i'm the opposite of Andre hard hands soft brain
Bah. Anything but!
(Ian, I'll preface my following comments by saying I hope they will be within the pervue of your opening call for responses, re: the hierarchical needs of cyclists)
Looking at my stable of bikes, I realize by ownership I must
weigh security high among my needs to be satisfied -- (except for Sherpa) all my bikes are old
! I go about 20 years between acquisitions! If one measure of security is stability, I'm there, Man!
I court my bicycles before purchase by doing careful research. I date a few by looking in showrooms, comparing catalog specs, and going back a few times for one more look-see. Then...I commit. And, once committed, I am loyal and faithful. The 1977 Nishiki (my first "real" road bike) is still in the family -- I sold it to my father who in turn could not bear to sell it on (this mechanical sentimentality may be a family trait). I bought the 1970 Raleigh Gran Sports used 27 years ago -- outdoors and in a rainstorm -- at the end of a 63-hour stretch of deadline-induced wakefulness when all common sense had abandoned me. When the sun came out, I found the wheels had been laced and tensioned to a high standard for al dente pasta and all the bearings were so rough they could double as rock polishers. Of course, that meant I had to restore it rather than sell it on (commitment, remember?) and then when I found the original plastic Simplex derailleurs were junk, it was reborn with all-early '80s Japanese road components and a set of gorgeously drilled Stronglight 99 bis
chainrings. There's the 1971 Windsor Professional (also used, and at USD$20, too hard to pass up even though it sat through two winters' snows in the high Cascades when it failed to sell in the owner's garage sale), the 28- and 31 year-old Centurions, and the two "new" bikes -- the 1989 tandem (bought used) and Miyata 1000LT (bought new at a discount NOS as a couple year-old bike that had been lost off a dealer's inventory and couldn't be sold as a current model). There's a few bare frames in there, as well.
My car is old, too. A 23 year-old hatchback that was warmed-over considerably as an homage to my tuner-shop days. I've never found anything better for my needs. So, it stays on.
Andre struck a nerve when he admitted to a tool fetish; I have one, too. Yes, I have feelings for my ratchets and sockets and such and you'd have to pry the Mitutoyo digital micrometer out of my cold, dead hands to get it. They're a means to my expression and accomplishments; the tools of a craftsman. In a very real way, my bicycles are an extension of this. They are favored tools for an intended job, a feeling reinforced by a shared history. I don't necessarily anthropomorphize the bikes (really?), but I do find myself describing our (see?) trips together using the royal "we" (yep), as neither of us (toldya) could ride without the other (methinks Danneaux is
attributing human characteristics to an object). There's a synergistic co-dependency there, and the sum of the whole really is greater than the parts.
I just really hate to get rid of favored tools. Beyond soggy sentimentality, there is something about a tool you can reach for and use without thinking. My bikes do that. They're irreplaceable to me, and that's why I keep them. It really is about security of the über-familiar.
Anybody else crazy enough to hang onto old bikes forever and consider a sale the same as turning an old friend out into a chilly, stormy night without so much as a slicker? Does keeping them maintain your sense of history in a tangible way, or satisfy some need? Or are you a serial owner, as are many I meet, where one bike makes way for another in an annual succession of new-for old?
I'd love to hear.