If I had to, absolutely had to pick just one bike, it would be a bit of no brainer. Sure, I don't want to have just one bike, and n+1 states quite simply that you always need another. But hypothetically, a cyclocross bike is tough to top, and an easy bike to rack up the miles with.
My Kona has taken on everything from the Barry-Roubaix gravel road race, a massive pre-ride of the Cherry-Roubaix road race, an Iceman Cometh Out and Back ride, and is used almost daily as my commuter. The Private Jake is a workhorse; aluminum frame, carbon fork, the simplicity of a single chain ring, and a proven track record over the last 5,000 miles of being pretty tough to stop.
It's a bike that's been beaten and put away bloody. It's been crashed, tipped over, thrown over singletrack and saturated with rain and snow and slush so many times that riding it in dry weather seems to short-change the experience a bit. It's simply been a bomb-proof bike, and has reinforced my conviction that everyone should have a cyclocross bike in their quiver for gravel, bad weather, and the ability to go out and do it all.
Maybe my favorite ride ever on the Private Jake was at The Divide Race last year. They call it a gravel race, but that's only part of the story. There are plenty of sections that barely qualify as two-track, with washed out sections and sand pits and some steep, loose climbs that I'd love to see cars actually try to drive. In other words, it's the perfect course for a burly bike with wide knobbies and a smart, simple gear ratio. Up and down, and even through those annoying, soul-crushing sandpits, the bike just flew. It was a beautiful day on the perfect bike, and one of the best days I've ever had on two wheels.
As my bike rolls past the 5,000 mile mark, I really can't wait to see what else it can do. My goal is to finally give this bike a chance at its first Iceman Cometh Challenge, with a warm-up for the big day at the Peak2Peak race at Crystal Mountain a few weeks before. This bike deserves to get a shot at all of the races and rides we love doing in Michigan, and it's certainly up for it.