Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cycling Expenses

While hunting around for something else, I found something I posted to the iBOB list a few years ago about expenses and cycling. Here it is in slightly edited and updated form:

Jeff Potter (the editor and publisher of a neat magazine called Out Your Backdoor) wrote:

I find that adopting anything as a lifestyle results in that thing causing you to be broke. Even if you're on a big team and get most of your stuff for free or half price.

It's not just the travel that makes racing "expensive." I think that hobbies are all designed to tap you out, no matter what you make. They take what you have to give. They inspire you to give all you have. If you're buying it all cheap, used, then you're nickel'n'dimed to death. Well, you're tapped out.

Now I count Jeff as one of the good guys in this world but I'm going to argue the other side of this issue here. But first, I'm going to agree with him that "hobbies" tap you out. Yes, for most people a hobby is something they choose to do. It's fun, they don't need to do it. They enjoy it. Once you've used some of your time for earning what you need for food, shelter and clothing you spend the rest of your time and money on what you enjoy. Call it entertainment. Call it a hobby.

But that hobby, even if it's just a hobby is something you enjoy. Maybe it becomes your passion, a key focus of your life. Guess what, where you spend your time, that is where your heart is. That is where your wealth is. Your life is your wealth, how are you spending it? Are you tapped out? Well, if you feel you are, then you are. But if you find joy in what you've chosen, if you don't begrudge the choices you've made, I'd argue that you aren't broke.

People could look at me and say I'm broke. I currently own two bikes, I haven't owned a car in about 20 years, I probably make less per hour than most people reading this note.

But I'm the richest man I know. I share my life with a wonderful woman who knows that wealth has very little to do with money and everything to do with being at home in the universe.

Sure the magazines and the business of cycling or fly fishing or whatever exist and thrive by selling dreams. If I had Reynolds wheels I'd have won that sprint, if I had that carbon flyrod I have landed that trout, etc. Yeah, whatever. If Reynolds wheels make you happy, go for it. But don't whine that they cost $2K a set. That's what they go for. You decide if they're worth whatever chunk of your life it takes to earn that $2K.

But I need them to be competitive in the Cat 2 races and it's so hard to be a Cat 2... is hard.

The Buddha tells us that life is suffering and when I saw the Buddha in Greenwich Village a few years ago he told me that "life is suffering, pal!" I read somewhere that when I meet the Buddha on the road I'm supposed to kill him but I was running late and had other things to do.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh, yeah. You can be hardcore into your thing without getting caught up in money. Yvon Chouinard lived out of his VW bug, forged climbing gear in the field and was basically a great climbing bum. The man was so broke he ate catfood but he did OK for himself.

Moitessier had great adventures and was one of the greatest sailors ever. Most of his adventures were done on budgets that wouldn't cover the insurance payments on a Hummer H2.

Enough rambling for now.

Have fun out there.

"Society is a system of lures, I'M THROUGH WITH IT."
-- Jack Keroauc, Some of the Dharma


Kris said...

Great stuff man.

Byron said...

Great words, Kent. I've been thinking a lot about expenses in life and I think you're close to figuring it out.

Jim G said...

Hmm. Replace "Reynolds wheels" with "Rivendell bicycle" (or even "multiple bicycles") and you'd be overlapping with a lot of what I've been thinking on lately.

Cellarrat said...

Just one bike here...

I also really enjoy having foo foo coffee with frineds in the morning and drinks in the eve and traveling with the bicycle... Headstones have a dash between the dates and I want a good dash =)

You also don't see u-hauls in fuenrals =)

Tex69 said...

hate to be repetitive, but great entry. you got it right.

Tammy said...

I love you man!

The Buddha suffers too much. Be grateful for the day, I say! And do what you love :)

PJ in Oly said...

I get that about how expensive cycling is all the time, surprizingly often from newbie cyclists.

My resoponse, compared to what?

If you've ever been into boating, or skiing, or any number of other 'hobbies" they all come with a price tag. and with a bike you don't have to pay greens fees or lift tickets, and really, you don't have to 'go' anywhere to do it.

Sure, it is expensive compared to sitting on the porch drinking cheap malt liquior. All that requires is an old throwaway couch, and if you get real good at it, it should save yoy even more beacuse it will also shorten up your life.

Chico Gino said...

Overall, very good post. I think the point here is simply to live beneath your means; fill your life with people and pets and activities that matter - not stuff.

That said, you don't have to be poor, or a Taoist, or Jack Kerouac to be happy (I don't think Kerouac was very happy). You don't even have to suffer. But you have to know what it is that makes you happy, and that's the hard part. And more or better stuff generally isn't the source of that happiness.

The beauty of cycling is that you can go out and find a twenty year old beautifully made lugged steel bicycle, and for very very little money have a comfortable all-day everyday riding machine. And with that inexpensive simple machine, you can temporarily ride away from that system of lures.

Maybe Kerouac needed to ride more.

Alberto said...

Indeed, Kent, things ought be simpler but not simpler than they need to be. I think Einstein said something to that effect, but no matter. All is relative to one’s needs, means and ways. Examining those needs is the hard part. On my first and only organized century I felt like a total idiot riding on my poor, piglet bike next to all those hungry-mean road machines. And true, I could not ride faster than them – no way near as fast – but I still had a great time. It is also true that those $3000 bikes might not be so expensive in light of things. Rationalization perhaps, but as my friend suggested the other day, if that machine gets you out three or four days out of the week, keeps you in shape, and let’s you have lot’s of fun all in one, they aren’t expensive at all. That that can be accomplished for next to nothing is icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

ha...ha... I also always tell my wife that I am a rich man....but not in dollars....


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