Disgruntled has advanced the theory that the ideal number of bikes is N+1, where N is the number of bikes you currently own. I like that idea.

Especially as I bought this a while ago.

Honestly, there are reasons apart from ‘Ooo, shiny new bike’. Partly as it wasn’t: it’s quite an old bike with cantilever brakes, 21 gears and a chromoloy steel frame which is why the previous owner traded it in for an aluminium bike.

So why have I bought it?

I’ve been looking for a bike for some time to use as a spare: the Xtracycle is in use every day so any ‘down time’ is a major problem at the moment, and the last brake adjustment was made while siting next to a lamppost in Stuttgart. Okay, we have the Bakfiets, but that’s a bit of a tank and a real beast if I need to climb any real hills. Bike N+1 is for emergencies so I have a backup if I have an appointment somewhere and the Xracycle isn’t working so well. On top of this it’s tatty old bike so I’ve noithing to lose by trying stuff out on it…

Β I can’t take the Xtracycle to the UK in August because British train operating companies grasp any excuse to avoid carrying bikes and the extra length will probably be taken as a sign of the coming apocalypse by some railway official who will refuse to countenance taking the thing on his nice clean train. I can’t afford a folding bike, so a normal sized bike will attract less attention.

I work with young people a lot, and many of them like to come cycling, sometimes on longer tours. Not all have serviceable bikes and it would be great to be able to invite someone who doesn’t own a bike and say “Don’t wory about a bike, you can use mine”.

It gives us a breather when Eldest Son outgrows his current bike, and it means that I have at least one chromoloy frame in reserve*, so in the absolute worst case scenario, if the Raleigh frame on the Xtracycle gives out, we won’t have to prune the money tree too drastically for a replacement.

If you read those fast enough, it almost sounds reasonable. All the bike needs is a clean and it’ll work something lovely. Well, when it’s got new tyres. And a shorter headset; a V-brakes; and that saddle needs replacing, and so do the handlebar grips, and…

*Just after I bought this, someone gave me an elderly Giant with a Chromoly frame for free, but there we go…

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