N + 1 = My Third Bike

8:36 PM

I’m thinking about my mountain bike today, mainly because the mechanic at my local bike shop called today to consult on my new tires - which are attached to my new wheels, which are attached to my new brakes, which are attached to my new fork!  New fork!

My third bike was purchased in the dead of winter from a dark basement, and for the least amount of money I’ve spent on any of my bikes.  It is, of course, my favorite bike.  It is a steel KHS, full XTR, 26 inch mountain bike, and it is awesome in so many ways that everyone else’s mountain bikes are not…see, that is what this bike does to me – it makes me cheeky.

The spouse and I debated for weeks before buying the little cuss (my current nickname for the KHS) – mainly about the differences between a 26er and a 29er.  In my neck of the woods, 29ers rule (not very many mountains in Minnesota), but the best deals on used mountain bikes are of the 26 inch variety.  We also talked a lot about what I wanted out of my mountain bike, and when it came down to it, I realized that my main goal was to improve my bike handling for cyclocross, and a 26 inch bike was guaranteed to put me through my paces.  My cross bike taught me to love the clean geometry of narrow steel tubes, but I didn’t think it would be possible to find a steel bike that fit me and that magically fell within my (somewhat narrow) budget.

Which brought us to the dank basement of the One on One bike shop.  Down there is a cornucopia of old bikes – you can buy parts, frames, and whole bikes,  if you can find what you want in the mess of metal.  The light is dim and the air is oppressively hot because of all the radiators, but patience is sometimes rewarded by the discovery of a bike that didn’t get any takers on Craigslist.  Which is what happened to my little cuss – the spouse saw it on Craigslist a couple of months before, and then it showed up (discounted) in the basement put up for consignment.  A little haggling and a few phone calls later, and the little cuss was down in my basement, getting cleaned for the opening of the local trails.

I went on my first mountain bike ride less than a year ago, but the little cuss has turned out to be the bike that is truly mine.  It fits, it floats under me, it goes where I want it to go (sometimes even before I realize I want it to go there), and I swear that when I crash it makes sure to land just to the side of me.  I suck at mountain biking, but my amazing bike is waiting for me to improve and gain confidence.  And the trails are waiting for spring to come, the ice to melt, and my old-school bike with its new-school fork, brakes, wheels and tires to make its debut.  

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