Sweet Jump

This is an opinion piece by Reno Toffoli. Reno’s opinions don’t necessary represent the opinions of Your Group Ride or its advertisers but I always enjoy his rants.  You can read is first article here:http://bit.ly/18vqFIt. If you’d like to write an article for YGR, please email me at info@yourgroupride.com



A long, long time ago, I had one bike. This is where our story starts…with one. Believe me, it’s

not going to end this way, no sir.

A long, long time ago, I had one bike. I was a kid and it was my bike. It was actually a fairly nice

BMX racing bike that I had bought with my own money. It was what I could afford, and I was

proud of it. I rode it everywhere and it worked admirably in many different roles: road bike,

commuter, BMX racer, freestyler, and mountain bike, just to name a few. I took good care of

it, bought parts I could afford when things broke or wore out, and lusted after parts I couldn’t

afford and probably didn’t need anyway. Life was good, and so our story went.

At one point, college happened. I went away to school, took my bike with me, and then,

somewhat normally, discovered all kinds of really exciting things that had nothing to do with

bikes. Things like guitars, and drum sets, and sports cars, and that it felt really good to be angry

about all sorts of things and write angry songs and drive cars rather fast in places they probably

shouldn’t have been driven fast. I decided that a skateboard was cheaper, more portable, and

more expressive than a bike for a while and rode that instead but I still kind of missed my bike. I

don’t even really know what ever happened to it.

A couple years passed, and I came upon another bike. This was a mountain bike. This one was

actually too big for me but, hey, it was free. I resurrected my mad BMX skills and rode the heck

out of that bike. It also worked admirably in many different roles: road bike, commuter, and

mountain bike, just to name a few. I didn’t have a car at the time so my bike was my everything.

I took good care of it, bought parts I could afford when things broke or wore out, and lusted

after parts I couldn’t afford and probably didn’t need anyway. Life was good and so our story



I was in to my mountain bike so much that I became pretty knowledgeable about how it

worked, how to fix it, how it compared to other bikes, and all the things that go along with

being in to bikes. This eventually landed me a job at a bike shop, and this is where all hell broke


The first thing I learned about working at a bike shop was that I had the ability to buy parts at

cost. Goodbye paycheck. I had just graduated from college at this point with a really promising

degree in fine art (HA!) and since I didn’t really have anything else to do, I got a second job to

pay the rent while the first job paid for bike parts. The next thing I learned was that there was

this thing called ‘Pro Form’ where you could buy certain parts and (wait for it) complete bikes

below cost!!! Ho-lee-crap. After I quit hyperventilating, I bought a new Cannondale Killer V and

put an oh-so-sweet Manitou 1 fork on it. The deal was done. After this, I decided I needed a

road bike even though I had never really ridden one, so I bought a Cannondale R900. Pow! How

ya like me now?! A little while later, I became assistant manager of this particular shop and

discovered that if you got along well with your reps, they would just give you stuff. Hello Mavic

rep. You want me to have this Cosmic wheelset to try out on my road bike?! Sure. When do you

want it back? Never, you say. I can live with that. The Suntour rep wanted me to test out some

prototype shifters that were going to compete with Shimano’s new Rapidfire system. I can do

that. All I had to do in return was fill out a questionnaire with my opinions about them. My

opinion was that they rocked and I rode them for many years until they disintegrated. A couple

years later, I was working at a different shop and they sold different brands. I had to ride what I

sold, right? Of course.

When I moved to Fort Collins in 1997, I think I brought no fewer than 7 bikes with me, all of

them very high end, and loaded to the gills with the latest anodized bling. The crazy part was

that I hadn’t really paid that much (if anything) for most of them. The problem was, they didn’t

fit in the apartment I was sharing with my brother. One by one, the bikes got sold off until I had


I was back to one Giant ATX890 hardtail. I loved it, rode the hell out of it, and had about a 10Giant ATX890 1997

year supply of parts ratholed away to keep it going because there was no way in hell I could

afford to pay retail for bike parts ever again.

So as the story continues, I get back into riding BMX, pick up a ramp bike, then a flatland bike,

all the while holding on to the trusty Giant. I get too old to ride ramps because ramps hurt you

after you turn 30-something. The BMX bikes go away and I’m back to one. The Giant starts to

look a little long in the tooth so I part it out and pick up a Specialized Epic. Still at one. Some

6 years later, the Epic starts to feel like it needs a little more travel so I sell it off and pick up

another Giant.

This is where hell breaks loose for the second time.

This time around, I’m older, wiser; actually have a pretty decent career and a little discretionary

income. Before I know it, I’ve got a road bike, and then a longer travel mountain bike, and

then a hardtail because you always need a hardtail around, right? Then I come across one

smokin’ deal after another and now I’ve got 5 bikes again. The really stupid part is that this

time around, 4 of them are mountain bikes and two of them are full suspension XC race bikes.

I suck at racing, so why do I have 2 freaking XC race bikes?! I don’t know. Don’t ask me how the

economy works.

I have a problem. I know I have a problem because the neighbor kids look in my garage with

all the bikes hanging from the ceiling and exclaim “look at all those bikes!” The 6 year old next

door asks me “why do you have so many bikes?” and out of the multitude of responses that

swirl around in my head, all I can come up with is “I don’t know…I like bikes” partly because

I’m actually a little embarrassed and don’t know what else to say. Incidentally, her mom

once described me to someone as ‘the guy with all the toys’. Yep, I guess that’s me…guilty as


Sometimes I go on a ride after work so I’ll bring a bike in and head out when I’m done for the

day. The people I work with trip over themselves to ask me how much each one weighs and

how much they cost. I honestly don’t really know how much they weigh but I guess anyway

which is apparently impressive. I always get comments like ‘that costs more than my car’

or ‘where’s the motor at?’ (Especially with the Giant Reign which does actually bear a lot of

resemblance to a motorcycle). The thing is that I teach automotive technology and half the

people who are making these comments own freaking race cars…talk about an expensive

hobby, sheesh!

My problem is apparently contagious because my wife, who was never a cyclist before she

met me, has 3 bikes and my 5 year old daughter has 2 although to be fair, she’s completely

outgrown her Strider and I’m the one hanging on to it because it was her first bike and it’s still

got the number 1 plate on it from her races last year.

My real problem is that I can’t have one of anything. Want proof? Ok. I have 10 guitars. Why?

I don’t know, they’re cool and I like them. I am getting better though. At one time I had 4 cars

and now I have 2. I have been selling off guitars recently so that’s a step in the right direction as

well. Bikes are hard. I think I get more emotionally attached to them than anything else. I like to

ride them all and have adventures with all of them. They’re also rather beautiful.

Sometimes I start feeling embarrassed that I have so much crap. Because, really, why do I need

all of it? A lot of time when I get rid of stuff I feel relieved because I just made my life simpler

and that’s a good thing. But, again, bikes are hard. I’ve been dreaming of a new bike recently,

and I don’t even know why. I really don’t need 6 bikes.

What I have actually been longing for lately is to get back to one. One to put all of my attention

into, and one to take me everywhere and do everything. Yes, but what would that one be? Can

one do that anymore, knowing what I know now? Yes…no…maybe…I don’t have any idea.

Can you live with one? Do you live with one? If you do, I’m actually rather jealous. And to all of

you out there wishing for more, don’t forget to treasure the one you may have now. After all,

that one is your friend, your companion, your freedom. Cherish it, you may miss it when it’s

gone. As your collection grows, you may also start to miss the simplicity that having one brings.

Is having too many bikes really a problem? Is there such a thing as having too many bikes?

Yes…no…maybe…I don’t have any idea.