The bicycle cycle

There’s a well-ridden path that will be familiar to most riders who have immersed themselves in cycling.

We begin with a modest enough machine, convinced that it’s more than enough for our needs and won’t need to be replaced for many years. And of course strictly speaking that’s true.

But then the miles go up and the interest deepens and broadens to embrace lots of little cycling sub-cultures. And it becomes clear that the mid-budget sportive machine we thought would suffice for any cycling purpose doesn’t really cut the mustard for that crit race we seem to have entered. Or the time trial. Or the multi-day mountain epic we’ve got planned for the summer. Or the 300km audax we signed up for on a whim. Or the mixed-surface cross-country adventure ride…

Before you know it, there are three bikes in the shed and an increasingly pained expression on your partner’s face whenever you utter the words ‘bike’ and ‘shop’ next to each other.

Each new machine scratches the itch for a while. The shiny new featherweight carbon racer with the uncompromising frame geometry and super-stiff frame seduces you so completely that you genuinely think for a few blissful weeks that there will be no need for anything else.

But then the N+1 monkey is back on your shoulder, whispering sweet new-bike nothings into your ear. Before you know it you’re online again, skipping breathlessly from one online retailer to the next, ogling the hardware and reminding yourself that life is no rehearsal. You’re a good person. You work hard, dammit. You deserve to be indulged every now and then.

It could be so much worse. It could be sports cars or yachts or class-A drugs. And anyway, isn't this exactly what credit cards are for, right?