First off, I have too many bikes. Like actually. At least I can recognize the problem?
10 bikes for 2 people...
Well it's 2 bikes for one person (reasonable), 5 bikes for me (ehhhh), 2 bikes that are to be sold. So I'm the glutton.
How did it come to this? What happened to my glorious one-bike life?
The generosity of humans, the insecurity of myself? For years, I had one bicycle. A specialized allez fixed gear conversion. I rode it everywhere. I rode it to and from work at the hospital, I'd ride it through downtown Oakland to get a $7 haircut in Chinatown, I rode it to and from grad school when I moved to Minnesota, and whether it was a weekend ride to Stillwater, or cruising around town to get donuts at Sarah Janes or Bakers Wife, that bike was my easy, no thinking, always ready-to-go bike. That bike let summer days on the greenway biking to the lake, turn into afternoon tacos, which leads to after dark beers. The bike did everything I wanted.
Why buy another bike?
I wanted to do more with the bike. I loved biking, I wanted to continue through the winter, and so I mustered up the money to buy a fat bike. I got the itch to see winter biking. Fat bikes were a burgeoning market and the Surly Pugsley was the only 'mainstream' choice (Surly comes with that sweet first to market advantage). I bought a bike from a then-local company called Framed. The Minnesota 1.0 was the most I had ever spent on a bicycle...or frankly any single item. However, to honor the purchase, I rode it through the winter, everyday. And while it was only 2-3 miles each way, I rode through snow storms and temps down well below 0 F #notcountingwindchill. I rode the winter fat tire loppet race, and when morc asked for fat bikers to pad the new wirth trails, I was there. I bought that second bike for a purpose.
Things started to fall apart as I started to ride more and more. I started to notice bike fit. I knew I rode more than lots of people, but I could never, ever feel comfortable bombing downhill on the fixed gear and I could not ride no-handed. "Maybe it was my skill," I thought. It puzzled me, but whatever.
I was cheap. Plus, I do not like fussiness, especially around gear.
Durability. Reliability. Versatility. Low maintenance. These were the unspoken commandments of my gear exploration and I was well past my five year mission. Occasionally, I'd explore a new world, and come across someone, typically a roadie, and I'd ask them about bike fit. To me they sounded like aliens from a planet where they talked about "the new frame has 20 more millimeters of effective top tube length" and "I saved 100 grams by converting to a carbon seat post" followed by an exclamation of "I forgot to mention the increased compliance." In a fixedgear-commuter centric, slightly jingoist mode, I deemed these to be kind aliens from a fussy, don't ride enough, more money, than sense, $300 for a bike fit, 5 bikes in the garage, I never ride them, I don't want to hear about it anymore, why am I still here, I'm sorry I ever asked about bike fit, please oh please let me just ride my bicycle, never again going on a group ride, lycra lycra lycra P.O. number SPD, Thompson seatpost, Ritchey stem BLVD, in Cane Creek headset, QBP, USA.
Numbed and uninterested at the cataloguing, I found I could end the conversation quickly by saying something like, "My bottom bracket is cup and cone, white bear lake."
To add to my frustration, all these machinations seemingly revolved around the bike being "too slow." Too slow? I also have a solution for that: Train more. Or just stop caring.
But I felt the unavoidable coming. Like a slow, but unstoppable illness: the bike did not 'fit' me. To compensate for being two sizes too small, I had intuitively placed like a foot of seatpost showing and the saddle mounted waaaay outside the 'safe' markings on the rails, and boy oh boy, going downhill with that thing, I did it, but my seat to bar drop was 3-4 inches and I always felt like I was one front brrraake from going over the handlebars. Bike fit fever would consume me, I knew, and forever change my life. What did I do? I had a choice to make.
I ignored it and rode the bike in exactly the same set up for two more years.
Two more years!
What have I learned?
The main thing is to ride bikes. They are freedom. They are health. And one or two should really cover it. Sell the rest. But if you have questions about fit, let me know, perhaps I can make use of my dizzying venture down the rabbit hole.