I read several bike blogs, including "The Chain Gang" from Orlando, FL. Jeff K posted this and it really resonated with me. Since my start in adult cycling, I've had, loved, sold, and replaced a succession of bikes. I had no Raleigh, Schwinn, or Specialized bikes as Jeff did. Mine included Univega, Fuji, Trek (2), and Waterford. These days two Rivendells and a Nashbar inhabit our garage, and another Rivendell is inbound. Each of my bikes has a distinctly different feel. I am concious of feeling, "Wow, this bike feels so good!" every time I get on one. I always think it's the best bike in the world, until I throw a leg over one of the others.
Anyway, here is Jeff's excellent post. Our Montgomery version of the slim rider who HAS an Italian law firm of fabulous steeds is of course Slamy.
I work next to a woman with long legs and no body fat. She rides very fast on a Kestrel bike. I don't know what a Kestrel bike looks like. I'm not familiar with that brand. But sometimes I hear her yearning for bikes that are lighter, faster, more expensive than her bike. Bikes like DeRosa. Colnago. Cevelo. Orbea. Pinarello. Bikes with names that sound like an Italian law firm.
My bike is a Specialized. it is the best bike I've ever owned. But I said that about the bike I had before, a Schwinn hybrid. Before the Schwinn, it was a Raleigh 10-speed that I liked because it was a pale blue. It replaced the first bike I bought when I moved to Florida, a Juventus. It was an Italian-made bike and, because I was still under the influence of Breaking Away, I knew Italy made the best bikes. I rode that bike on the first Sentinel Safari cross-state bike ride somewhere around 1980. We had about 300 riders that year. None of them had ever heard of a Juventus before. "It's Italian," I explained. Before the Juventus, I think I had a green three-speed Raleigh because I believed my parents when they said Raleighs were the Cadillacs of bicycles. The first bike I remember was a Schwinn with coaster brakes that I had not yet mastered before running over the neighbor girl.
The thing I remember about all of those bikes is how much I loved each one in turn. I couldn't think of a better bike than the Schwinn until I got the Raleigh. And the Raleigh was the best bike I ever owned until the Juventus came into my life. And I never would have given it up if I hadn't fallen in love with a blue Raleigh 10-speed.
I image there are car people who feel the same about their wheels. I can't relate to them. But I do believe when it comes to bikes there is an intimacy between the object and the person that forms a strong attachment. It's a love affair transcends price or craftsmanship. The people who ride those high-end, finely made bikes I've never heard of feel the same as I do when I'm outside, on a nice day, riding my Specialized.