Dumb Questions…

25 02 2009
Why do you need so many bikes?

Why do you need so many bikes?

Fairly often I get asked why I need so many bikes – both in real life and online.  A lot of the time it’s said in jest, but some of the time people get downright snarky with me as if I paid for my bikes from their kid’s college fund.  I generally ignore these questions and move on with my life as fast as possible, but occasionally I get tweaked and ruminate on the stupidity and irony of the question.  I had one of the later moments yesterday and came up with my “Top 10 Witty Comebacks!”:

  1. Why do you need so much furniture [ie. sofas, chairs, dining room tables etc…]?
  2. Why do you need 2 cars?
  3. Why do you need new cars?
  4. Why do you need 3 TVs?
  5. Why do you need big screen HD TVs?
  6. Why do you need a home theater system and 17 speakers?
  7. Why do you need cable/satellite service for your TVs?
  8. Why do you need golf clubs, skis, snowboards, etc?
  9. Why do you need to go to the mall so often?
  10. Why are you so out of shape?

I will never argue that I don’t have way more bikes than I need or can even ride properly, but when I look around me at the stuff people buy and the things they spend their time on I don’t, for the most part, see objects or activities that make any more sense than owning 7-10 bicycles.

I also don’t go around bugging people about their life choices.  You want to have 3 big screen HD TVs, satelite and digital cable TV service as well as a 17 speaker surround sound home theatre with heated electronically operated lazy-boy recliners upgraded with built in beer fridges???…cool…enjoy…I’m too busy riding bike, working on my bikes, reading about bikes and writing about bikes to care…=-)


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17 responses

25 02 2009
Me

“as if I paid for my bikes from their kid’s college fund.” – and even if you did, isn’t that your descision how much of your income you spend on yourself and how much on the kids?

25 02 2009
Mr. CrankyPants

You mean it’s not normal to translate the price of everything into bike prices? “Hmmm, that’s a lot of money for a TV, I could buy a Pugsley for that kind of money”

I’d take adding yet another bike to the (admitterdly already excessive) fleet over a big screen TV anyday. Even if you don’t use every bike every day, they do have a pretty good shelf life.

Plus bikes don’t require expensive monthly subscriptions.

25 02 2009
Mr. CrankyPants

ooops – I meant “admittedly” not “admitterdly”. Early. Morning. Typo.

25 02 2009
JNix

I love it! I have six bikes now. So I am down from 12 about 6 years ago. Maybe my addiction is on the decline but that Pugsley is calling to me. Heck I also own a pick up truck, converible car and a vespa scooter. I guess I like things on wheels. Oldest bike is a handmade trek before they became big. Toured about 10,000 miles on it since 1979!

25 02 2009
Jeremy

Hear hear Vik.

As one who’s had a slight real life glimps into your personal life, I admire the fact that you do what you want to do. Popular culture would indeed tell you that you need a nice little BMW for zipping around the city, you ride a folding bike. Pop Cult. would also tell you that you need a big screen television with 400 channels, 300 of which are duplicates; you share your experiences and research with us, enriching our lives.

Keep buying bikes. Keep riding bikes. Keep telling us about them. I admire your bike collection, knowledge and cycling life. Cheers!

25 02 2009
Karl McCracken

The number of bikes needed is always n+1, where n is the number of bikes one currently has. I thought everyone knew that.

25 02 2009
Pat McGee

Karl,

I’ve always liked the n+1 equation. Just the other day my wife asked if the bike in the workstand was new (it is). I let her know that I had reached the stage where I wouldn’t need to acquire any more bikes. Less than 5 hours later, I said to her, “remember what I said about not needing another bike…” Oh well.

25 02 2009
Randobarf

I get that “Why do you need so many bikes” comment all the time, almost invariably from fat slobby motorists. I am just about ready to blow my top. I have run out of witty comebacks. The next time I get a stuipid comment from a motorist about the number of bikes I own I swear I am going to BEAT THEM TO DEATH! How do you like that Mr. Slobbymotor (sounds of vicious beating to death in background)! You’re not so smart now are you!

25 02 2009
Doug

I get the question, “How can you spend so much money on bicycles?” I respond with, “How can you afford a car payment on a $23,000 car, car insurance and maintenance costs?” (Obviously I don’t own a car)

25 02 2009
Dean Peddle

I thought the one with the most bikes when he dies WINS !!!! I’m buying number 6 this weekend (Tikit) but I’m sure I’m way behind !!!!

25 02 2009
2whls3spds

I got the comment the other day about how much I spend on bikes. I added it up, can’t get a decent set of golf clubs for what I have in my bikes, I have less than 6 month’s average car payment in my total bike collection, and I know some people that spend more in a bar in one night that I spend in a month on bike parts. ;>D I also get ragged on about the number of bikes I have (over 30 counting parts bikes and beaters) but I pointed out that I give bikes away to people that need and will use them…what did they do with all those extra cars they had?

Aaron

26 02 2009
anon

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful?
I think it’s fair to question someone’s lifestyle choices if they are screwing up the planet for everyone else.
Please never again compare cycling to golf.

26 02 2009
doc

They make recliners with beer fridges?

26 02 2009
Bob

My family has about 20 bikes, give or take a few. We live near a recycling center that gets a lot of bikes, so there are always bikes getting built up and sometimes bikes getting sold.

When people ask me, my reasoning goes like this: There are many families of three people that own three cars. Those three cars can cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 each, for a total of $60,000, plus parking, gas, insurance, licensing fees, and maintenance. If you add in a gym membership to make up for exercise lost while driving, you can add that in, too.

I wager that you can park six bikes comfortably in the space of one car. So their cars take up the space of 18 bikes– pretty close to my 20. And they have to have a separate structure– a garage– if they want to store their car indoors. our bikes can go into the basement. you can chalk the garage up as a car expense too, if you want to be a dick about it.

As for cost, well, our bikes might be said on average to be about comparable with bikes that retail for ~$1000. Even ignoring that many of our bikes are bought used or scavenged, my our bikes barely cover the retail cost of one car. One car! without insurance, parking gas, or the rest of it.

So while, like Vik, I agree that everyone makes choices about what they want and what they actually need, and I won’t bother someone for those choices…. When it comes down to a pissing contest about who’s being more extravagant, The driver almost always is.

4 03 2009
Craig

I was just thinking about this post on a ride today…

Now, while I agree bikes are better than all the things you listed in your original post, materialism is materialism.

Isn’t arguing that my materialism is better than your materialism sort of like arguing two sides of the same coin?

Just my random biking thoughts for the day. I’m guilty as anyone, having my fair share of bikes…

4 03 2009
vik

Craig I here ya…I wouldn’t ever argue that my bikes make more sense than someone else’s TVs…or that owning property is better or worse than owning bikes…ultimately we just gotta do our own thing. I don’t have any kids and i don’t own property – two choices that take up a lot of resources. I don’t think I’m a better or worse person for those choices. I’m just me. However, since I don’t have kids or own property I can spend more $$$ on stuff like bikes and travel.

Is that better or worse? I don’t think that question has any meaning.

4 03 2009
Craig

Well, you need to buy some property and have kids, then I won’t have bike envy every time I see a new bike that you’ve got…I used to be happy with my shitty old trek mt bike untill I started reading your blog. Now I need a big dummy, a pugsley and full suspension mtb…

Funny enough, though, with my mortgage cost, I could never find a rental for this cheap….kids, well they aren’t in school yet and are small, so they don’t cost much, yet. I’m just choosing to work less than most…got to have time to feed the chickens and milk the cow…

Yes, I think we’ve got life figured out, spend money on what’s important to us….choose rightly…live fully…

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