My Name is Graham McQueen and I have a problem. I am an addict. I am addicted to bikes.
Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Dutch Bikes, Kids Bikes or Cargo Bikes, basically anything apart from a Brompton and I’m hooked. At the heart of it I love cycling, I love being out in the fresh air, seeing the countryside, seeing and being a part of the environment around me, working hard, building up a sweat and keeping fit. Wonderful and rewarding as it is, this love of cycling is like an access drug, an introduction or pathway to the darker side of my addiction. The darker side of this love of cycling is, in my case, a fixation with bikes.
Over the past 4 years since starting working at Stirling Cycle Hub I’ve been surrounded by bikes and cycling, it’s part of my everyday existence. I cycle to and from work, I cycle nextbikes around Stirling, I speak to fellow staff and visitors to the Hub about bikes and cycling and I see people getting new bikes all the time.
Over the same period I also estimate that I’ve owned approximately 5 mountain bikes, 8 road bikes, 2 cargo bikes and 10-15 frames and had 3 cycle to work schemes.
Herein lies my problem, I love bikes almost as much as cycling them. Especially classic road bikes, that beautiful, perfectly formed triangle. Thin but strong tubing, incredibly light and minimalist. They really are a thing of beauty and this love of, addiction to bikes leads down dark paths of multiple purchases and ever growing collection of occasionally cycled bikes and never to be built frames.
So 15 bikes and 15 frames in 4 years, that boils down to one new purchase every 1.6 months. Its unsustainable, it’s out of control, it’s a disgrace! The space alone I need to keep them causes its own problems and hiding them from my wife and family only exacerbates it my problems.
Something needs to be done and i believe the realisation and change in attitude brought about by the events below may yet save me from this life of addiction!
In October I decided to sell my beloved Genesis Equilibrium Road bike. The Equilibrium is basically a modern version of the classic steel road bike. This particular version is campagnolo equipped and finished in black with gold highlights, an absolutely stunning machine, light and comfortable and suited to long road rides, commuting, NCN mile munching and pretty much anything else. Basically the perfect bike for me. I decided to sell it as having ridden this bike for 2 years it was starting to look a bit tatty, i had used it for commuting 12 miles each way most days, id done numerous long and not so long rides on it including the NCN tour and a ride all the way to London, although a bit reluctant i felt it was time for a change so i gave it a clean, took the pics and with an element of sadness put it on ebay. The bike was promptly sold and packaged up and posted at the end of October.
The address the bike was to be sent to was of a postal box as appose to a house, flat or place of business. I queried this with the recipient and he told me, no that’s definitely the correct address, please send the bike there. So I sent it there and approximately 2 weeks later i got the email enquiring if i had sent the bike as it had not been received. I therefore chased it up with parcel force and discovered that the bike had been refused at delivery address 10 times before being returned to sender. Fine I thought, however I never received it either. The bike was lost in the ether, floating somewhere in the wind, caught between the real world and the internal workings of the post office so i put in an enquiry, informed the purchaser what was going on and basically gave up on ever seeing the bike again.
But then, 4 months later, completely out of the blue on a bright sunny February morning the bike arrived back at my front door as if it had never been gone. Obviously then i emailed the person who had paid for the bike but the email bounced back. I tried to contact them through ebay but got no response. I tried both methods again to the same results, indeed this time their ebay account had been closed. Then I thought, this is destiny, this wonderful, perfect machine on which i have had so much enjoyment and which has provided me with so many miles of transportation has been returned to me through divine provenance, like King Arthur receiving the sword from the lady of the lake, I had received this bike from the royal mail and after trying unsuccessfully to contact the person who bought it I decided that i would keep the bike for evermore, until death do us part and through sickness and in health.
After a few weeks riding “The bike of Destiny” as its now called i realised i had not had any urges to look at other bikes, i was happy to be riding this classic bike and didn’t seem to be thinking about other classics. I thought about it more and decided that the word classic for me in regards to bikes actually now meant something different. Where old road bikes are undoubtable beautiful and classic in a classical sense, the Bike of Destiny means more to me, its beautiful, its made of steel but its so much more. I’ve ridden this bike to London, I’ve ridden this bike 400 miles around Scotland, ive even crashed this bike several times and got up and finished the cycle on it. This is now what a classic bike means to me, it’s what I’ve done on the bike and not what the bikes done that matters.
I am hopeful that this change in attitude will help me overcome my addiction.
Time will tell.
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