Saving Them All.

Every time I see a road bike on Craigslist, I have an almost irresistible urge to buy it, build it up with components that are far above the level of the frame, and then sell it for a loss. It's my own version of the tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. "I never thought it was such a bad little bike. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love."
Problem is, I don't have the resources or even the storage space to follow this impulse. Actually, maybe that's a good thing. I like riding all sorts of different bikes and figuring out what works and doesn't work for me. I like building up bikes for friends who wouldn't otherwise have the resources to take up road cycling. I like acquiring bikes that add new capabilities to my own collection, even if the differences are minimal.
For the most part, the bikes I'm most compelled to jump on and smother with love are the inexpensive, entry-level bikes, which means any scant return on investment is measured in fun the fun I had wrenching and not in any sort of monetary fashion. It's easy for me to build up a race-worthy bike with a lot of new, upgraded components that I can sell for under $800, but the sad truth is that nobody is buying around here.
The healthy, visible roadie scene needed to drive the demand is a bit of an ebb at the moment, as people opt for 'cross bikes or mountain bikes or fat bikes or the couch. The group ride culture isn't there. The triathlon community does their thing, but a lot of bucket-listers do their big event on mountain bikes or hybrids. They don't need a fancy road bike to get their medal. The road racing scene neglected the beginner classes for years to their own detriment, but hopefully inclusive teams like BeadedStream are working towards correcting that. Trickle down economics does not apply to amateur sports- you have to keep feeding from the bottom to stay viable. If one out of every ten people that lines up once sticks with it, we'd be moving forward.
So, I resist. I don't buy every Sora-equipped bike that hits the market for a full SRAM Red build. I want to, but I don't. I know my attempts to adorn it with fancy stuff will overload it like Charlie Brown's tree, making it actually less-desirable to potential buyers who, more importantly, are potential roadies and road racers. At the end of the day, I just want to see a whole lot of people out there on drop-bar bikes. If I lose a couple bucks on the deal but gain a new rider that has a strong potential for being slower than me, I consider it a win. If they're faster than me, they can pay retail. Bastards.
It doesn't keep me from window shopping and dreaming, though.


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