The seven-year itch

The Trusty Steed - seven years old today

The Trusty Steed – seven years old today

Sorting through some old papers recently, I came across the receipt for the Trusty Steed. The date on this now extremely faded scrap of paper was 31 March 2007 – which means the Trusty Steed is now seven years old.

(OK, technically you could argue that he’s slightly older as he’s a 2006 model, but I look upon that more as the date of conception. His actual birthday is the day he became mine.)

Seven years. That’s longer than I had with all three of my previous bikes put together.

The first one only lasted a year, after which I abandoned it to its fate. It was a pretty useless piece of cheap junk from Halfords, after all.

The second two lasted about two years each, give or take a few months, before some light-fingered thieves made off with them – the first while it was locked to some railings outside a pub near Angel, north London, and the second from a bike rack on Upper Street, also in Angel.

The Trusty Steed, on the other hand, has survived being left out in the rain, being locked up outside various theatres, pubs and restaurants while I’ve been inside having fun, being ridden from one side of north London to the other – and back again – on an almost daily basis, and being held hostage for a week.

So why has he lasted this long? I honestly don’t know. It’s not as if I’m leaving him outside any less than I did with my previous bikes. I even leave him in Angel from time to time.

Whenever I do leave him anywhere, I always make a point of putting my lock – an Abus D-lock – through the frame and the back wheel – as that’s harder for a thief to break. But no lock is unbreakable if a thief really wants a bike.

I guess that must be it. No one wants the Trusty Steed – no one except me, that is.

As wonderful as it is to have had the same bike for seven years – and as sad as I would be if he ever did get stolen – it does have one down side. I haven’t been able to scratch the new bike itch.

Though I would never admit it in front of the Trusty Steed, I often find myself lusting after shiny new bikes. I dream of pootling along on a classic Dutch-style bike, or of zipping through the traffic on a nippy single speed. I was drooling all over the beautiful bikes on display at the Spin London show this past weekend.

All those gorgeous bikes, and I have no reason to buy any of them.

I mean, I could buy one, but the sensible voice in the back of my head points out that I really don’t need one. The Trusty Steed – though hardly a looker – is everything I need in a bike. He gets me to and from work every day. He’s light enough to manage the hills with ease, yet robust enough to do this while carrying my laden panniers. He doesn’t attract attention, so I can trust he’ll be waiting to take me home at the end of the night.

A new bike, on the other hand, would be expensive. I’m supposed to be saving money, so it’s very hard to justify spending a considerable sum of money on something that, essentially, I really don’t need. A new bike might get stolen. And besides, where would I put a new bike? Not out in the back garden, where it would rust alongside the Trusty Steed, that’s for sure.

So – unless there’s a sudden change in both my finances and living arrangements – it looks like I’m sticking with the Trusty Steed.

Here’s to the past seven years. May there be many more to come.

6 thoughts on “The seven-year itch

  1. My last one lasted over 5 years before it was stolen, the one I ride now is less than a year. but I still look at others as I pass, and stop at bike stores to browse. BUT, being cheap, I know its just looking for me. Good job keeping it so long!

  2. Goodness. I can’t imagine looking at other bikes. I’ve had my bad boy, Bert, for 9 years now and long may I ride its heavy, dark blue, now-kind-out-of-date, aluminum frame. Fortunately, it looks so crap now that no one would want to steal it, so there is a plus side! Great post 🙂

  3. My 8-yr-old Trek has been battered by potholed roads in Dublin and now London, but it gets me from A to B and, like you, I can’t justify forking out for something shiny.

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