E+1

Bad news everyone. N+1 has failed. It’s over. But from its ashes rises something new. Something better. Something that will save us.

Words: James Raison     Cover Image: Andrew Clifforth

N+1

For those living under rocks, in caves, or anywhere Australia’s National Broadband Network has been rolled out (take THAT Malcolm), N+1 is the equation that gives you carte blanche to buy infinite bikes. N is the number of bikes you have, and +1 is the indefinite opportunity to add to N. It entered the cycling vernacular celebrated with ticker-tape parades, confetti canons, and free KOMs for all. Finally cyclists had the justification they needed to expand their bike collections with reckless abandon.

 A classic N+1 factory

A classic N+1 factory

It has failed us though. See, N+1 is like those eating challenges. You know the ones: “eat this burger that weighs more than a 18-month old child in 30 minutes” and you can… I dunno… gloat about it or get Instafame or whatever. Those challenges, like N+1 pander to an unfillable appetite. A vortex deep inside. We flew too close to the sun. Like Icarus (the Greek guy, not the dude who doped up and then did worse at Haute Route ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Relationships were strained. Mortgages were made years longer. Garages and spare rooms overfloweth. It doesn’t have to be like this.

E+1

Ok, so what’s E+1? Well, it’s similar, but E = experience. The idea is, that you should stop buying bikes and start buying bikes that support a new, or valuable experience. It’s friggin genius.

Here’s why:

  • You still get bikes and bikes are ace. Yup, this isn’t necessarily about buying fewer bikes. Just reducing the repetition.
  • Diversity. E+1 will give you a rounded stable to support the amazing experiences that bikes can give you. No, you actually don’t need a crit bike, and a climbing bike, and a road race bike. That’s one bike dammit! The E+1 ethos stops that before it starts. Instead, imagine having one road bike, one gravel bike, and one mountain bike. No more missing great experiences because you overcapitalised on the same bike.
  • A whole new world of geekery. Face it, cyclists are nerds. So adding another discipline means you can spend more and more time researching, dreaming, and speccing up your sick new whips.
 Sime prime E+1 here. Photo: Bob Barrett - IG @bobbarrettphotos

Sime prime E+1 here. Photo: Bob Barrett - IG @bobbarrettphotos

The Ultimate Bonus

E+1 merges two of life’s best things: bikes and travel. Yes, you read that correctly. Not only do you get bikes, you get holidays too. Let that sink in. 

Going to the Pyrenees? Well, if you don’t have a suitable bike, then you better get one. E+1. Hey, the Tasmania Trail looks pretty flippin amazing doesn’t it? If you don’t have a suitable adventure bike then you could buy one and go an an adventure. E+1, yo! Perhaps you want to go on a bikepacking adventure. Well, the E+1 could extend to some sweet new gear too.

Opportunity Costs

Before you get excited, there needs to be a modicum of control with E+1. Spending all your money on bikes and preventing awesome experiences is just N+1 all over again. So think before you drop all your ducats on that Bicycle Market bargain that you sort of want but are mostly captivated by its cheapness. Instead of another road bike for $3,000 you should consider what future E+1 opportunities you’re robbing yourself of. The cost of spiffy new kit, helmet, and shoes escalates very quickly. You could be using that money for flights to Japan for your bikepacking adventure. Wouldn’t that be better? Of course it friggin would! 

Apply this differently and you could buy a $4,000 bike instead of a $6,000 bike and then go on a trip with it. You can even use it to channel external money towards bikes. I have wanted a new TV for ages. I was on the precipice of buying one but then E+1 kicked in. Do I really need a TV to replace one I already have? Or could that money be used on my next bike? Let’s just say I’m very much looking forward to my Bombtrack Beyond +2 arriving so I can take it on some sweet E+1 adventures.

E+1 in Action

 Yes. E+1 is good.

Yes. E+1 is good.

My recent Mawson Trail adventure was E+1 in all its glory. I spent $700 on a brand spankin Specialized Rockhopper and went on an amazing adventure. When I got back, I sold it. Now it’s somebody else’s E+1. I could have sat out the trip because I didn’t have a suitable bike but I didn’t. I rolled the difference between what I bought and sold the bike for into my daily trip budget. E+1! It just works.

Free Yourself

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Not only can you have your cake, but you can eat it too. In Japan. With your new bike. Tastes good, doesn’t it? You’re sitting there eating it because you didn’t blow your money an a blaze of N+1 silliness. You saw the light. E+1.