The conversation began simply enough, as do most conversations that eventually lead to world-shattering moral dilemmas. Lynn said:
"Mark Lynskey was here last week."
Lynn is Lynn Greer, one of the owners of my Local Bike Shop, Gran Fondo. These are the people who feed my sick need for bicycles - the pushers for the more healthy but expensive form of crack cocaine to which I am hopelessly addicted. When I break it, they fix it. When I need new stuff, they get it for me. When I think that I can ride, they go out with me on a Sunday morning and show me the folly of pushing the pace on a hill.
(Actually, Lynn and Vida Greer are good friends of mine who often refuse to sell me crap that I don't need. They do this with lots of people, mostly because they are good folks who want everyone to love bicycles they way they do, which is a noble effort. But back to the story ...)
"Oh," I replied. "Those Lynskeys are nice."
In case you didn't know, the Lynskey family used to make Litespeed bikes in Chattanooga, but sold the company a few years ago. They are back, making high-end titanium bicycles. My friend, Bill Glass, had a Litespeed that he loved. As only a randonneur can, he eventually broke it (yes, you can break even titanium).
"They've got this new Helix technology that might make a great distance bike," Lynn said. "Vida's going to get one. Titanium, of course."
I must have flinched then, because I immediately had two thoughts: 1) My Salsa Casseroll isn't even a year old, and 2) I really want a new randonneuring bike.
Why do I want a new rando bike? Well, the components on the Masi are from my old Cannondale, and are pretty banged up. And the Masi frame is a little banged up, having picked up a big dent in the top tube either in route to or from Canada, or maybe in Canada. Sleep deprivation makes you forget things. And it's aluminum.
If you've never ridden aluminum, you probably don't know this, but it doesn't soak up much from the road. It's very light and all that, but it ain't plush.
Also, there is almost no way you can mount racks on the Masi, since the seat stays and front fork are carbon fiber and there are no braze-ons. I decided in Canada that the next bike would have a rack that didn't rock when I did. Plus, you need a rack if you're going to do loaded touring with panniers, which I'd like to do this year.
And me like titanium. It hard. Never rusts. Feels so solid with every stroke. Mmmm, titanium.
Lynn was still talking: "They're offering us this huge discount."
You had me at titanium ...