On Thursday, September 19th, 2013, I said goodbye to a dear old friend, my turquoise CALI ’05 edition Jeep Cherokee, in exchange for $300. I bought that Jeep as a replacement for my first Jeep, which was stolen in Tijuana back in 2005, and I’ve had it ever since. The odometer read just over 228,000 miles when I handed the keys over that night, and during the time I was making those little numbered wheels tick ever higher, that Jeep took me along many beautiful Colorado 4×4 trails that ended high above tree line; played the role of hearse when I took the late Princess Tiffany to the Moab desert for a burial; acted as a canvas for my homemade spray paint stencils; provided sleeping quarters in, on, and underneath during cross country road trips; hauled my bikes and my hairy homie, Dr. Louis, out to OR when it was time to start my grown-up life; shuttled me reliably to and from almost every ‘cross race I’ve won (and lost)… I’m really going to miss it.
The logical part of my brain knows I didn’t need it anymore. It would have cost five times what it was worth to get it into daily driver shape again, and the likelihood of me ever taking the time to do it was similar to the likelihood that I’ll ever stop saying “Butt Ranger” instead of “Bontrager”. I got a little scratch and my driveway back, some kid got a dirt cheap car with a great engine and funny things spray painted all over it; a total win for everybody.
Time will tell if my emotions agree with my calculus.
ANYWAY, the selling of my wheels got me thinking back to the bikes and bike parts that I’ve sold over the years, and if, in each instance, it was the right choice.
My first road bike as an (almost) full sized adult was a steel Bianchi Vigorelli. Pretty pearly paint, terribly heavy wheels, and an outdated, but flawlessly performing, set of 9 speed DA down tube shifters. It was the bike that dislodged my stubborn view of myself as incapable of endurance sports. I rode it all up and down the front range of Colorado, and all over the fantastic roads surrounding Eugene. I slapped some 9 speed Ultegra STI levers on it days before my first ever bike race, and then let the bike start to teach me the what’s what of… well, mostly losing, if I’m honest. I sold that frameset to a man so that he could set it up for a little kid, I believe (did I mention I’m not very big?). Taking a hard look back at the whole situation, it was the right choice. That bike fell victim to the normal small bike problems. It had a seat tube angle too steep to place a saddle appropriately for my femur length and ideal weight distribution, and it had the laziest of head tube angles, likely to avoid the big-manufacturer-dreaded toe overlap. Good bike, but certainly not a great bike.
From there I bought a Cervelo Soloist, one of the aluminum ones, and at the same time took the plunge into the world of Ergos and Ultras that is Campagnolo. That was a damn fine bike. Their sizing philosophy that seat tube angles do not necessarily have to change with frame size struck a chord with me, and with that frame I was easily able to put together a bike that was comfortable, and kept my weight placed very neutrally. On paper it seemed like perhaps just a crit bike, with the big aero aluminum tubes, but I found it to be a treat through rides and races of every length. I won the state championship crit on that bike, in a sprint from a break of three, and then sold it shortly thereafter for the funds to buy my pink carbon Landshark. At the time, the $600 I would get for the frameset seemed critical, but in hindsight I definitely lost out on the deal. I really really wish I still had that bike. Were it sitting in my bike room today, and would load it up with all the hand-me-down parts I could find and turn it into a killer blue collar TT bike.
Satisfaction vs Regret: the score is one to one
About four or five years back, I had a bright blue Kona Jake The Snake in a size 48. It came with a full Chorus gruppo, and was worth what I paid even if I’d just thrown the frame away. I used it though, and much like my old Bianchi, it served its purpose as a gateway bike. After 2 seasons of racing it I shuffled the frameset out the door to a similarly sized woman for next to nothing. $75 I think? Excellent choice. Based on zero information, I’m assuming it was either a gateway bike for her as well, or a solid commuter, with all the fixins for racks and fenders and such.
Another cyclocross bike I sold was my Traitor Crusade SS prototype, that I was given to test and ride most likely because I was the only dude around small enough for that particular frame. I left it factory white and had drop bars on it for a number of seasons, and I never really felt one way or the other about it.
Then I had it powder coated a really nice bold green with gold sparkles, and put hell of light Ritchey Superlogic flat bars on it, and it transformed into something that I loved. That’s the bike I won my first cyclocross race on, and the bike I won the SS state champs on, and the bike I failed at learning how to ride wheelies on. Such a great rig! I sold it this past spring to a local racer who I hear is a real leg ripper, so I hope very much to see her and it in action. I sold it strictly because I needed money for a down payment on my house, and I sold it with a bunch of nice parts on it that I really would have liked to keep, so it was a sad day for me. I still wish I had it (though the need for two SS bikes is nil), but as I said, it helped get my wife and me a house. I’ll call it a win.
And lastly, my rattle can pink Mongoose BMX bike. Sigh. I got that bike in college before I knew anything at all about bikes. I was that guy who would try duct tape for a tube patch because why the fuck not. I mended cracked and broken cable housing by wrapping an extra layer of electrical tape around it each time it got worse. I taped the grips around the bars when they dried out and split. Basically, that bike was held together with tape. Regardless, it got me around campus and it got me around Eugene and it got me around Portland, and all of those dubious fixes held up long past the point when I knew better. During this last move I left it on the free strip of Rodney Ave because it wouldn’t fit in with my final load, and my rapidly diminishing sanity couldn’t handle even one more trip. It was gone the next day, as I knew it would be. I already had a new, better, lighter, cooler BMX bike, so it didn’t much matter, but I still regret not giving it the tune-up it deserved for all those years. If I could have fixed it up and then given it away, I’d feel a lot better now.
By my tally, satisfaction with my choices wins out over regret by one point.
I think the selling game might be over for me now, at least for the foreseeable future, because I absolutely adore all of my whips, and I don’t have anything redundant. My Speedvagens, my “Huffy,” my Landshark, my rain rig, my steel MTB, my bar bike, my BMX bike… They’re all perfect, and I think they’ll be with me for a very very long time. Plus, I have my name painted on three of them.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for powering through my reminiscing! Now tell us about what you’ve sold that you’re happy about. Tell us about what you’ve sold that you still wish you hadn’t. Tell us about the things we’ll have to pry from your cold, dead fingers!
PS: Grahamma sent me this link to help me through my Jeep grief. I love it. Also, I’m becoming aware that there’s a strong correlation between rappers that I like and rappers that are fat.
PPS: See what I mean?