Can a bike be worth more than a car?
No this is not going to be an existential blog entry about urban infrastructure (although I am reading Taras Grescoe's fantastic new book Strap Hanger). The question is a real one.
I'll be doing the 50km leg of the Becel Ride for Heart this weekend and Julien Papon has stepped up and offered me one of his custom bikes. He said he wouldn't tell me what it was worth because I'd probably be afraid to ride it. But I know from previous encounters that it could be as much as 20 thousand bucks.
Papon is a passionate man. He builds bikes one at a time and he custom designs each on of them to suit the owner. Last year he asked me out to his shop and made three hours of measurements using lasers, calipers and slide rules. I think he knows more about my proportions than my doctor. Papon's bikes (his company is called Vitess) are works of art. And I can honestly say from the test drive I took on Thursday before bringing the loaner home on the back of my car, riding one is like flying through the air on nothing at all. It weights thirteen pounds for Pete's sake.
Not all of his bikes cost more than cars. You can get the entry level model for what someone would normally pay for an elite bike. This one has electronic gear shifts (cause changing gears is so hard).
I'll let you know when the ride is over how it feels for 50km.