How Many Bike Does One Need?

How many bikes do you have?  How many bikes to you need?   Well now, those are a couple of serious questions that simply can not be answered simply.  Yes these are some of the things that keep me awake at night.  Don’t ask me why.  I don’t why. These are just some of the stuff that floats around between my ears from time to time.   There are a multitude of sects in the tribe of bike riding tribe.  I think the largest group is the one bike – because well I got one bike crowd.   These folks are not really tied to having just one bike, but that is what they have.   There may of course be “The Old Bike”  (or part of it) hanging from the garage rafters but for the most part they are the one-bike folks.

Then there are the one bike purist camps.   I’m not even going to go into the the sub-group of the one bike – one gear folks.   It is not that they could not have another bike in the stables, they only want one bike.  I have to admit that I like the concept of one bike and the simplier (and often more challenging) experience of riding in a one bike world.   I even know a guy who rides a rigid singlespeed fixie.  He even rides it on some gnarly trails, bottom line is the guy has mad skills to do such a thing.

Me, well I think I am in the more reasonable group (okay not more reasonable, let’s go with more common).   I have multiple bikes.  There is the XC Full-Suspension rig, the hardtail, the singlespeed, the old long-legged bike, the new long-legged bike, as well as a couple of frames waiting to be pressed back into service.    Yep, plenty of bikes in my garage.  Bikes are like a good handcrafted beer.  There are plenty of great ones out there and what kinda of person would not like to enjoy all different types of the them.     I mean I love a good IPA, but you know I also like Imperial Stouts,   Porters, and all sorts of other yummy beverages.     Some days I want reach for that Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale but then there is the Dogfishhead Squall IPA.  Or maybe its the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, ohh I know the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.   They choices go on and on and on over the tasty dark malt beverage horizon.     A couple months ago Bicycling Magazine did a piece on Sam Calagione, the owner of Dogfish Head Brewery, discussing his love for brewing and cycling.   He made a comment about the microbrewing competition out there that I thought was really awesome.  “…I embrace it. Craft-beer drinkers are promiscuous–I drink plenty of other beers.”    Well I think mountianbikers much like craft-beer drinkers (amazing how many mountainbikers are also craft-beer nuts) are a promiscuous bunch as well.   If we can get away with it, for the most part, we will have more than one bike.

Such was the case this past Sunday,  not just about beer, but about bikes.   Sure I have a brand new UZZI that I am complete digging, but Santa Cruz was having a demo day out at Lake Hodges so I felt the urge to see what the new stuff was from these guys.   Santa Cruz and BikeBling were putting on the event together and when I got there they were doing some hustling to keep the 30 demo bikes rotating with sizable of pool of folks looking to get onto the latest two-wheeled Santa Cruz creations.

Of course with any such kind of MTB gathering in San Diego County, some of the usual suspects were on the scene and lots of chatting occurred about bikes, trails, potential roadtrips and even some of the latest craft beers to hit the market.  It would have been a good morning of socializing even without the new shiny bits to galk and paw over.  So how many bikes do I need and how many bikes do I own?    Well the answer that question in the simplest of terms in I have have one more bike than I need and one less bike than I want.

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 1 – Santa Cruz

Will and I spent the earlier part of this week in San Jose where Will’s hockey team was competing in the National Roller Hockey Championships (NARCH) in the San Jose. While the teams bid for the championship ended earlier than planned we had other things ready to go. We would take the slow route home to San Diego and get in some camping and riding. We did not have a set schedule just some general ideas.

Our first day was a ride in Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. I have ridden here several time before and I knew Will could handle the place. We started off near the park headquarters off of Pacific Coast Highway and started working our way up to the top of the park using the Engelman Oak and Long Meadows trails (fireroads). Will has not been biking much lately so that and the recent hockey made for a good bit of effort on his part.

The Climb

Once we got up to the top of the park we ventured over into the UC Santa Cruz area. Since this included some gravity-assisted riding, Will was having a heck of great time.

UCSC Cruising

After the UCSC fun, we popped back into Wilder Ranch and worked our way over to the Old Cabin trail which is one of my favorites out here. I was pretty stoked to see that Will cleaned everything on this trail. While he might be getting pretty descent on a bike, he is a pretty horrible “model” in front of the camera. If given a chance he will make a silly face everytime. I pretty much have to sneak attack pictures of him.


While Will was starting to feel a little tired, after describing the Enchanted Loop to him, he was game. Once again the boy surprised me with how easily he picks up new skills. On a tricky switchback into a rooty ledge he got up one of the smaller ledges without even blinking. We then sessoned it for a bit and he cleaned one of the bigger ledges after a couple of tries.

Ledge Up

After this we took the Baldwin Loop down to the ocean. Will complained that the trail was really bumpy and that is when I realized that Will had spent the entire ride with the rear shock locked out. This was his first real ride on a full-suspension rig and he did not realize it was locked out. Will is really tall for his age and has been growing like a weed lately. Having already gotten taller than his Mom, he can now fit on my medium Spider by swapping out the seatpost and stem.

Down to Ocean

Down along the ocean we followed the bluff trails back to the park headquarters. Will was getting pretty darn pooped by now so the breaks came a little more often.
Break time

I did manage to get in a “sneak attack” picture during the break
sneak picture

We finished off the rest of Ocean Bluff trails at a reasonable pace due to a strong tailwind which made it pretty darn easy to tick over a big gear. When we finished up we had logged in just over 20 miles and the boy was pooped. On our way through town we hit up a little hole-in-the-wall Falafel shop that I love and introduced Will to some new cuisine.

Will at beach

It was getting pretty late in the day and we knew we would not get too far down the coast this evening. I had a “Camping California” guidebook with me and while I drove south, Will would read out the description of spots down the road from us. The Laguna Seca Recreation Area ended up sounding pretty good so we swung by there and grabbed a spot. The Red Bull Moto Grand Prix was starting to ramp up for the weekend, but there were plenty of spots still open. I packed my smaller camping gear so that that it would not take long to setup and break camp each day so we had camp setup in no time flat. After some chillaxing, hot chocolate and a few snacks we hopped in the tent and were soon crashed out.

Camp at Laguna Seca

Wilder Ranch Video

Okay it is raining in Southern California and off the bike for a little bit so I might as well finish up on some projects that have been languishing on the hard drive for a while. 

Heath at Wilder Ranch in July 2007

 Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz is a really pictureque and fun place to ride, but hard to capture on video properly.   Much like the Demo Forest video, the light was harsh on the day I shot this footage back in July of 2007.   The sunny stuff came out good, but the shady areas like the Enchanted Forest Loop, turned out poor overall so you will not see too much of that in the vid. 

Right Click to Download the 61MB video that runs 4 minutest and 29 seconds  (WMV format)

Soquel Demonstration Forest Video

Demo 2007 Video

So I finally got around to putting together the video from the Soquel Demonstration Forest near Santa Cruz that I got to enjoy on my Norcal Summer Roadtrip this year.   The lighting was quite harsh on the day of this ride so a good bit of this footage not ideal.    I almost decided not to make the video at all, but what the heck there was enough for a shorter video.    This was my second time there and I still did not manage to get on the Braille or Tractor trail.   I’m riding those no matter what next time.   The video is 4 minutes and 34 second long and is 58MB in size.  Right Click on the image below to download.