I think I have an unfair advantage with an exercise like this. I have a more narrow range of use than many. I don’t race, go on long epic hard rides, do cross country tours, or do any technical off-road riding. I don’t even commute on my bike. I live in a rural area with no big climbs. My riding environment is gently rolling terrain, paved and unpaved country roads, and very little traffic.
Call Your Shot
My needs and wants are basically limited to rambles across the countryside. The variation can be summarized with three categories, (1) short, spirited rides with virtually no load, primarily on paved roads, (2) my typical half-day outings with food, coffee, camera, and clothing layers on paved and gravel roads, and (3) overnight camping, including exploring a few non-technical off-road trails.
My frameset of choice is the Rivendell Quickbeam. The photo below illustrates my typical (category 2) build. This is the baseline, and my other categories could be satisfied with only a few simple variations.
Multiple Wheelsets are Permitted
Having three wheelsets is the key to my plan. In addition to the wheels shown above with Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 38mm tires and a 17t fixed cog, I’d propose two other sets of wheels. For spirited riding, something like Grand Bois Cypres 32mm tires and a 15t/16t flip-flop fixed option would satisfy any desire I might have for more speed. For camping and off-road exploration, some kind of knobbly 40mm CX tire and a 18t fixed cog would be fine. If conditions get too rough, I’ll walk.
The only other details needed to cover my needs would be racks and bags. I have a Nitto Front rack that I could mount up front and a Nitto Big Rear Rack for the back. I also already have assorted panniers, saddlebags, and handlebar bags to easily mount/remove to meet any load carrying needs.
I’m confident that a Quickbeam and a quiver of wheels could pretty much cover my bicycle excursion needs. From spirited riding with a lightish bike, to camping and trail rides, I’d be covered. As shown in the photo above, I’m already set-up for most of what I do on a bicycle. There is one nagging problem with my plan. It doesn’t include a back-up bike. Although that doesn’t apply to this exercise, I need a good back-up bike. Serving that role will be my recently replaced (and soon to be built) A. Homer Hilsen…which basically could be built up with gears to do any of the things I mentioned above. I might one day get to only one. For now, however, I’ve convinced myself I can at least go down to only two.
So my other three bikes (MAP, Kogswell P/R, and Trek 660) are officially all for sale.