You know how TCIF works by now. I pose a question. You opine. Please begin now.
In 1995, I think I owned three bikes. I had a stainless-steel road bike, my first “real” road bike, an aluminum hardtail, and a fully rigid mountain bike I had set up with slicks for my around-town bike. That’s probably more than I really had money for at the time. The coming years would see an absolute cavalcade of bicycles, growing income leading directly to a two-wheeled clutter in the small office in our first apartment together, and then in the capacious basement of our first house.
In 1995, I was bike crazy (which does not distinguish it from other years), and though the three bikes I had then were lower-end models, that did nothing to curb my riding fervor. As I recall, two of those machines didn’t fit me properly. Didn’t care.
I was riding single-track as much as I could on a Stumpjumper M2, many of the same trails I ride now. It is possible I was slower then, but my handling skills were much sharper. The road bike, a Novara Trionfo with full Ultegra build, was the first one I piled miles on. It hosted my first cyclo-computer, my first clipless pedals. But the real workhorse was the townie, a converted Raleigh hardtail rattle-canned black. There are few strips of pavement in the Boston metro untouched by the tires of that bike.
This is all to say I loved riding bikes in 1995.
That year was decidedly NOT the apex of bike ownership in qualitative or technological terms, but despite that, it was close to the peak of my love for riding. To be fair, my love for riding has been at a very high plateau for a long time. The point I’m getting to, I hope, is that progression in technology, quality, value, etc., has had very little impact on my enjoyment of our sport. So I wrestle all the time with the idea that I need more or better to do what I do.
Things change. I enjoy those changes. But do I need them?
This week’s TCI Friday wonders, if all bicycle technology reverted to its 1995 version, do you think you would enjoy riding bikes less than you do now?