The World’s Greatest Bike

The greatest bike in the world isn’t the featherweight carbon rocket you might imagine. It’s not the fastest or lightest or anythingest bike. It’s never won a Tour de Wherever, it won’t help you win any Strava KOMs, and it wasn’t handmade or fillet brazed. In fact, if you had the chance to ride it, you’d probably pass.

The greatest bike in the world isn’t a bike you’d want to own, because it’s actually your spouse’s. That’s right—the 30-pound aluminum flatbar commuter that sits in the garage astride your bespoke machine. It’s the bike you were finally able to convince your better half to try. It’s the one they’ve come to love, and so—therefore—should you. 

In my case, the greatest bike in the world is a white Cannondale Quick—aluminum frame, flat bars, triple ring. The slaaaaack geometry belies its name, and the 32mm file-tread tires ensure its top speed barely breaks the double digits. But the exaggerated bar height, the sloping top tube, and the infinite gearing make it perfectly unintimidating. Not to mention the plush saddle that, while not suitable for extra-long rides, is ideal for sub-hour excursions. In short, it’s a self-propelling chariot that performs best at a jogger’s pace, which turns out is just right for taking in your neighborhood. 

And actually, the Quick has a number of features that even the snobs would appreciate—from the tastefully anodized hubs and matching seat post to the aero-esque rims. Even the paint is semi-dynamic and reminiscent of more performance-oriented Cannondale models of yore. 

We bought the bike (serial #ICC018A10801) in the midst of the COVID lockdown from an honest-looking bloke in a Craig’s List ad. The price was good, seeing my wife make short work of a hill she used to struggle up on her old thrift-store junker was even better, but the smile on her face as she crested was the real treat. It was her epiphany, the kind of smile I remember having the first time I overcame whatever obstacle confronted me when I started riding. She was stoked, and that was new. 

Bikes were previously not a source of stoke for her. Bikes were something I initially spent a couple hours riding on weekends, before those rides stretched into the afternoons, then day trips to races, etc. For many years, bikes were the space between us, but suddenly, atop that neighborhood hillock, she suddenly understood. She understood what I get from my big days out, the joy and the satisfaction. That experience lowered the drawbridge between her and my cycling habit. And now she asks where I’m riding this weekend. And when I answer, I get an oh, cool! where once a stoic frown would amplify the silence.

And how cool is that? Almost as cool as a midweek roll through the neighborhood with my wife on her Cannondale Quick—my greatest bike in the world. I’ve never actually ridden it (other than to test the brakes for her), but it’s made taking my carbon rocket on long sorties less guilty, more enjoyable, and occasionally something to celebrate with her (“Guess what? A new PR!”). But best of all is seeing the late-afternoon sunlight playing off the curves of the Quick’s glossy frame, and my wife perfecting a smooth cadence up that once dreaded climb, smiling all the way. 

That’s a QOM you won’t find on Strava.

Join the conversation
  1. Jeff vdD says

    Such a great read and a spot-on insight … my partner went from the one old MTB she had when we started seeing each other to a set of three regular rides (gravel, fat, and MTB) plus a road bike in reserve. Only the gravel bike was acquired new, and it didn’t crack the $1k mark. All are fantastic machines!

    1. Miki Vuckovich says

      My favorite bike (that I own) is a mid-90s Bridgestone MB-5 I got at the Goodwill for $39.99. I stripped it down to the bolts and rebuilt it, and it rides fantastically, except the rear thumb shifter won’t stay in first gear. But small concession for the joy of a classic throw-around 3×7 (I mean 6) bike that is the one I ride with my wife. So, it generates the best memories, as well. I recommend everyone find a nice vintage MTB at your local thrift store, and restore it and be stoked to have something you can just ride and not feel so protective about. I think these bikes are also less intimidating for others we may be riding with who are newer cyclists, or who are on similarly vintage bikes. It makes it more fun and validating for them.

  2. alanm9 says

    Giant “Cypress LX”, gets 50 miles on a tank of craft beer, gobbles up railtrails at mind-numbing double digit speeds. Greatest Bike in the World under the Prettiest Girl in the World.

    1. Miki Vuckovich says

      Amen. The best bike is the one you ride the most.

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