Sunday, June 24, 2007

Loaners for Life

I've run through a number of bikes in the last few years. I do what a lot of bike geeks do, which is buy bikes or frames and end up building up the same bike over and over again. It's a weird phenomenon and I've seen other bike nerds do it.

In most cases, I end up selling off the redundant bikes/frames -- sometimes painfully, and always at a loss it seems. But some bikes are special. In these cases, I've figured out a way to keep them without storing them. And even better: a way to keep them so they are used. It's depressing to me to see a collection of bikes that rarely get used. If you're a bike nerd that's an easy situation to get into. I know lots of bike nerds who have a huge collection of bikes, some of which get ridden once a year or less. I'm guilty of that too.

So, my solution is to do "loaners for life."
The picture above shows 2 Bridgestone RB-T's, my favorite production bike of all time. The black one, a 1991 RB-T, is my daily driver. It rules. The orange one, a 1992 (repainted) RB-T is my spare that is a loaner-for-life to a buddy of mine.

Our Xtracycle was a great bike for the last couple years and I've got way too much time and energy in that bike to just sell it off. Luckily, another buddy of mine with two kids can now use that bike. They love it.

I have a great Burley Tandem that I bought about a year ago with the idea of putting Maddie on it this year, but it was just too big and it will be a few years before she can ride it. I was going to sell it, and as I fixed it up to sell it, I realized what a great bike it was. It's well-made; made in Eugene; sturdy. I just couldn't sell it. Some day this will make a wonderful trail and touring bike for Maddie and me. Another friend and his son are borrowing that one.

The loaner-for-life rules are simple: take care of the bike, use it as long as you want, and give it back to me when you're done or when I need it again. Everyone wins. I don't have to sell off a great bike (at a loss, always at a loss); the bike is put to use; folks that might not otherwise try out or buy a particular type of bike can get a long experience with the bike.


Anonymous said...


I'm ready for that Atlantis loaner. I live one block north of Shadle Park and can promise at least a monthly supervised visit for you.
Keep up the good work on the blog. The entry about the city's transportation policy was a good read.


Anonymous said...

Dude: we use the hell out of that Xtracycle. It's hard to imagine our lives without it. One of the coolest things about your loaners, at least for us, is that it has given us a chance to try out different kinds of bikes we might not have otherwise ridden. Loan on.

bleckb said...

Tobias and I are having a gas with the Burley. It's a tad big for him, but he loves it when we cruise down Bernard at 30+ mph. I love it because I get to ride with him and Rachel and get some work in. An eight-year old stoker ain't exactly ideal for burning up the road, but that will come with time.