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Love Letters Written in Horseshit

By Julian Birch

It’s rather odd to find myself down to my lowest tally of bicycles in over twenty years. I am sporting exactly one bike (not including two old frames/projects in various states of undress, inertia and decay). My wife currently owns twice as many bikes as I do, not including her unicycle—hmm, 2.5x as many bikes then? What’s wrong with this picture? Who’s the supposed bike nut here? It’s a somewhat sad state of affairs but I try to console myself with the reasoning I can only ride one bike at a time after all.

First my old “Porsche Pink” Holdsworth hack bike went for a knockdown price that the Campagnolo seatpost alone was probably worth. Next to go was my last road bike; a real beauty harking back to the late eighties, fashioned from Reynolds 531Pro tubing, lovingly painted in lustrous royal blue flam with white lined lugs and hung with an eclectic mix of old, old, old Dura Ace (Super Record look-a-like), Shimano 600 and a rather choice Campag Super Record post—yep I liked my Campag seatpins. With that old companion went 20 years of shared history, memories of a leggy youth, hanging off the back at road races, Sunday morning club runs and busting a gut time trialling around the roads of Essex. Sold for a silly price I was sad to wave her goodbye at the station, but they are only worth what they sell for, eh? And finally the ever-evolving hybrid workhorse of a commuter went to a recently retired friend of a friend. Apparently such a strange beast seemed just the ticket for their planned travels around the country—fenders and lights were thrown in.

The modest coin from the sale of all these bikes was supposed to kick start a new bike fund (see below) though in the end the bank manager seemed to want an unhealthily large slice of the action. Oddly any anticipated extra shed space afforded by all the wheeling and dealing also seems to be disappearing without any new additions. A phenomenon I have come to know as “shed contents creep” peculiar to my chaotic wooden constructions. In its own designated, claustrophobic space sits my one bike, the “proper” mountain bike. A machine that must now serve double duty until I can finalise my budget and source my next two-wheeler of choice. And what of that planned addition to the stable? Well I am scheming to acquire a cross bike. My own strange brand of bike logic demands one of those betwixt and between machines. And I intend to work it very hard indeed. I’m expecting it will manfully discharge triple duties: commuting, offroading and the odd blast on the road (in a strictly non-commuting sense I mean). Who knows with some suitably rapid rubber attached I might even dabble with a little time trialling again. Dependant on getting a wild hair up my…. hmm, what are the chances really? However, that’s all in the nebulous future and the months of planning, research and attempted squirreling of funds haven’t produced a new bike yet. Meanwhile my lonely bike is more than earning its keep by taking on sole responsibility for every two-wheeled activity and basically being the one bike to rule them all. Commuting to work, off road excursions, little family outings with the