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Old 10-19-11, 12:06 AM   #1
Indigo Mule
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What's your "Sophie's Choice" question, bicycle wise?

You know that game where you ask someone a question where they have to choose between two things, and it's impossible for them to answer (either because both things are equally as valued/desirable to them, or both things are equally as repulsive/unwanted)? The value of the game is that you get to weigh the pros and cons of a decision you will probably never have to face, which lets you examine your assumptions and prejudices without the dire consequences of actually having to make the choice. You also get to feel relieved that you don't actually have to make the choice.

I've found my Sophie's Choice question, regarding bicycles. If I had to choose just one bike to ride for the rest of my life (I know--that's an awful enough thought as it is), would I select a carbon fiber bike or a TIG-welded steel bike?

I'm very much a "steel is real" woman, and tease the LBS owner by calling the carbon fiber bikes "plastic toys" (to which he replies, "Plastic is fantastic"). But I can't abide TIG welding. At its best, TIG welding looks to me like a tacky pukha shell necklace, and at its worse it looks like keloid scarring (which makes me feel sorry for the bike, but doesn't make me want to ride it).

Depending on my mood, my answer goes either way, which is how you know you've found a Sophie's Choice question. (Further refinement of the question led to--no, you can't cover or camouflage the TIG welding, and yes the carbon would be replaced when it broke.)

So, I'm curious--What would your Sophie's Choice question be (bike wise)?
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Old 10-19-11, 04:45 AM   #2
Dan Burkhart 
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Wow. I've thought a bit about which one of my bikes I could or would give up, but which one of all of them I could keep? Aaaargh!!!
I'll save stressing by brain over that one untill such time it becomes necessary.
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Old 10-19-11, 10:23 AM   #3
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I used to feel the same way about TIG welds. I would choose lugged steel over just about anything. Then I spent a week at Steve Garn's framebuilding school in Boone, NC. It is sooo much more than a "stack of dimes" and incredibly difficult to do well. I built a frame that has a lush but quick ride...only way to describe it. Better, I think, than some Italian steel I have ridden in the past.

My Sophie's choice would be, if health issues made cycling difficult, could I make the switch to a recumbent? Talk about ugly and inelegant, there is something unappealing about riding around in a recliner.
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Old 10-19-11, 10:58 AM   #4
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Aluminum cyclocross bike. You can do an awful lot with them.

In fact the Century I did this past weekend was on a borrowed cyclocross bike. Set up for road use it felt just like a road bike. No difference. You can take them off-road, set up for that. Trails might be another story, but...for ONE bike, they are pretty versatile.
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