helmet and a single pair of road shoes. I’ve no interest in touring, gravel riding, fat bikes, or fixies……so what I have will likely suffice until something breaks.

  11. byDesign

    If you haven’t used it in a year or so, donate it (except for food/water – good to have a backup plan for life-sustaining goods). We moved a year ago and got rid of a ton of things we didn’t need, use or could be recycled. I have one road bike, one mtn. bike and one trainer bike. My road bike is now over 9 yrs old and will be upgrading that next year and will most likely sell or donate my Cervelo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sdfWub_odQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac.

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