Friday, May 22, 2009

The Surly Saga Continues

"The Regiment has decided to buy a new one."
Last month I had the opportunity to compare my 52cm Surly Cross Check to my brother's 54cm Cross Check. While I can ride the 52cm, it feels cramped while the 54cm just felt right. By the time I determined this, I had missed a couple of used 54cm frames that had been advertised for sale. The 52cm was a used frame I bought last year. After monitoring my sources for a while and considering other frame options, I reached the radical position of actually considering ordering a new frame for myself. I realized that the last time I bought a new bike frame was... 1974. (The last time I bought a new complete bike was in 1973.) I concluded that a new frame every 35 years is not extravagant. Last week I ordered a new 54cm Surly Cross Check frame in black. I'm looking forward to building it up, which will mainly consist of transferring the parts over from the 52cm, which I will then sell. What is also worth my considering is why I had been buying used instead of new. One reason is thrift--often I got a great value in the used market. Another is that sometimes I like something that is no longer made in the same way--this being more in the realm of vintage than merely used. But underneath that might lurk some less pleasant reasons. One might be to avoid having to make a definite choice. If something "finds" me--I just happen upon it--and it's inexpensive and perhaps in need of a home--it's like taking in a stray kitten--I just had to do it. I've avoided the responsibility of actually seeking out something I want to have. And finally, there's the feeling that secondhand is good enough for me--maybe I don't deserve anything better. Needless to say that does not apply so much to the occasional high-value antique I might acquire--though even there, some element of "it found me" or "it needs a home" is often present. And at times I have felt I could not part with something, even if it were a burden to keep it, because I felt some responsibility toward it. Given that I have spent five years (as of last Wednesday) engaged in the work of transformation, predicated on having a choice in who I am being at any moment regardless of circumstances--I am giving up "I don't deserve better" and plan on enjoying my first new bike frame in more than half my lifetime. And that recumbent trike, when I get it, will most likely be new, too.

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