TCI Friday

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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.

A lot of my bikes are equipped with Shimano components. Shimano also supports TCI with useful monetary contributions to our rambling wreck of a project.

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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  1. bhackathorne says

    Mine six: FS MTB, rigid MTB, gravel bike, CX bike, road bike, eBike. Kids one MTB each; wife one road bike that has been collecting dust and cobwebs for two years.

  2. tcfrog says

    I’ve got a road bike, gravel bike, belt-drive commuter, fat tire, and eCargo bike. Hanging in my garage are my old commuter (a 26″ schwinn from my youth), a mountain bike for each kid, and my ex’s mountain bike that she barely used prior to moving out and which I only keep because my daughter might want to use it in a few years.

  3. hmlh33 says

    I ride 4. Road, Gravel, Hardtail MTB, Town bike/beater. FS MTB on 3 year horizon. So 5 seems good. But I’m getting older, so E-bikes?

  4. jlaudolff says

    Interesting question because I currently have two: a rim brake road bike, and a gravel bike that I use for commuting. The gravel bike has rigidly mounted fenders (Seattle weather etc). But I’ve been doing a lot more gravel riding and even some events and I spend a bit of time removing the fenders and mounting fatter tires for the adventures and events so I have been thinking about a second gravel bike. But in my mind, the second gravel bike is exactly the same frame and components as my existing gravel bike but with fatter tires and without the fenders. Which seems both completely practical and absurd at the same time. I’m very partial to Ti bikes made in Steamboat.

    1. Bruce Pierce says

      Road, MTB, cross, fixed, commuter with rack, BMX, old IF.
      BUT, 3 of those could be someone else’s. Plausible deniability.

    2. Emlyn Lewis says

      @Bruce – I’ve been in your garage. Your math is sketchy at best.

  5. Jeff vdD says

    I ride seven bikes
    Travel gravel
    CX up in Maine
    Fat bike

    Maybe 8 if you include the MTB I rarely ride, but rode last week.

  6. TominAlbany says

    Five going on four (or five)..
    Road, CX, Gravel/Bikepacker, New MTB, Old MTB.
    The old MTB should be retired. 21 year old bike that shifts like shit and skips the chain. But, it’s the one I have the (26″) studded tires for playing in winter. I’m deciding what to do with it.

  7. albanybenn says

    5, all ridden at least monthly. My Surly Ogre and Salsa Fargo are in heaviest rotation currently.

  8. alanm9 says

    3. Litespeed T1sl Disc weekend road bike, Vitus communter/all-rounder, and ancient Mercier fixed gear. My wife has a Giant hybrid and a custom Steve Rex tourer. At one point we had 14 bikes but that was silly, right…?

  9. ianrcr says

    Not counting anything hanging on the wall right?!
    8, although 6 that are clearly mine
    Steel, rim brake road frame
    Carbon road frame
    FS MTB
    Ritchey breakaway cross (travel gravel)
    Old alloy road frame currently commuter (may swap for an ebike)
    Wife’s steel hard tail MTB, which I may ride from time to time…
    Friends mtb (good loner)
    I keep pretty good rotation but can envision further paring down when life priorities change😁

  10. Dan Murphy says


    1. Seven Evergreen that is used 99.99% of the time, road, gravel, and whatever
    2. Merlin Road bought new in ’97, have barely touched it since I got the Seven in ’16. Should sell it.
    3. IndyFab Planet-X bought used as first gravel bike. Barely used since ’16
    4. Santa Cruz Superlight ’03 – barely used since ’16
    5. Bridgestone MB-3 ’89(?) – tourista bike
    6. Bridgestone MB-2 built with cobbled parts for a practice trials bike (don’t ask). Wife has used it as an mtb

    Two mtb frames, Fat Chance (my second mtb) and Merlin (bought used, not sure why)

    If I were young(er), I may have more bikes that actually get used. However, I would only have one of each discipline. I would not be able to decide which bike to use if I had a choice. As an old guy, I don’t exactly push the limits of my bike and the Seven serves all purposes quite well.

  11. trabri says

    Bikes I use:
    90’s MTB (commuter), hardtail IF and dualie MTBs, retired CX (gravel), road (indoor trainer), cycle truck (pupmobile).
    Not so much:
    IF SS, 160mm enduro, DH, old timey 60’s cruiser, plus a couple of “future” projects.
    I might have a problem.

    Not so much:

  12. Barry Johnson says

    Both Road Bikes, one semi modern- Ritchey Logic Campag Record 11 Speed, the other a 1994 Pinarello Stelvio I restored with 9 Speed DT Shifting Campag Record. My mood determines which I ride. Both ride like a dream. I am spoiled owning those bikes.

    No more mtb bikes, I crash far too often and am now on blood thinners, possibly for life. Won’t miss it, would rather hike those same trails.

    I do miss having a utility/winter re: road frankenbike with snow tires or a steamroller style gravel thingee.
    It’s the lowest amount of bikes I have had since 1992. N+1 be damned.

  13. Wyatt says

    6, 4 of which get rider. With some regularity.

    It gets complicated in the basement though as my wife also has 5(3 regulars)and each of our two son’s has 3. 17 is a lot to manage but also the best problem ever…

  14. Onrhodes says

    Seven total
    IF – Crown Jewel – road bike
    Ritchey Outback – multi-surface bike
    Ritchey 650b – hardtail
    Trek Farley – fatbike
    Niner Jet9 – full suspension
    Salsa Timberjack – dedicated bikepacking bike
    Specialized Vado SL 4 – e-bike for commuting

  15. cramissor says

    I’m down to 4! But I’m scheming to replace one and add another so it might be 5 at some point soon. I think it’s a mostly reasonable mix: full suspension mountain bike, hardtail mountain bike, flat bar converted gravel / groad bike and a mid 80’s Stumpjumper that is a size too big and I never ride but can’t seem to get rid of.

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