Saturday, November 22, 2014

Collection of Rides

There's a poster that used to adorn 1/3 walls in the Cornell dorms, which must be ubiquitous across rich-kid colleges.

Could you be more obnoxious?

Apart from the obvious falsity -- what about education makes such an ostentatious display of wealth either possible or desirable? -- the poster is proof of every American male's desire to possess a diverse and beautiful array of rides.

There's a limit to what we can acquire when it is cars. I had to dump the WRX to buy a cheapo German toy last December.  Even if I could afford to keep both, I could not afford the necessary storage.

What presents the best alternative?

What to Collect?

Part of the collection!

Even a penny-pinching academic like myself can find a way to locate a bike for each car in the higher education poster.  Even with our modest 1500' sq. we can store them all.  Even with a third-rate training ethic I can ride them -- and regularly.

Here's my list.  You probably have your own.

The Audi S4

I'm a big fan of Audi's everyman's sports car, a wicked fast jobbie that still has four doors and room for groceries, luggage, or the dog.  This is what you drive if you want to get somewhere fast -- but you want to look sort of normal doing it.

Family sedan?  That's my kind of family.
The bicycle analog?  You need carbon, to be sure; probably electronic shifting; I'd say deep-dish wheels and maybe a bling paint job.  How's this?

The Focus.  Pretty, no.  Fast and fun, yes.


For a Saturday afternoon cruise on a sea-side highway, it is difficult to imagine something you'd rather have available than this car.

XKE Roadster.
Not the fastest car on the highway.  Doesn't handle the best.  Nonetheless a marvelous vehicle to drive.

Enter my analog:  the Gunnar Roadie.

Gunnar Roadie.  The choice for a Saturday afternoon ride.
I once had my ears assaulted by a supposedly knowledgeable sort who explained that steel bikes must suck because even Walmart sold aluminum and carbon bikes.  The alternative view, of course, is that one of those represents a Honda Civic and the nice steel number an XKE.  I'll take the Jaguar.


No matter how much I prefer the driving experience with a low slung compact car, sometimes one just needs bigger tires, better ground clearance, and the ability to carry a load.

Wikipedia for "SUV."
Nice for traveling and, we all tell ourselves when buying it, filling up with a load and hitting the road.


Ritchey Breakaway at the literal end of the road.
The Ritchey Breakaway goes places and has the capacity to wear racks and panniers.  I hope for at least one self-supported multi-day ride next summer.  This will be the bike of choice.

The ZR-1

We all want 500 hp and a 200 mph top speed.  But not all of us can afford the latest version.

1990s ZR-1.
Corvette's 1990s offerings get pretty close.  And they present a fine analogy to a cheap-skate's tri bike.

Not a Ferrari, but with the right driver it may still come out ahead.
For those dozen or so times a year when you want to ride fast and don't care how much you actually enjoy it, the Cervelo P2 serves as well as any other.

The 128i

I decided last year that as little as I drive a car, I may as well enjoy it when I do, so I bought this little number at an end-of-the-model clearance sale.

As economical as Germany gets.
It's pretty without being lovely; high-performing without being exceptional; fun without being unwise.  Even, dare I say, practical -- if the kind of use I envision is a trip to Costco and the occasional bike-in-the-trunk en route to a race.  A fine car for everyday use.

The daily driver.
The Neuvation is my cycling "daily driver."  It's perfect for sprints out of stoplights and fun for an afternoon on a quiet road or trail.  At the price-point, no need to stress about leaving it parked while I'm out of town.  But I always look forward to riding it when I get back.

The Golf Cart

This powered four-wheel vehicle is great for getting around town.  Not designed for going very far, but admit it -- it would be an adventure if you tried.

Yes, if you have to ask, I do want one.
A good fixie or single speed is about the right alternative.  This one is still to be built.

Gitane. Even sounds like "golf cart."
Maybe I'll include a shelf for clubs.

The Unimog

One day the zombies will, indeed, attack.  We know it is coming.  And when it does we need to get out of town.  Enter the Unimog:

Want . . .  Need!
Bussing it home from the airport after a snow-storm, bike racked on the front of the bus, I realized Sam was right, and I needed one of these.

One -- kind of like this -- coming in the mail.
I'll use winter riding to get used to it, knowing full well it will become essential when the apocalypse descends.  Almost looking forward to it.


I once thought of myself as a car guy, but the most profligate I ever got meant two cars titled in my name at one time.  I'm now down to one and it spends most of its time sitting in a parking lot in Indianapolis.  Having shown such restraint, one understands why I might feel privileged, even obligated, to keep a good collection of bicycles instead. 

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