The winter bike is a staple steed in any cyclist’s stable.
Once it dawned on me that my destiny was a life dominated by the pull of the push-iron (a moment that came a mere twenty –minutes in to my first ride on a carbon fibre road bike) I knew I needed a winter bike.
It’s what you do.
The good bike was worth more than my car. In fact, it was worth more than the sum total of 90% of my possessions. A winter bike was needed for the schlepp of winter mileage and all its frame battering, component degrading, salt, grit and shit spraying pleasures.
A simple financial decision designed to protect the pride and joy.
The problem is that deep into winter, when the pull of the road requires quite a bit more stick than carrot, the bike waiting for you to swing a leg across its top tube is under-specced, overweight, and past it’s best.
A bit like the rider, some people might say.
People who won’t be invited when my access-all-areas Tour de France press accreditation finally comes through (it’ll be coming this year…I just know it!)
During November I quite enjoy the novelty of the winter bike. From December until March I long for something lighter, faster, and more comfortable. Something without an obsolete group-set, a battered old saddle, and a frame three inches too long for my torso.
And then I realise that some people don’t put up with this.
One of the lads in the local bike shop looks at me, non-plussed, as if to say: “…life’s too short, just ride a better bike.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t a subtle sales technique, but a genuine and zen-like calmness about the effect of road debris on expensive things.
Another cyclist I know – admittedly a retiree with a pension and a few quid in the bank – spends his winter riding a custom-made titanium creation from renowned frame builders Sabbath. It drips with Campagnolo Record group-set and Neutron wheels.
I won’t even tell you what his “good” bike is.
You wouldn’t think it fair.
None of this changes my mind about the fact that a half-arsed winter bike is a sound financial decision. But since when has cycling been about making sound financial decisions?
If anything it’s 50% riding, 30% thinking about riding, and 20% making unsound financial decisions.
Maybe life’s too short to ride crap bikes.