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N + 1 and all those reasons

Written by Fiona July 26 2013

The question is always: How many bikes should one person own? The answer is N + 1, where N is the number you already own! Every cyclist and triathlete I know chats about their next bike or the next bike that they really “need”. Then comes the second and third questions. How to finance? And how to sneak the bike past the partner? Answers might be: Tell your partner you can’t live without the new bike; look unhappy for days on end until they ask what is the problem; buy them a lovely bike, too.

Our house – and I do mean our house not garage or shed – is currently home to five bikes. There are others in the garden sheds. One more bike is with a friend. Every single bike is worth more than my car! (We are insured, obviously.)

While this many bikes might seem excessive the bikes all serve a purpose with bikes for off-road trails, a winter training bike, a summer training bike, a time trial bike etc. Rather like running shoes for different terrains and events, we have bikes to suit a range of needs. But I still have that N + 1 urge. At the start of last winter I was on the look out for a cyclocross bike. I ended up buying a lovely Canyon Aluminium road bike instead.  But I still have a hankering for a useful cyclocross bike.

imgres-14I can easily justify the need for this bike! Of course I can. The roads in Glasgow are filled with potholes and in places like an off-road track. I cycle in and out of Glasgow a lot. I am also keen to make better use of the cycle routes in Glasgow and these include canal and river paths, which are often better suited to more robust and grippy tyres. None of my own road bikes will do the job. I also fancy taking part in a few cyclocross events over the winter months just to keep fit.

And then there’s my desire for a mountain bike. My Kona Lava Dome mountain bike has been described as retro! It was bought before I new much about cycling and it offers no suspension benefits. So a new mountain bike could also be popped on the N + 2 list. And the desire for another road bike never goes. I could sell a couple of my bikes and buy something lighter and flashier. But to be honest, it’s the dreaming and the window shopping that I really enjoy! Tell me about your N + 1 “needs”!

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