I own a lot of bicycles. No, I don’t collect them, I USE them and each has its own purpose. I have two travel bikes that fold up into normal suitcase size for taking with me on Airline flights on my numerous travels. I have two mountain bikes, primarily as heavy duty training bikes but also for some off road riding. Then I have two road bikes for comfort and speed over long distances. Then I have a one speed fat tire beach cruiser and a fixie just for fun.
I know what a lot of people will say, that having five bikes is great if you are rich but the rest of us “cant afford it”. Just for perspective, I use my bikes for transportation – I bike to stores, I bike to restaurants, and when I go to the gym, I bike there too. The national average cost for cars when you include gas, oil, maintenance, and insurance is 57 cents a mile. If you do just 5 miles of errands a day on your bike, and thats hardly anything, a high quality ultegra equipped road bike will pay for itself in just a year! All of my bikes have paid for themselves many times over.
Which bike I use depends a lot on which are in running shape. I do bike maintenance in batch mode for efficiency so when one bike gets a flat or needs a new chain, I just put it in the back of the shed and grab another bike. Then, when I am down to one or two functioning bikes, I order all the parts needed for maintenance and do them all at once. Its the engineer in me, and besides, it assures that no one bike gets its feelings hurt by not being ridden enough :)
OK, this is my oldest and favorite bicycle from company that has been out of business for a long time. “Airborne.net” was a company that sold titanium bikes over the internet, the first I believe. It was a great bicycle and the styling is cool and unique as the top tube is swollen like a Zeppelin. I believe I got this in the mid 90’s but don’t quote me on that. It has ultegra components and I have tens of thousands of miles on this bike and lord knows how many tires, chains and cassettes I have worn out on this beautiful titanium bike.
This beautiful road bike is actually a travel bike as well and I have named it my “super tanker”. If you look closely you can see the finely machine titanium connectors that allow the frame to separate and fit into a soft sided suitcase. I had the bike custom built and its a tank. Purposely overbuilt to be rugged and reliable on bad roads in countries where the nearest bike shop might be 500 miles away. I am a heavy guy and when I load up the panniers with 50 pounds of food and gear it can make the total weight of me + bike + gear well over 300 pounds. With that kind of weight over bad roads you need a STRONG bike to avoid mechanical breakdowns. The frame is steel which is perfect for rugged treks like this and the wheel are actually designed for use on tandem bikes so they can handle the huge weight. The bikes are disc brakes with 210mm rotors to stop me downhill in the rain with my heavy load. This is a bike is reliable and I love it. On my last 200 mile race, I used this bike even though it weighed 42 pounds by the time I put snacks, water , and spare tire/tubes on it. I could have used my beloved Airborne Zeppelin which weighs well under 20 pounds but all it takes is one broken spoke and I would have not been able to finish the race so I used my supertanker, slow but reliable
My first full suspension bike. This is now really old and worn out so I just use it around town and in my Kurt Kinetic Trainer in the winter time. Unfortunately, with all the components that are worn out, its just not economically feasible to put it back into top shape so I replaced it with the below hard tail bike from the same manufacturer.
Motobecane Ti FlyTeam
I love titanium for a frame material, durable and light. My Airborne Zeppelin has served me well for decades so I decided to get this titanium top end bike from Motobecane – no regrets! XTR components make it a dream to ride. This is a “29er” bike and I prefer this to a traditional MTB, a much better size for my tall body. I use this bike for about half my rides. After riding a full suspension bike, I decided that a hard tail is better for me and this frame is beautiful! Motobecane is a bike that is sold only thru the internet by bikesdirect.com and its about half the price of an equivalently equipped bike sold at local bike stores.
Pro Tip: If you like doing your own bike maintenance then buying over the internet is a true bargain. If you don’t have mechanical aptitude then buy from your local bike shop where lifetime tune-ups are typically included in the purchase price.
Bike Friday New World Tourist
This is the bike that has seen many countries and probably has more than 100,000 frequent flyer miles! I have taken it thru Europe at least three times. Its pictured here in full travel mode with four panniers for food and gear. The weird contraption on the handle bars is a camera trapeze which doubled as a resting position for comfortable looking around while in towns. This bike is 15 years old and its still awesome! It packs into a normal hard shell Samsonite suitcase.
Bikes of days past
Unfortunately this beautiful bike I had to let go. It was my bike on the other side of the country and it didn’t make economic sense to ship it back home :( I love fat tire bikes and my next bike will probably be a fat tire. Riding on the beach at low tide with a fat tire bike is nothing short of euphoric.
Schwinn 5 Speed Cruiser
This bike I recently let go to a collector because I wasn’t using it any more. I bought this bike in 1979 which was my first year in college and this bike served me well for the 30 years till I sold it.