Monday, March 25, 2019

I've Got Your "Forever Bike" Right Here

Good morning!  Or for those of you living in Australia:

,,ƃuᴉuɹoɯ pooפ,,

Since I know you're upside down.

To start your week off right, first eat a nutritious breakfast that's chock full of nutrients (pretty sure Froot Loops contain the full complement of vitamins), then read my latest Outside column about how many cyclists are lured by the siren song of the so-called "Forever Bike:"
At the moment I think my oldest bike* currently in service** is my Ironic Orange Julius Bike:


My archives indicate I bought the frame on a popular Internet auction site for $150 in 2008, so it's not even very old in the grand scheme of things.  Still, I certainly didn't plan for it to be a "forever bike."  Rather, I'd been intrigued by the Pompino for awhile since back in the aughts there really weren't too many frames like this available here in Canada's dried up udder--and by "like this" I mean steel singlespeed frames with rack mounts and fender eyelets and decent clearance and stuff.  (Though by today's standards the tire clearance is minuscule***, funny how frame spacing fashion fluctuates like pant cuffs.)

So yeah, if in 20 years the IOJB is still in service and all my other bikes have been replaced then that would mean...well, something.

Anyway, spring has sprang, and here in New York the weather is very gradually improving:


Spring also means the return of bike racing, and I began my season this past weekend with an outing on my non-forever bike:


Despite the primitive rime breaks, puppet-string drivetrain, and non-crabon wheels I give this bike an A+ as a park racing bike, and it definitely felt a hell of a lot better in that capacity than the Renovo.  (Which is not really a fair comparison since that's not what the Renovo was whittled for, but anyway.)  As for my own performance, I'd give it a B-, even though I generally prefer to grade myself on a pass/fail basis.  By that metric I suppose I technically failed in that I didn't cross the finish line with the rest of the group.  However, I did hang in there until the very last lap, and only lost contact the last time up Harlem Hill.  I was also encouraged by the fact that I felt way better this year than I did at my first race last year; in fact in the final third of the race I was fairly certain I'd finish with the group without a problem...until on the penultimate lap the gaps got a little harder to close, then on the final climb I just kind of slid off the back like a fried egg off a spatula.  Still, I completed the allotted number of laps, and was in the pack most of the time, so that's gotta count for something, right?

Regardless, it's all just training for the highlight of my season, which is of course Eroica California:


Last year's gimmick was I rode the Nova Eroica route on a brand-new gravel bike and then the Classic route on a 100 year-old one-speed bike with a coaster brake and then wrote about it for Outside.  This year's gimmick will be even gimmickier, and of course I'm giving away both the bikes I'll be riding to the first two people who find me at the ride and call "dibs."  It's all just my way of giving back to the cycling community--by which I mean I don't feel like schlepping two bikes around California with me.  Anyway, you'll read all about it in Outside afterward.

I never imagined being a semi-professional bike blogger would be this difficult.


*I have an older bike, but it's currently a frame locked away in storage

**Bike only sees occasional service as it lives in Queens as my velo-à-terre

***I had no idea "minuscule" was spelled with a "u," I always thought it was "miniscule," go figure

35 comments:

Sean Lynch said...

My oldest 'forever' bike was a 1985 Panasonic Sport 1000. I had owned, and ridden it regularly for 33 years (and one month). It was my daily commuter bike for the last 20 years.

The bottom bracket rusted through in July of 2018.

Pretty good run for a consumer grade bike.

Anonymous said...

1976 Raleigh Supercourse. Lovely bit of lugged 531 with clearance for days.

But I suppose my forever bike is my Crosscheck. It's just so damned versatile, I don't think I'll ever not find a new use for it.

HDEB said...

My newest bike is a red AL 20" wheel BMX from about 2000.

I hit this past weekends VT nor'easter just right and enjoyed three feet of thick snow at MRG : )

Mark said...

Tan: The Outside link isn't working for me.

So, while I'm commenting without reading the f'ing article, yeah, I've given up on forever bikes.


I got rid of my well used '72 Peugeot a few years ago because it was too much of a pain keeping everything on it up to date. And I just got rid of my '87 Bridgestone mountain bike this past weekend since I never rode it anymore. It wasn't even really a mountain bike, just a rain commuter.

So my oldest bike is now a 2008 bakefeets cargo bike. Everything else is from this decade. I think- half of them are used, so at least pretty new to me.

leroy said...

My dog insists that anyone who spots you riding in New York can call dibs and you will stop and hand over your bike.

I'm not sure I believe him, but what do any of us have to lose?

Matt said...

My FOREVER bike is my new (ish) Trek Checkpoint (gravel bike)...got it last year. Its a 700c drop-bar bike that fits tires up to 50mm (they only claim 45's, but I have a set of 45's and there is more room). It has all the mounting points for full-on road touring racks/panniers, it's a crabon frame with dick breaks, Ultegra 11-spd w/an 11 speed 11-34 cassette and compact 34/50 rings. I'd not really considered it a "forever bike" when I got it, but it turns out that with 3 sets of wheels (all set up tubeless...28's for the road, the 35's it came with, and 45's for somewhat serious dirt) it's the one bike that can do ALMOST everything (it certainly can't replace a full suspension mt bike, but luckily enough I have that already, so there!) I decommissioned my "road" bike after I got this as it's SO comfy on the road. The dick breaks are AWESOME, and the bigger range cassette lets me spin up STEEP stuff rather than grind w/ the 28tooth gear. I'll be road touring, bike-packing, and road/gravel-riding on this hopefully the rest of my life (I'm getting up there in years, so that isn't necessarily that long). Truly a well-thought out bike, just a joy to ride!

JLRB said...

miniscule is spelled with a "u" - it's right there as plain as day

A forever bike can't be a forever bike unless it was the first bike you ever rode - forever goes backwards and forwards - otherwise the last bike you ride before you keel over will be your foreverandeverandever bike - Now to go read outside

Anonymous said...

Surly cross check is my forever bike. . .10 year daily driver and touring

Billy said...

TIL "minuscule". But according to the OED: "Looking at the Corpus, we've discovered that the spelling miniscule now makes up around 52% of the total use of the word." At this point, that makes "miniscule" the official spelling.

I have a bike that I hope is my forever bike (All City Space Horse with IGH, front hub dyno, fenders, rack, 32mm tires), but I was recently considering going full fold instead. Our kiddo is 11 months, so it's now time to strap him on the bike. Instead of getting seats for our current bikes, I was thinking of getting a Bike Friday Haul-A-Day and having that be the primary kid-schlepping bike, since my wife and I can both use it by adjusting the seatpost. Then the other bike could be a folding bike that we can *also* share for whoever's not schlepping that day.

Captcha: "Select all images with bicycles". For once I'm actually happy to help our Googley overlords identify pictures with bicycles. Maybe that will help prevent a self-driving car algorithm say "they came out of nowhere".

Chazu said...

Clicking that link to the Outside column is a psychedelic experience.... maybe I dropped acid this morning, or maybe the link is broken. Either way, I'm digging it.

huskerdont said...

They had a spot of bother locating that site, what?

Oldest is a 1965 Schwinn Varsity. It is too heavy and dangerous for much outside riding, so it sits on the trainer and I do not wish to ride it forever.

Newest is a 2018 Trek Emonda SL6. Stupid press-fit BB, so not likely forever.

I think of my hand-built custom steel steed from 2013 as forever and I do not wish to be disabused of that notion.

Anonymous said...



To HDEB @ 12:06:
I'm jealous.

Hey all, anyone have a good link to an outfit that ships bicycles (carbon racing steed)via air?

Mr. TT, how are you getting your bicycles to Eroica?

1904 Cadardi said...

Fristly, as others have noted, your linkway is broken, currently pointing to:
http://xn--,,uuo%20poo,,-x7c756ase133d3q5h/

Snecedly, reading about forever bikes you finally nailed it at "stop giving a shit." Sometimes being somewhat of a retro-grouch is freeing.

Buffalo Bill said...

My '88 Miyata 1000 felt like my forever bike, until the chainstay cracked. I have no doubt my 98 Lemond will suffer a similar fate.

On the other hand, I have a friend who believes in forever bikes. But he now has three (3) custom made titanium jobs so I guess he's still searching.

huskerdont said...

Yes, I would have been happy to keep two of my former bikes forever, but the aluminum frames broke at the chainstay for both of them. Hold on tightly, let go lightly.

I have now read the article and remain nondisabused. Cowerkers are looking at me funny what with my fingers in my ears.

InstantPam said...

As the average marriage made in America lasts 8.2 years, that’s probably all I’ll ask of my bicycle.

Anonymous said...

My "forever" bike is my 1980 Fiju America, which I bought brand new and still ride even though I have a bunch of other bikes. I think that the only original components on it are the seat post and maybe the bottom bracket, everything else was replaced because the original parts wore out. I have also replaced with wheels with 650B and wide tires because the roads here have too many potholes.

Al Fritz said...

"Oldest is a 1965 Schwinn Varsity."

My guess is the "dibs" bikes Tan is giving away will be similar. Or an Airdyne

Mitch Kelleher said...

My unremarkable forever bike is a heavily modified 1993 Giant Innova, but the next closest forever bike is a 1912 Iver Johnson truss frame Special Racer that I use to cruise historical places and coffee shops in a decidedly unspecial manner.

Coline said...

Surely all bikes are forever bikes, mine are. Well except that lovely Holdworth with Campag bits which got nicked in 1975!

P!N20 said...

˙ooʇ ǝq llᴉʍ ǝuo ʇxǝu ʎW ˙sǝʞᴉq ɹǝʌǝɹoɟ ǝɹɐ sǝʞᴉq ʎɯ ll∀

Anonymous said...

Mirror images are right side up and backwards?
My lightest bike is a panasonic dx 5000
My forever bike got stolen

Merlin said...

I have a 8 year old Surely, it won't last forever replaced the cranks 3 times and already hard to find the right size-shape. Old bike become to hard to fix/deal with as the BSNYC says. I've been through a lot of old bikes, sell them to collectors or give them away.

Spokey said...

i've donated my oldest bieks to pedals for progress so my oldest is only a 25 young cannondale t700.

but my current forever biek is my 2002 (so not even 20 yet) co-motion americano back when co-mo actually would do a custom biek. but i left that one one the roof back '14 and bent the downtube wacking the top of the garage opening with it. so i had bilenky build me a new one.

but i actually still prefer the americano. i still put the most miles on it. and i will say there is an advantage to a 48 spoke non-dished rear with a 40 spoke front 4x lacing. Still have never trued those wheels. even with my fat ass at the helm and porting up to 60 lbs of crap at times.

janinedm said...

I believe in the forever bike, because I have a forever bike, with some asterisks. Well, just one asterisk in that I'm not sure if the forever bike precludes owning any other bikes. As you all know, I bike primarily for transportation and my Dutch bike is perfect for this. Once I replaced the pedals and swapped out the brown saddle for a black saddle (my bike is "Murdered out" like an early 200s rappers car), I have made no other replacements in the last 10 years except for wear. It doesn't go obsolete. It is theoretically all I need and was all I needed for my first 5 years of bike life. I was even riding that Thing in the Tour de Bronx (though I'd empty my panniers first). The design is ne plus ultra. The details are perfected for conducting one's day to day by bike. The performance gets to where it needs to be if you're not a weenie. I'd say the other bikes I own were put together more from the desire to have a project than a need for a new bike. I think it very much depends on your bike orientation. For the transportation/utility cyclist, a forever bike is very doable. For those at the swoopy handlebar end of the spectrum, FOMO os part of the DNA.

SLX Columbus said...

1988 custom-built steel T-de-F bike, I got it new and I'm going to ride it until I die.

courierpop said...

okay,MY forever bike is my'73 Schwinn Continental, the"Orange Avenger". Although the only original bits are the frame and fork, it is currently a six-speed with fenders and upright touring bars. I rode it in the Five Boro Bike Tour a couple of years back where it performed like a trouper.

courierpop said...

ps, pics on request

Anonymous said...

haha oh mann this forever bike thing got me good

JLRB said...

My forever bike is my wife. No electronic shifting or disk brake or carbon-fiber - just a made to fit custom ride. The analogy breaks down quickly because I ride lots of bikes, including some I rent by the hour. nevermind.

Hee Haw the barista said...

Face off – Cyclists not human enough for drivers: study

The Beep said...


Cycling heaven: The African capital with 'no traffic'

"A combination of factors ranging from conflict to diplomatic isolation have unintentionally turned the Eritrean capital into a cycling paradise."

Samuel Moore Walton said...


And you thought fixies at Walmart were strange....

Spence said...

My beloved Fuji Sport 10 was finally mothballed at my nephew's (a serious mountain biker and bike mechanic) suggestion. Still miss it I could fly on it now in search of a great long distance speedy long distance commute bike. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I’m at an age where a Forever Bike will only have to last probably 30 years tops, and I’m thinking my Rivendell Atlantis is it.