Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairytales.

Now and then I think it’s time to thin the velo-herd, so I start taking neglected bikes out for re-evaluation.

“Why are you still on a hook here after all these years?”

“Uh … because you’re a bike hoarder?”

“Oh, yeah, right. Carry on. Next!”

Now, anybody who talks to his bicycles when he’s not arguing with the voices in his head probably should not be evaluating anything without the guidance of trained mental-health professionals in a residential setting.

Yet, here we are, with all these voices and bicycles and daylight to burn. Someone has to take hold. Herself is slightly preoccupied, having the full-time job, plus the eBay side hustle and her volunteer work for the local Donk collective on behalf of The People, whoever they might happen to be.

And anyway, she only has two bikes and one voice, the one she uses to rebuke me for scattering bikes and bits all over the house.

But I digress. As usual.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff was getting a lot of love in January. There is no good reason on God’s green earth that I should (a) own this bike, and (2) like it. But I do, with its stout German gizmo hub and shifter mounted near the stem, the Gates carbon belt drive, and even the disc brakes.

And every time I think I should send it away, I treat it to some trail-and-tarmac combo platter by way of a fare-thee-well and come away cooing, “Nope, naw, nuh-uh, not gonna get rid of you. Not this time.”

Mr. Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Yesterday it was the Jones and I who were getting reacquainted in the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Both tires were flat when I pulled the Jones off its hook — no surprise, since I hadn’t ridden it in nearly nine months, and I only run 15 psi front and 20 rear. I pumped ’em up, they held air, and off we went.

Now, in my garage, the Jones is something of a weirdo, with its 170mm triple crank, wildly upright position, and swept-back H-bar atop a fork that looks like the uprights at State Farm Stadium. At a prom it would be the oddball in the oversized thrift-store duds slouching in a corner, looks like he cuts his own hair with a Buck knife and no mirror.

But it’s XT all around, with a 19.3-inch low end, and those plump 29×2.4-inch Maxxis Ardent tires soak up an awful lot of rough stuff that a 33mm cyclocross tire just ricochets off of like a stray round from the passenger window of a Civic street racer blowing the red at Central and Pennsylvania.

So, anyway, what was envisioned as a casual one-hour afternoon outing turned into 90 minutes of trails with the sun dropping faster than the New Year’s ball in Times Square.

And once again I came away cooing, “Nope, naw, nuh-uh, not gonna get rid of you. Not this time.”


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19 Responses to “Jonesin’”

  1. Chris Ivich Says:

    Sympathy and respect for the wife whom I assume understands the languages of the various voices.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      She’s not fluent, but gets the gist. When she hears the one that’s always hollering, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!” she hits the door running.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    My spouse often grumbles “why does a person with one ass need eight bicycles in the garage?” Not counting the tandem. Well, I think Patrick and I suffer from some of the same mental problems of Bicycle Hoarding Syndrome.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Will the Mad Dog ever select the weak one in the herd to cull? Nah, never happen. But, if I was still riding, I would get a new GS Mini mahogany and a pocket of cash money, come up to the stable, and play let’s make a deal. Mexican food, cerveza, and a nice merlot for Herself would be involved.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I hate to admit it, but I am playing guitar mostly not at all these days. I’m not quite sure why. I need to git back on that hoss.

      The idea of acquiring a new flute keeps creeping into my mind, too. You can really annoy a wife, a cat, and several neighbors with one of those. A pennywhistle is even better.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I borrowed a saxophone a few years back and tried to learn it. I was first banished to the garage, and then threatened that if I kept it up, someone would call Animal Control and suggest there was an elk dying in one of the canyons. I gave it back.

  4. Shawn Says:

    Unless you know that you will be making somebody else happier then you by selling it or gifting it to them, then my thought is to enjoy it. Sometimes the capitalism in our society has a tendency to coerce us with advertisements and shaming so that suddenly we feel it necessary to clean out our homes of stuff. But what’s funny, is that soon after freeing ourselves of the things we enjoyed, we quickly go out and BUY more stuff.

    With regards to the logic of freeing up space because of the bikes and other gear we have, my thought is to build (or drop in with a crane ala transformer) a nice storage shed that can take up some space in the backyards that we are no longer worrying about watering. Perhaps a shed for the Dog and his bikes, and one for Herself and the storage of all that ebay cr*p (stuff) that is acquired for future sale.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I keep thinking that someone else would get great enjoyment out of one of these bikes that I ride only occasionally. The hitch is that when I do ride one, I always enjoy it. I try to justify it by reasoning that some dudes buy sports cars, boats, whisky, and hoors. My habit is a tad less grandiose.

      The shed I keep thinking about too. The remodel in the backyard may very well include one of those. Maybe it will be a writer’s shed, where I can swear and bang my head on the keyboard without disrupting one of Herself’s Zoom meetings.

  5. carl duellman Says:

    A proper gentleman requires at least 3 bikes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m no gentleman, yet I agree. If I had to thin the herd to a trio, I’d probably go with one Steelman Eurocross, because Brent ain’t making bikes anymore and it’s such a versatile piece of machinery; the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, for the German hub, belt drive, 50mm tires, and touring capability; and the Nobilette, my only custom model.

      O, lawd, that would be a hard call, though. There are days when nothing but the Voodoo Wazoo with the flat bar, single chainring, and seven-speed drivetrain will do. Or one of the Soma Saga touring bikes for sheer comfort on a long road ride. Or. …

    • carl duellman Says:

      If I had to purge I’d probably keep the Fargo as my only bike even though it’s my least favorite. It’s just a capable bike that can morph into just about anything I want.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If The Boss ever gets her eyesight back and kicks me to the curb, leaving me with no choice but to rent a storage unit or purge all the way down to one bike, it’d be a tough call.

      Mostly I ride road, but the trail beckons from time to time, usually on Thursday, when the crowds seem to thin for some unknown reason. It’s nice to be able to easily add a rear rack and fenders for fetching stuff and foul weather.

      The Nobilette would be almost perfect. Steel frame and fork, slightly elevated BB, triple crank, nine-speed Ultegra with bar-cons, Paul cantis. The only real downside is that fat road tires were not A Thing® when Mark and I brainstormed the beast, and so I’m limited to 35mm rubber in the rear triangle.

      Not a big problem — I used to race 25mm and 28mm in cyclocross, and even in my senility can ride most of the trails around El Rancho Pendejo on 33mm. The Bianchi Zurigo Disc would make more sense, but it’s an alloy frame with carbon fork, and Mark Nobilette didn’t build it.

      Hmm. Maybe I’ll ride the Bianchi today, if the temperature ever tops the freezing point.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I think one bike is too much of an ask for the Mad Dog. That might add a voice or too to the kennel, and I’m not sure there is any more room up there. So, two it is. Jones and Saga is my call. Covers all the damn bases. Plus the rest would generate the cash to buy that van down by the river.

        The other solution is that Herb and I visit when you ain’t home, and see if a case of Herself’s fave vino wouldn’t open that garage door. Don’t worry Herb, I’ll rent the U Haul van.

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          Well since you brought me into this, and I’m close to POG’s saddle height measurement, I’ll certainly help with an “intervention “ if needed. But I’d for sure leave that Bianchi on the hook and most anything with disc brakes that couldn’t be converted to canti/v-brakes. And I wouldn’t think of cobbing the Nobilette. That would be as Jack Nicholson (as the Joker) said “rubbing another man’s rhubarb “ Pat you really think we can gain entry with only a case of wine? I’ve got a line on a good French rose.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          I wouldn’t touch the Nobilette! But, I think he has two Sagas. I would nick the one with disc brakes! Rose might do the trick if memory serves. No uhaul required. We could just show up kitted up, grab the two we wanted, and then ride ‘em like we stole ‘em. He would never catch us. Khal, you in?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I have two Soma Sagas (one rim brake, one disc), one Soma Double Cross, and the New Albion Privateer, a cousin to the Somas. The DC is a size too small (bought as a cyclocross bike) and while I have toured on it, it since has been demoted to a townie-slash-bad-weather bike, with fenders and a rear rack.

          But you’ll need to bring your bolt cutters, because everything is locked to everything else.

          I could lose the DC. I like its components, but I hardly ever ride it. These days if the weather sucks I either run or take a rest day.

          Meanwhile, I took the Bianchi Zurigo Disc out yesterday, and decided that it needs to go away. I’ve been riding cushy steel framesets for too long to appreciate its rougher ride and slightly twitchy behavior on our narrow trails; like the DC, it’s a size too small). Also, it’s the only alloy-carbon machine in The Fleet; the only SRAM bike; and has disc brakes, albeit nice ones (TRP Spyres, an upgrade from the original Avids).

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            TRP Spyres on Saga disc? They are my favorite brakes, as you all know. They were on my Soma DC, if you guys remember. Our Santa Fe ride was 4 years ago. Where did the time go?

  6. DownhillBill Says:

    Saw the real “Gentleman Cyclists” when the Brompton World Championship was held here a few years ago (in conjunction with UCI Road World’s) From bikes with laced-on leather carrying handles to tweed riding suits, those guys positively oozed class and cool. They didn’t fall over on the cobbles like some other riders either. No, not the pros of course, just the pretenders and moto marshalls.
    BTW they began with a classic Le Mans start with the bikes all folded up.

    Patrick, you should have a Brompton in the stable, just in case.

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