Cycling Addiction and Compulsive Bicycle Acquisition

Date Posted:5 August 2016 

Cycling Addiction.

Sometimes becomes fully blown 'Compulsive Bicycle Acquistion' (CBA) or N+1 (where N = current amount of bicycles owned). 

You start with one wonderful bike, which you adore, ride daily and fall in love with the whole cycling sport and lifestyle. At first you may say "this is the last bike I will ever buy, my one and only, it is the best bike ever and all I ever dreamed of owning. I will never buy or need another bike."

You quickly come to realise many things:

1/ it's not light enough, it's not the latest, greatest design and technology and therefore you're not able to ride as fast as you SHOULD be..given your strength, fitness, talent, ability etc.

2/ it's not able to go on all the surfaces you would like to ride -whether it's track, road, dirt etc.

3/ you need different bikes for each and every different surface and type of event.

I have friends who have garages, sheds, man caves & houses FULL of bikes and bike parts and take great delight in the stories they tell, tiny white lies & small deceptions to smuggle new bikes and bike parts into their collections. One friend buys all his bikes in one colour and when his wife asks if that is a new bike.....'NO, no, no, you've seen this one before'.....or he says he's looking after a bike for a friend, fixing it up, test riding it etc.Another always makes a new bike is dirty to ensure it looks old, used and never brand new.

So, Compulsive Bicycle Acquisition: a WANT or craving for a bike for every occasion and every surface. An inability or unwillingness to discard unused bicycles which soon threaten to clutter large areas of the home. CBA can prevent typical household use of homes and limit normal uses of space, limiting activities such as cooking, cleaning (bathrooms & laundries have been known to become bike wash, kit, spare parts, lube collection and bike storage areas) moving through the house can become difficult, sleeping (bikes can dominate bedrooms) and of course garages -parking cars in these severely space restricted areas becomes increasingly difficult.

Compulsive hoarders are aware of their problem but the emotional attachment to the objects of their desire far exceeds the motive generally to discard their bikes. Other contributing factors are: caffeine dependence, social anxiety about 'keeping up' with their cycling peers, training buddies & racing groups, AND avoidance behaviour: not wanting to work, dreaming of being a pro cyclist and trying to balance cycling with 'family time' expectations.

I, myself, have a carbon road bike, a titanium road bike, a Cyclocross bike and my pride and joy Titanium Single Speed Hard tail Mountain bike. I have a Vintage Steel frame bicycle which one day I will do up as a Fixed Gear bike....and I could easily take ownership of a dual suspension geared MTB or a fat bike.....I have never tried Track Racing but am currently withstanding the temptation. So, this inspired this drawing today....

From Cyclist's Anonymous: Am I a cycling addict? 

  1. Have you ever decided to stop cycling for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
  2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your cycling – stop telling you what to do? 'Work, mow the lawn, clean the house....'  
  3. Have you ever switched from one kind of bicycle to another in the hope that this would stop you enjoying it so much?
  4. Have you had a bike ride most mornings during the past year?
  5. Do you envy people who can go bike riding without getting into trouble?
  6. Have you had problems connected with cycling too much during the past year?
  7. Has your cycling caused trouble at home?
  8. Do you ever try to get “extra” bike miles and training in because you feel you do not get enough?
  9. Do you tell yourself you can stop cycling any time you want to, even though you keep buying bikes, gear and parts online when you don’t mean to?
  10. Have you missed days of work because of cycling and bike events?
  11. Do you have “blackouts” when you can't access Strava? 
  12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not cycle? No....never....


Recovery: it usually takes a few years of trying every type of cycling before finding the one you love best and sticking with it. THEN, you can eventually give or sell the bikes not used so much. Once you have done all the races, events and challenges you feel you have accomplished all the goals you set and it's easier to minimalise your collection. There is hope, stick in there!



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