It took me a long time to get around to buying a new bike. The discussion in our family went a little different than most. Usually, cycling zealot of the family has to whine and beg and cajole significant other into allowing the purchase of a new bike. The argument is usually supported with many incontrovertible facts, “My bike has gone through 100,000,000 fatigue cycles and it’s an accident waiting to happen,” etc., etc. The truth is you just want a new bike. In our family, Susan was telling me to buy a new bike for years. It is my primary passion (I already filled up the house with computers, satisfying my other passion), and I deserve a good bike. I was resisting for a long time because most of our weekend riding was on the tandem and it seemed wasteful to buy another bike that wasn’t going to get used very much. So, I finally decided that a new bike was in my future. Then the question was, what kind. Aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, steel, Serotta, Trek, Litespeed, what to do, what to do. So after agonizing over this for a couple of years, I finally came to the conclusion that I had a Cannondale, I liked my Cannondale, it was good value, so I should just buy another Cannondale. Which I did. I had gotten a gift certificate to WheelWorks for some web site work I did for another club, and it was burning a hole in my pocket, so we hied ourselves over to WheelWorks to buy a bike. As it turned out, this was pretty lame reason for buying a bike, since the certificate barely covered the sales tax. But it spurred me into action. We looked at the Cannondales, and completely out of character for me, ended up buying a model that cost twice as much as the other one we were looking at (same frame, better components) and really the only reason was the higher priced one came in Mario Cippolini red. Talk about impulse buying.
Now, this was the first new bike I had bought in a long time, almost ever. Most of my bikes were acquired used, or built up from spare parts laying around. So, I was very careful of it. I tried never to ride it in the rain, which mostly succeeded until one fateful century where we had about 99 miles of rain. I even took it into the bike store for maintenance instead of mucking about with it myself. This was also because of an irrational fear of integrated shifters — the whole drive train was completely foreign to me (I did subsequently manage to change a broken cable with only two tries).
So, for quite a while it was my new bike. I realized after a while that I had owned it for six years, and about 14K miles, but I still thought of it as my new bike.
So, it’s finally starting to happen. My new bike is losing its luster. It’s showing the signs of age. Bits of rust are appearing around the cable guides. The handlebar tape is acquiring a distinctly unpleasant feel from many days of being subjected to my greasy hands after downing a bag of chips with lunch. It makes occasional creaking noises, not unlike me in the morning. Not to mention the customization of the paint job that happened on an arrowing expedition when we had a spray mishap.
Then I noticed I was missing the right handlebar plug and the tape was starting to unravel. This was a clear indicator the my new bike was becoming one of “Jack’s bikes” which are in general the object of horror or ridicule to most of the cycling community. It’s a slippery slope, but it’s only a matter of time. Maybe it’s time for a new new bike.