Monday, February 1, 2010

An homage to the beater bike, the rain bike, the training bike, the commuter bike

The beater bike. The commuter bike. The rain bike. The other bike. Call it what you will. What it means, and what it looks like, means different things to different people. It all depends on your actual or perceived needs, and how responsible you are with your money. Regardless of what the bike looks like, the fact remains, it's the other bike. It's less than. It's the mistress. It's imitation "cheese product", not actual cheese. It's Boonen's back-up dealer, the one who can only get him the so-so stuff. It's Metallica without Cliff Burton. It's the faux wood panneling on a Dodge Caravan. You get my point. Even though most people see this other bike as being less interesting, I would disagree. I love those bikes, and love seeing them on the road. They are fantastic to look at, and show the sobriety and sanity of their owners. Sanity, I should mention, is sometimes rare in bike owners. As such, I celebrate it when I see it. In a world where I see people going for a quick spin in Zipp tubular wheels, normal 32 spoke wheels are a beautiful sight.

The Spectrum
In the spectrum of bike-owning stupidity (and that's a hugely wide spectrum), thinking that you must have a bike for every occasion, type of weather and time of day ranks pretty high up there. In the middle of said spectrum you will find people who, emboldened with a pioneer-like spirit (and a seemingly endless budget) try to make make some bikes do two or three things at once.

The truth is that all bikes have a limit as to how many things they can be used for. Personally, I think a Cervelo P3 is only good for one thing (crashing in triathlon transitions), and will thus perform any other task rather poorly. I mean, you can use a watermelon as a hammer, but don't be surprised when people laugh at you for doing so, and don't be disappointed when the watermelon doesn't do a good job at driving a nail into a wall. But that's me. Someone else saw a rear-facing dropout on the P3 and instantly got a fixie-boner. And thus the bike above was born. I know I sound judgmental and dogmatic, but I can't help myself. My strict upbringing (I was potty-trained at gunpoint) tells me to point these things out, while my sub-cultural background (punk rock and such) tells me that the world should be a more relaxed, free-for-all where people live in a perpetual willy-nilly state. So excuse me if I'm conflicted. I hate saying that there are rules, even if they are driven by common sense. I hate commenting on such things precisely because it's such a dogmatic thing to do, and also because it gets into how people spend their money and commenting on choices they make...which have nothing to do with me. I mean, if there are rules, I certainly wouldn't know them...because I haven't been ridding a bike long enough to know them. I think you get the official book of rules (it's a Powerpoint presentation now, actually) after many more years of ridding than what I have under my belt/bib shorts.

So, if the Cervelo P3 with riser bars (note the Swobo stem, interesting brand cross-pollination) is in the middle of the bike-owning stupidity spectrum, and owning one bike per jersey and time of day is at one end...what is at the opposite end of said spectrum? Well, that would be the belief that one bike can do it all. One bike that can handle every single type of terrain and perform brilliantly in all circumstances. This type of thinking is sometimes referred to as the "Alessandro Ballan's Dentist Methodology". It's called that because, in putting Ballan's gigantic and powerful teeth together, his dentist assumed that they would be versatile enough cut into soft foods as well as actual slabs of metal and concrete. It's for this reason that he made them as gigantic as humanly possible. So when you see pictures of him putting the UCI gold medal in his mouth, he wasn't just posing for a picture. He actually chewed through that medal like it was made out of soft chocolate.

So, while some look to buy bikes that are so singular in their purpose that they can't be ridden in 99% of conditions, others seek Mad Max-style vehicles that can handle it all. These are the type of people who will swoon with joy when you begin to ask them:

"Can your bike..."

and before you can even finish the question, the Mad Max-bike owner will very quickly and proudly answer:

"Yes, yes it can."

It's this type of mentality that eventually drove the automotive world to bring stillborn mutations such as the Subaru Baja to market. Sedan? Yes. Station wagon? It can be. Pick-up truck? Absolutely. In the world of bikes, of course, there's the Cannondale Bad Boy. Inspired equally by the Subaru Baja and Woody Allen's movie Zelig, the Bad Boy is anything and everything to everyone. It can do everything, it can withstand any and all types of terrain. Additionally, I should mention that, much like roaches, Cannondale Bad Boys can (and will) survive a nuclear holocaust.

Cannondale Bad Boy, the holocaust-surviving cockroach of bikes

Speaking of a/the holocaust, did you see that Tour Of Poland will go through Auschwitz this year? Talk about cheery. By comparison, the Tour de France's visit to Eddy Merckx's home town this summer seems downright lowbrow, superficial and sinfully lighthearted. In order to not seem shallow, the French should make one of the Tour's stages go by a Renault factory. As someone who grew up surrounded by French cars (Renault 4s in particular) I can tell you that French engineering has hurt as many people, if not more, than the Holocaust. Which reminds me, when I went to the concentration camp in Dachau, I stood in the rain for a few seconds, staring at the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign on the main gate. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and a pair of very happy, elderly American women stood there with huge smiles. The oldest of the two proudly said, "Ha! You think Dachau is bad? This is nothing, just wait until you go to Auschwitz! Dachau has nothing on Auschwitz!" She said this in the same tone that I've often used to speak about the best all-you-can-eat Indian buffets in town. "You think Taj Mahal is good? That's should check out Bombay Palace."

But I digress.

Back to that spectrum that we were talking about before I got sidetracked by the holocaust and Ballan's teeth
So, somewhere between owning one bike per hour of the day, and the Bad Boy/magical Cervelo P3 there's the equilibrium of reason. That equilibrium tells me that the need for more than one bike is realistic for many people, but that you probably don't need enough bikes that you can match them to your jersey. I say this, of course, because my logic is never flawed, and I happen to own two bikes. For the amount of ridding I do, that seems like a good number...and perhaps will grow slightly over time. This, as a result, is the correct thing to do. You see, I needed a bike with fenders. I needed a bike that can take a rack, and can be taken on long on, and so forth. As such, I hereby officially acknowledge the fact that one bike can't do every job, sorry Cannondale Bad Boy owners.

By the way, my lefty-leaning instincts* tell me that this is the part of the post where I should acknowledge that owning two of something that most people in the world can't even own one of is a bit indulgent and gluttonous. I'm hoping that merely referencing this notion will be enough to appease some of you out there, as well as my inner pseudo-intellectual.

* These are like Spidey-senses, but instead of being something that only super heroes have, they are common in people like me, who were born and raised in largely poor and leftist countries of the world.

Bianchi with fenders (found on Flickr)

The other bike
As the unsung hero of the cycling establishment, the other bike is seldom talked about. The other bike never gets photographed in Velo News. It's seldom bragged about or even washed. Always the bridesmaid, never the my elderly effeminate neighbor Harley always says. Seriously, the guy manages to stick that phrase into every conversation I've had with him in over two years. You don't even see it coming half of the time. We'll be talking about sports, Albanian politics, rust proofing, cement mixers...somehow, every time...boom, it comes up. By the way, I sometimes think that Harley has swinger parties for other elderly people at his house. But I'm getting off track. Again.

David Millar's training bike (as seen here)

So why not celebrate the other bike? In my mind, those less-than bikes speak volumes about the needs that a person actually has. They speak about a person's history too. The triple crank that they started out with, the shifters that they first raced in, the wheels they got on a trade with so-and-so. Like a well-worn first baseman's mitt, they have character. By the way, I know I'm sounding dangerously close to the douchebags who can go on and on about the "soul" of mass produced Italian goods, but bare with me. After all, what can a brand new carbon fiber frame that looks exactly like the one on a catalog tell us about itself or its owner? All it tells us is:

Hello, I'm a new bike. My specs were determined by a guy in Michigan, and a twelve year old in Taiwan put me together. I look exactly like every other bike in my price range.

Again, I don't want to dwell on the subject of being different, or that of injecting personality where none is needed. A bike is an inanimate object, I know that. New doesn't mean bad, or boring. Conversely, cobbled-together does not mean it has "soul". If that weren't the case, cobbled together, color coordinated track bikes would be like like the Isaac Hayes of bikes. But you see, well-used objects simply have more of a story to tell. Where have they been? What are they used for? These are messages that can only be communicated by objects which have some history and thus a layered complexity in messages. In post-modern terms, they speak of plurality rather than singularity, and are imensly self-referential. Okay, I better stop going down that route...because even I'm getting sick of myself. Next thing you know, I'll be posting a six-part essay about the meaning of stitching patterns in mid-1980's cycling jerseys.

Levi Leipheimer's rain bike

The main bike
I don't dislike the new, the fancy, the well-cared for. But a brand new carbon bike can only speak about the needs of someone else...a generic someone else, that the manufacturer had in mind. It's design mimics the needs of professionals whose bikes are cared for on a daily basis by mechanics, and who have support vehicles. This has nothing to do with most of us. I know that many of you want to pretend like you're one of them (professionals)...but most of you aren't. It's for this very reason that I don't wear a full Formula 1 fire suit and helmet when I drive somewhere. Those bikes are commonly intended for a single purpose, racing (or something like it) which will happen under similar circumstances for all involved. My primary bike was cetainly designed with that sort of thing in mind, and I really love it. So it's not as though I only like old crappy ten speed bikes. It's just that brand new bikes simply speak of singular needs which I'm well aware of. This, however, is not the case for the other bike. It's for this reason that I love seeing people's second, third, fourth or fifth bike more than their primary bike. The mismatched wheels, the lights, the old steel frame with fenders. In some cases, this oddly mismatched bike has a PowerTap wheel. Does it get any better? I think not. I love bikes like that.

Michael Barry's training bike (as seen here)

Sure someone's other bike may be much nicer and more expensive than both of our bikes put together. The beater bike has sometimes never been beaten, but rather held and transported gingerly. Sometimes, as is the case with professionals, the other bike is carbon fiber. That's fine, since that fact speaks about their needs as well. These training bikes often have sturdier components, and are a fantastic mix of new and old. Perhaps I'm just another idiot fetishizing minutia within cycling, I'm open to that possibility. Perhaps I'm only a tiny bit better than the people who are amazed when every single year around April, pictures are released of pro's bikes showing non-sponsor wheels...and in some cases (gasp!), crazy things like cyclocross frames and cantilever brakes. Still, I love this stuff, what can I do? Sue me. Actually, don't. Please.

Cheapo (for his standards) Gossamer FSA crankset on Hincapie's new training bike

In my case, my second bike is a heavy steel thing, it has my old shifters, and a color scheme ugly enough to stop traffic. It works well though, and its fenders have extended the amount of days I can comfortably ride to work significantly. Soon it will have a rack and panniers. Yes, both the bike and I will look stupid, but in my opinion, there's nothing stupid about getting to ride the 15 miles to work year round (30 round trip, thank you very much). What about you? Do you have a second/beater bike? Is your main bike also the other bike? Are you Boonen's dealer? Did you make it through this insanely long and scattered post without having to go back and re-read a paragraph multiple times? Let me know.

An homage to common sense, and the magic of the other bike:

Rack, frame pump. Sweet plastic flat pedals.

Fenders, lights, saddle bag

Fenders, lights, pump, saddle bag, mismatched wheels. Sweet wood paneling.

Fenders, lights, rack...and brown plastic siding.

As always, a few last words:

- What does Jens Voigt tell his legs when they are screaming in pain?

Via Cycling Tips

- What does Jens Voigt tell his body when it's screaming in pain?

- Lastly, I want to remind you to check out my brother's podcast. New episode, check him out.


  1. I have five bikes:
    -2 road bikes (one good, one for wet weather and stuff, though am trying to sell it. wanna buy it?)
    -two track bikes. One for commuting and one for the track (new project)
    -single speed mountain bike cobbled together from old, free parts.

    And while i agree with your general distaste for modern carbon bikes, remember not all are so generic. I bought the frame, wheels, groupset, and other parts seperately and built it. This makes it at least slightly original right?
    Great post Lucho. Any chance of seeing pics of your bikes, or is that too private?

  2. Put me down for three.
    -Road bike for sucking on the weekends..
    -Single speed road bike for about-townery.
    -Cobbled together mountain bike for accumulating dust in the hallway.

    When Jens tells his legs to shut-up, do they?
    What other stuff will shut-up on Voigts command? Creaking drivetrains? Drunken Basque idiots on the hairpins? The eternal voice of the oceans?

    ...and I agree with Death Race. Put up some shots of your Sora equipped '96 Cannondale with bar end shifters and plastic toe-cages.

  3. "...and I agree with Death Race. Put up some shots of your Sora equipped '96 Cannondale with bar end shifters and plastic toe-cages."

    Haha! Ah, baked ben, you make me laugh.

  4. I love reading about the bikes you guys have. Good stuff.

    No, no. My back up bike does not have Sora. Tiagra and 105 shifters, thank you very much! It has either mavic cxp/cannondale wheels or (drumroll please) Rolf Vector wheels! Yes, the horrible red ones! They came with a cheapo used bike that I bought for my wife. They seriously make any bike look horrible in a 90s kind of way. And no toe cages. SPD shimano m520 pedals.

    As far as Jens goes, I think he tells lots of things to shut up, you're right.

    - Shut up drivetrain!
    - Shut up thunder!
    - Shut up air conditioning unit
    - Shut up Cavendish. Quit crying when I up the tempo.

  5. Cycling Inquisition should start a national campaign for "The other Bike appreciation day".

    I only have 2 bikes. My good road bike and a single speed road bike for work. I wash both bikes. I hate dirty loud bikes, a real pet peeve of mine

  6. For optimum comfort, I have a bike for each pair of pants that I own. For optimum babeage, I have a pair of pants to best court babes from every major city in the world.

  7. Great article. I am still trying to decide what I need in a second bike. I hardly have enough time to ride my "main" bike. BTW, I think that you mean Michael Barry's training bike, not Michael Rogers.

  8. You may be right, Barry not rogers...since it's a Giant and not a Scott. I guess Barry is now using a Pinarello...but yes. I'll go make the change.

  9. I have 2 bikes. Both are shit. It's like I have 2 lovers, but no wife. They are both pretty similar bikes. The both serve the same purpose: sit there most of the time and stare at me, cuz I don't ride enough. Actually I have two in case other ppl wanna ride with me... Anyway, when I ride, all I have to do is decide: blue bike or red bike. Then I put my one pair of SPD pedals on the chosen one and go. I name my bikes, too and they get jealous of each other and fight while I'm at work. I took Marcy out last weekend, cuz Boris was on the trainer and I didn't feel like taking her down. Next Monday after I came back from work, Marcy's back tire was flat and the chain was off. I think jealousy got the best of Boris. I keep them in separate rooms now.

    Oh, and please check out the new episode of my podcast, i think it came out pretty funny/good.

  10. Two bikes: (1) a red steel Serrotta Colorado III with Campy Chorus components, that I bought used (in mint condition) for next to nothing; (2) a single-speed Motobecane cross bike, I got new on-line for $300. I ride the latter all Winter (snow, slush, and ice) with Nokian studded tires. But now I want the Cannondale Bad Boy!

    SkullKrusher, good work on the podcast.

  11. Jefe, what model is the Motobecane? How old?
    Is it one of the bikesdirect ones or older? I'm looking into one myself. Do you like it?

  12. Oh, and thx for the compliments on the podcast, im glad you liked it. I think the "story time" came out pretty funny.

  13. Skullkrusher, Yes, it's the 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno on Bikesdirect. It is a great value. It comes with a 38-tooth chain ring, but I swapped it out for a 46 so I do not spin out on flats. We have alot of hills in Albany, but my commute is only 5 miles each way, so it makes for a short, but intense ride.

  14. 9.

    "road race bike" I do race, but suck at it

    "track bike", see above

    "Geared Cross Bike/commuter" See 2 above

    "Single Speed CX", this one, I've raced, and actually won a couple times

    "B" Road bike older 105 parts, can take fenders

    "Neighborhood SS/fixed", for fakengering

    "Grocery bike, SS with basket" for food foraging

    "Mtn Bike, geared", for losing traction

    "TT bike", for racing, and really sucking

    Great line about price point bieks.

  15. Maybe I'm a big softy, but all my bikes feel like "the" bike when I'm on them. Surly LHT for touring (although, this is THE bike), crappy conversion fixed for getting around town (which cost next to nothing but, but I'm still over zealous when locking it up), and a modified Dahon Jack (now looks like a cross bike with studded tires) for Montreal winters.

    I'd be tempted to say that if you have a bike you don't care about, then you don't care about bikes (or you simply have too much). Old and crappy is more likely to be well-worn and reliable. So, yes; we should always praise the "other" bike, because they're all the other sometimes.

  16. Youaretheengine,
    Love your take on this. each bike is THE bike, and we should care about them all. right you are.

    i thought surely people would comment on Ballan's teeth. Guess not.

  17. 3 Bikes

    Fancy out of the box Racing Madone

    Cobbled together Trek 8500 Mtn bike from a lbs employee's leftover refuse parts.

    Cobbled together Cross bike. Parts from my old Cannondale road bike, From a crashed Madone, And from a gorgeous Ridley Crossfire frame bought at a generous price from an old teammate and friend.

  18. I've got three working bikes at the moment, and one that I'm building (and spending way too much money on.)

    The fancy ride is a Vitali track bike. I'll be taking it to the track quite soon, and also like to ride it around on nice days.

    The "other" bike is a Centurion road frame that's been fixed-gear converted. This is the bike I spend 45 hours a week on, beating on it and delivering people's crap.

    The third bike is pretty nice, too. It's a Cilo Swiss road bike from the late 80s, with an almost-NOS-looking Shimano 600EX groupset on.

  19. "I'd be tempted to say that if you have a bike you don't care about, then you don't care about bikes" <-- nicely put! my bikes are both pretty crappy (by C.I. standards), but love them both and still cringe every time I bust my ass and they get scratched and clean them as often as possible.

    Ballan's teeth: there's a dude here at my work, who has bigger teeth than that. his name is Marcus and he smells funny.

  20. I knew I could count on Death Race and my brother to bring up Ballan's teeth. thank you kindly. you guys have pretty nice bikes i must say, awesome. i'm seriously flattered that so many of you made it through at least most of the post. it's unusually fragmented, even for me.

  21. I agree to the fact that one bike will not do it all if "all" includes racing. If "all" only means "sports and utility" a Randonneur style Road bike with sturdier wheels, fenders, lights and a rack COULD do it all.

    I say COULD because I have three bikes myself.

    The "real bike" is a vintage 1980s swiss Roadbike.
    The other bike is an ancient (as in pre-World War II) Roadtser with mix and match dumpster parts.
    Then there is the "beater" Bike, an icredibly ugly 1990s touring bike which I got as a present.
    I really don't care for that bike, don't lube its chain, don't even lock it in town.
    Tell you what: its the bike I ride most....

    What's that tell you about my personality? ;-)

    Great blog, keep it up

  22. Anonymous:
    It tells me that you are a smart and utilitarian man. It also tells me that you should lube that one bike's chain. Come on...a little TLC. be a pal.

    thank you for reading the blog. really.

  23. I've just got one. It's a Bike Friday Pocket Llama. It's pretty multi purpose and a great bike, but by no means universal. If it's really good at any one thing,

    It's confusing the hell out of cyclists when they find out it isn't your *other* bike.

    That, and being the last possibly good use for 1 1/4" headsets in the world = )

  24. Pocket Llama. Wow. I know it's nothing like it, but I got to ride my cousin's Brompton in Spain last summer...and that thing was very difficult to handle. It was oddly twitchy and very scary going down hills.

  25. yeah, but Lucho, you must admit that Brompton was surprisingly light and on the flat, it was a really fun ride. it surprised the hell out of me. plus it held up pretty well when i was driving and you were standing on the rack, or the other way around.

  26. What's the deal with the campaing against owning a carbon bike? There also seems to be a slight distaste for new bikes in the article. Am I missing something?

    I've almost always had 2 bikes: a road and a XC bike. When we (my wife and I) moved overseas (UK) we sold our mountain bikes and brought our road bikes, and have since added a more utilitairan bike to the stable, both single speeds, a Charge Plug and and mine is a Specialized Singlecross, both used for commuting.

    Now, both of our road bikes are carbon, and both have pumps, saddle bags, and fenders when it's wet. Both are also hot, sexy bikes, and they get ridden often. The carbon bikes that we had previously (before they got stolen out of our garage) we rode from the bottom to the top of the UK in two weeks last summer in the pouring rain, mine pulling an Extra Wheel (absolutly brilliant trailer). We like carbon because we like the smooth, comfortable ride as well as the performance. We also like the way it looks. We also love our cheaper workhorses and get just as pumped to go ride them as we do our fancier bikes.

    Great article and great blog (always look forward to the next post), but also a good example of how we've ALL got something to poop on to make ourselves feel a little better about who we think we are.

  27. Nothing against carbon really. I personally don't have a carbon bike...partially because I think it would be overkill for me. that's based on what i can spend on a bike and what I will do with it. I think aluminum is just fine for me, and i don't think people are wrong for having anything else. i just wanted to talk about how i like these other bikes, because they are cooler to look at as others ride them. i see your point about needing to have something to poop on. luckily, there's always Cavendish's teeth and Boonen's drug problems to talk about. i kid, i kid.

    as far as carbon bikes great is levi leipheimer's rain bike? amazing, so nice.

  28. I only have three bikes, but I still think that it's a few too many.

    Giant bowery fixed cause I was too lazy to build a cheapy and my leftover parts all got scavenged by my brother. Commuter + leisurely riding etc.

    Giant STP1 from 2006 that looks very little like an STP anymore. One big gear, lowered forks. For basically dicking around on the (small) local hill and motivating me to build jumps (that I never finish.)

    On One inbred singlespeed rigid XC bike. I like this one a whole lot, even though I only get out on it once a week.

    I think I'd regret getting rid of any of them unless I was replacing them with something else with a similar purpose in mind. I definitely don't ride the STP enough. A friend is hooking me up with a BMX for next to no money and I'm hoarding parts for a grocery bike, but my garage is too full as well.

  29. I haven't posted on here in awhile but I will throw in my hat. I have been so long out of work that I thought that I may start a bike store near where I live in KC. Consequently I have amassed something like 14 bikes to clean/fix up and resell. Forever I had two bikes a Raleigh SP1000 and a Mongoose Rockadile that I had built up from scratch. Well I sold the Raleigh (seen here: ) and started building a flat bar road bike out of a 2008 Jamis Aurora frame. Still have the Mongoose but have found a Schwinn Homegrown (built by Yeti) that I think I am going to swap parts with. So I am going to try to keep it at two but I just finished repairing/refurbishing this:

    And I think I am in love. It is so awesome. I think you nailed it by calling it the other bike though, Lucho. There just isn't some perfect word like commuter or off-road or racing, it is just what it is, which is awesome.

    By the by, Ballan's teeth were not mentioned due to the fact that all your statements about them were considered fact.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. The Jens Voigt comments are funny to me because whenever I am tired and riding or playing soccer often times I mutter things like "come on you fat piece of sh*t, effing pedal. Stop being a b*tch and go." Especially on climbing. Pretty sure that is what Santiago Botero is saying as well when he is suffering through one of those tilted head uphill pulling periods.

  32. Matt,
    both of your bikes are amazing. Titanium Raleigh? Nice.
    I used to think stuff like what Jens says outloud to his legs. Now that I've seen the way...I too shall speak out when my legs are acting like little bitches.

  33. MechanicMatt pointed me here. I'm not so much a cyclist as I am a guy that gets around, and chooses to use a bike to do it most of the time. The Trek 1200 at the bottom just before the two videos is my baby. It has different fenders and a different rack these days, but it's still my baby. Here's to the Other Bikes.

  34. when i saw the photo of david millars bike...i was thinking leiphiemer and definetly excited that was the next picture
    ever since i have had a cross bike that is the vehicle of choice...commute, train, single track...i ride it with maxxis re-fuse tires which is how i can get away with single track

  35. I have a (custom) randonneur bike with full fenders, a generator hub that powers me front and rear lights, handlebar bag and some 32mm tires. If I could only have one bike, that would be it. I can even haul a small load of groceries in the handlebar bag (it is quite large) and even more if I bring a large messenger type bag.

    My day to day commuter is a single/fixed Salsa Casseroll with a saddlebag, full fenders (I live in Seattle), and some battery powered lights. I run it into the ground, but I love the damn thing. Every once in a while I get around to cleaning it.

  36. Robert,

    Thank you for sharing. your bikes sound perfectly sensible, which is exactly what I love. I've looked at your blog before....and your orange bike is beautiful. at the risk of asking the wrong question about that type of bike, how much does it weigh? I know that matters little...since i know that my fendered bike is like 26 pounds...and it should be. just curious. i have to add that seeing all the pictures of you riding with friends is odd to me...since i'm a lone rider/commuter. don't really know people who ride its like seeing pictures that were taken in saturn to me.

  37. That is a fair question. I have no idea. Once you get the bag on front, I tend to load it down with stuff. The overall weight can vary pretty wildly. If I'm commuting, I have a change of clothes. If I'm on a brevet, I'll have a bunch of shit, including food. I know that doesn't really apply to the question, but I feel like people tend to forget about that aspect of a bikes weight (especially if it is all loaded on their back in a bag).

    One of these days I'll throw it on a scale and see. The handlebar bag itself is fairly heavy though, and my wheels are the same, thanks to deepish rims and a dynohub. I'm about 195 pounds though so I need to lose weight before the bike does.

    Re: the friends. I'm in a group that does the organized long distance rides. They are self supported though. I'm often out by myself with only my thoughts, regardless of how a ride started. I love riding alone, but it is nice to have someone to shoot the shit with too. They've become a second family over the last couple of years.

  38. An informative review about some different types of bikes. What about the right clothing and accessories to use? Can you share your thoughts about it?

  39. Thanks a lot for publishing the new good stuff for us. I’ll really get the great advantage from your good stuff. best mountain bikes


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