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I felt attacked, and I got defensive. My wife sat at the kitchen counter across from her mother. I had just received word that my new bike (more on that soon) was shipping from my buddy Andrew’s shop, and I said so, out loud, which was probably my mistake. “Jesus,” my wife said, “how many bikes do you need?” and she smirked at me, and my mother-in-law turned and looked at me. I felt small then, just like a little boy who’s eaten too many cookies. I had probably, at this point, also eaten too many cookies.
“I don’t have that many,” I sputtered.
Then I turned to my mother-in-law and offered as a fact that I currently own fewer bikes than I had ten years ago when we moved to the house we live in now. Without saying how many I’d had then, this seemed like a clever, albeit evasive, maneuver. She blinked. I recognized immediately and mercifully that she didn’t care at all.
“How many do you have?” my wife said.
“Well, right now, including the one on its way here now, just five: two mountain bikes, a gravel bike, a road bike, and a fixed gear basket bike,” I said. This felt good. Just five. That’s not too many. Is it? Or is it a lot? I sat in a small puddle of doubt, perhaps not sure what the proper context is for the possession of bicycles in modern society.
She slipped then. “What about that other mountain bike? What about the eBike?” But I sold the other mountain bike, and the eBike I bought for our oldest son. That’s his bike, not mine. This is what’s called, I believe, ‘plausible deniability.’
Given the world I live in and how I organize my life, five doesn’t seem like too many bikes. It seems pretty conservative actually. When we moved here, I sold my tank cruiser and two other fixed gear projects, as well as an old Moser road bike that didn’t really fit me. Oh, and my BMX bike. Yeah. I was rolling pretty deep before. But now, now my wife conceded it wasn’t so bad.
Now you can get to the washing machine no problem at all. I don’t have a problem. I can quite whenever I want.
This week’s TCI Friday asks, how many bikes do you own? Just count bikes that you ride, not all the bikes in your house. Am I in the ballpark of what a bike person might reasonably possess? Or am I coloring outside the lines? I still want to replace that BMX bike. Shh. Don’t tell.
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