|Santa rocks a single-speed with an elliptical chaining.|
Several websites have published gift ideas for cyclists. I like this one because its recommendations are so practical. A bicycle can be your budget’s best friend, saving you thousands of dollars a year if you use it for transportation. But if you ride for sport and/or competition, cycling can be massively expensive. It’s not always the big ticket items that get you; little expenses really add up. For example, this year I paid $410 just for permission to ride:
$285 race registration fees
$ 60 USA Cycling license
$ 25 state parks vehicle sticker
$ 20 state trail pass
$ 20 Washington County Bicycle Club dues
And I didn’t race as much as many of my teammates and friends. Some of them spent more than $1,000 on registration fees.
I spent $465 this year on cycling-specific clothing, $220 on tires and tubes, $445 on other parts and bike shop services. While riding more than 5,100 miles this year I wore out a few tires, punctured a few tubes, popped a couple of spokes and burned off a set of brake pads. Cycling has consumables and I go through stuff. But my budget-buster was the Diamondback Steilacoom RCX cyclocross bike—a great deal at $1,000 but still a financial stretch for me. Add it all up and I spent more than $2,500 on cycling in 2011.
Many of this year’s purchases will continue to serve me in 2012, but I am planning for a few upgrades. The road bike will get a new wheelset, cassette and saddle. The cyclocross bike will get new tires before the racing season begins. Licenses and race registrations will be a bigger expense next year as I compete more, and I will continue to upgrade my cycling wardrobe with additional Team Pedal Moraine kit from Voler. Then there's the new mountain bike I want, a purchase decision I deferred this year. There's always something.