While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is
nis the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as
sis the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
Prior to moving to Cedar Rapids, IA, we used to live in San Diego, CA. My wife and I went to Sports Chalet and bought rigid Bianchi Timberwolf, her's was metallic orange and mine was black. I think that was 1997 or 1998. That was my jump off point into cycling as an "adult". We enjoyed those bikes and bounced around San Diego on those little rascals for quite awhile. When our daughter got into the picture I got her a copilot bike seat, and she loved that. We still have those bikes. I turned by black beast into a singlespeed and her's became a permanent fixture on the indoor trainer. Rock solid bikes. This bike is N.
The last couple of years we lived in San Diego, my coworkers got me into mountain bikes and trail riding. I got my first bike in 2004 after riding loaners (N+1). It was a 2003 Jamis Dakar and was a great starter full squish bike. In retrospect I shoulda/coulda gotten a better spec'd hardtail for the same money. But that thing was confidence inspiring despite the shitty clipless pedals it came with causing a lot of shin damage.
After moving to Cedar Rapids, I found the trails and started riding. I usually felt that the bike was overkill due to the suspension and how I rode, and how often I rode. I had a lot of guilt trying to break out for some daddy time and found I was not riding that much. I enjoyed it but could not do it. Bullshit. I started eeking out time during the work day to ride, taking off early from work here and there, and commuting when possible. Most commuting was done on that rigid Bianchi Timberwolf. These two bikes became N.
I had been eyeballing the Surly Krampus for sometime. My wife heard me complain and whine. She is incredibly patient. And kind. This bike became the N+1. She must of got worn down from all my talk. She said I should get it if it will
I found one on eBay and bought it after some deliberating. I put a lot of miles on it and love it. I rode it 2-3x times a week on single track, commuting, family rides, whuteva. But there are some limitations to that bike. The enormous 3" x 29" tires are not ideal for commuting on a 85% asphalt/concrete route. I had some 29x2.3 Geax Tattoo lites on there and that really made it fun but took away the awesome nature of the bike on dirt. I really love to get dirty on that pig. The first time I rode it, I was just blasting thru snow piles with a ear to ear grin. Then on the trail with berms, fuggedaboutit. So fast when pointed downhill and traction for days. A 1x10 drivetran and flattish area i rode mostly were made for each other. I commuted a fair amount in the summer and fall and found I often gassed out on that bike. I was super-stoked.
I love the fun geometry and float on loose dirt and sand, I love the ability to roll over a lot of stuff due to the giant wheels. January of 2014, the CFO of the family gave me the reluctant nod to get a new bike. This became N really fast. 13 months.
I was looking for a bike on Craigslist for my brother-in-law and stumbled upon a used Surly Straggler. Enter N+1, again. After more whining and pissing and moaning... I got it Monday.
So happy. So tonight i took another ride on her, 16 degrees F. No wind. No precip. $25 magic shine chinese knockoff. Smooth, capable bike. I excited.
Only one stipulation regarding this bike: If I don't lose 20 lbs by May, I have to sell a bike. She knows me. :)