Suspending Disbelief

Further to yesterday’s post, the response to Classic Cycle Thursdays Giveaway Wednesday, Sponsored by Classic Cycle Thursdays was whelming:

If you think you have nowhere to put a bike you’re not trying hard enough, but the sender assured me his bathtub is already full of bikes. I’m sure the Softride would have fit nicely on the fire escape but I didn’t press. Look, I get it, some people are just in it for the thrill of the hunt.

Here, by the way, is the ad, which I’ve now taken down now that re-homing arrangements are underway (more on that later):

Believe it or not, I didn’t receive a single sincere offer from any unwitting Craigslist shoppers. It was the only Softride on there, too, meaning it was the best deal in the tri-state area by default–to say nothing of the complete absence of them on The Pro’s Closet:

$68 million in funding and no Softrides?


There were plenty of Normcore Bikes on Craigslist though:

I guess some of those are repeat postings, but at first glance you can’t even tell, because if you’ve seen one Normcore Bike you’ve seen them all.

Also, if you were partaking in the scavenger hunt and had never visited New York City Craigslist before, you may have noticed that people ask a lot of money for their bikes. This is for two reasons:

  1. Prices are generally inflated in New York City
  2. Egos are also inflated. People who live in New York City have a bloated sense of their own importance and think things are worth more for mere virtue of their having owned it

Both of these explain why a post asking $5,900 for an old Softride was not flagged immediately.

But there is hope for the dogged bargain hunter. Generally speaking the asking prices decrease as you move out into the suburbs, where they’re mostly seen as garage clutter as opposed to essential hipster accessories–hence the Normcore Bike in Bronxville going for way less than the ones in Ditmas Park:

It even comes with a Zefal pump, though they weren’t quite able to hit that pump peg:

Good job demonstrating the chain hanger though:

I’ve had a few bikes with chain hangers over the years and not once have I ever remembered to use them.

Anyway, get it now before Ditmas Park grabs it, pumps up the tires, and re-lists it for $450. In fact it’s probably worth it for the pump alone. Now that they’re being discontinued it’ll soon be more valuable than the bike.

And no, you can’t get one from The Pro’s Closet:

What the hell? It’s like the “Cheese Shop” sketch from Monty Python! Do they even have any bikes worth owning at all?

Anyway, should the winner of the Softride opt to use it as a gravel bike, here’s one person who would approve:

I know looking for sense in a BikeRadar post is like trying to order a bagel at McDonald’s, but I can’t help being surprised that there are people who still don’t get why the whole garvel bike thing has happened:

Garvel bikes don’t exist despite the proliferation of mountain bike tech; they exist because of it. At the recreational rider level, a gravel bike is what a mountain bike used to be–a robust bike with wide-range gearing and clearance for knobby tires that allowed you to venture offroad:

Though they were not entirely limited to offroad use, as they often also included provisions for racks and stuff like that which allowed people to configure them for touring, or for other more practical applications:

After awhile, though, the mountain bike became this:

And eventually what people call “mountain biking” went from riding your bike on trails to an extreme sport based on using giant shocks with wheels attached to them that loosely resemble bicycles:

But believe it or not, despite what the magazines tell you, not everybody who enjoys riding on trails is interested in going up in the air while riding a bicycle:

I mean certainly there are people who do want to go up in the air, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I suspect way more don’t–yet there’s no question in my mind that at a certain point mountain biking decided to go with the trail riders who want to “send it” and decided to ignore the many people who prefer to “keep it.” But the “keep it” people never went away, and they still wanted a sporty bike you could ride on a trail, or on a road to a trail, and that was reasonably rugged yet wasn’t so complicated and ponderous on pavement that you’d rather hang it off the back of your truck than ride it on smooth terrain:

And there’s your gravel bike:

Basically, the bike industry took something away from people, and they wanted it back. So the bike industry gave it to them. But the bike industry being the bike industry, and the bike media being people like the person who wrote this BikeRadar thing, they’re already taking it away again and turning the gravel bikes back into mountain bikes:

That means some new type of bike will eventually come along that restores simplicity to the gravel bike, and the cycle will begin anew.

The suspension gravel bike of today is the Softride of tomorrow.

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