First, a little background info: I started riding seriously in high school. My sister, who is only an inch shorter than I am, had a Raleigh Super Course that she had been badly injured on and didn't want to ride. I rode that until my senior year, when the plastic rear derailleur collapsed into the rear wheel and stopped it, tossing me over the bars.
I didn't take a bike to college, but when I got back, I started riding on another of my sister's cast-offs, a low end bike boom 10 speed whose maker I don't remember. After I got a place of my own, I bought a Trek 610, and that has been my road bike ever since. I rode it heavily until I moved to Chicago. Because of the junk on the city streets, I got too many flats, so I bought a Trek 950 to use as a city bike. I moved out to the 'burbs a couple years later, and used the 950 as a commuter and the 610 for fun rides. Moved back to Atlanta, starting riding dirt on the 950, and still using the 610 on the street. Got married, bought a new house, had children and quit riding for a few years. Once my children were old enough, bought a Burley Piccolo trailerbike and used the 950 to tow it. The 950 had gotten ratty, and bought a Cannondale Bad Boy to pull the Burley and use as a grocery getter. That was about six or seven years ago. Last year, I gave the 950 away.
I got a new boss a couple of years ago who is an avid triathlete. He kind of challenged us to do a sprint tri, and I accepted the challenge, so I dusted off the 610 which hadn't been ridden in eight years. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed riding that bike and used it for the tri, then continued riding it after the tri was over.
Last fall, I drew up a ride that involves going from my house down to the Chattahoochee River, up from it, then back down to it, then back up to my house. Now, the 610 has the typical limited gearing of its day, the lowest gear is around 38 gear inches. Coming up off of the river some of the hills are moderately steep, and I had to do what I'd call a "stand and stomp" to get up them. About three quarters of the way home my knee started getting sore, and later than that day it was hard to go down a set of stairs. I spent most of the winter getting that knee back in shape, and it seems to be OK now.
I'm wanting to do another tri, this time an Olympic distance one. The one closest to my house that is at the right time of year is in a hilly area. Since I don't want to reinjure my knee, I'm thinking I need lower gears to deal with these hills, and a new bike is in order. But, I'm feeling guilty about buying another new bike. It's not like the money I'll spend on the bike is going to make someone else in my family do without, and my wife is supportive of the idea. I don't spend a lot of money on myself, I drive a 10 year old Focus that I do most of the repairs on, cut my own grass and rarely hire out a home repair project, but somehow I feel like buying a new bike is excessive. It's not like I won't ride it, I'll probably ride it for the next 15 years, but for some reason I have this little nagging voice telling me not to do it.
Silly, isn't it?