Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis Expensive

Santa rocks a single-speed with an elliptical chaining.
Buying a good Christmas gift for a cyclist can be a challenge.  Even something as seemingly ordinary as a spare tube comes with perils.  Which type of valve, Presta or Schrader?  What size?  How long a valve stem?  Butyl rubber or latex?  The more I ride, the more specific my Wish List becomes.  In Monday’s mail I received a gift card for Performance Bike.  That’s eminently useful to me, easily converted into just the right bike part or article of clothing.

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.

1 comment:

  1. A never ending process, no matter how you look at it. You can say to yourself this is it, but that is never the case. Looking foreward to the 2012 season. Keep blogging, I enjoy reading them.