Our regular guest poster, Don Blount, came up with a suggestion the other day: Track how much we spend on biking during the year.
“Someone told me that biking was not an inexpensive activity,” said Don. “After buying a bike, what’s left? Little did I know the black hole I was getting sucked into.”
He’s not alone. I started tracking my biking expenditures this year, just to see how much this pastime put me back, and it’s been an eye-opener. So I checked with our other regular guest poster, Jeff Hemmel, to see if his story was similar. It was, but different.
Here’s a look at what we’ve spent this year. We broke it down into three categories: Apparel, equipment, and miscellaneous (Blount didn’t account for miscellaneous expenses).
So Don emerges as the winner (or loser), with $1,100 spent on biking. He explains his leading total this way: “I spent much less than this last year, my first year of riding, as I just used many of the items I already had, most of those were just barely adequate for riding in any season. And in the fall and winter I froze my behind off.”
Even though he spent over a thousand dollars, Don says it could have been worse: “I saved about $300 – 30 percent – by purchasing everything and I mean everything on sale. That’s either a sign of: a) my shopping savvy or b) the great markup on inventory by the biking industry.”
Jeff’s story was different because of the way he bought his stuff. “I had received my road bike last Christmas,” he said, “so was getting a lot of stuff I might not have purchased in a normal year. I thought it was interesting what I did to support my habit -— lots of deals on eBay, sold a number of other items on eBay when I wanted to upgrade to something else. Looking back, I feel like I didn’t really get much of anything this year, as I was really watching my money. Looking at this list, however, maybe I was wrong!”
Jeff notes that he bought three Pearl Izumi jerseys, either on eBay or at the PI outlet store, for a total of $80. His bike rack was a $6 eBay purchase. But his $90 shoes, that came as a birthday present, were given to him by his wife, “…so it’s really my money in the long run.”
In the Bike Noob household, we’ve been careful shoppers this year, too. Some of what I count as apparel purchases are really Christmas presents that I won’t be using. And then there was the entry fee I paid for a ride I never rode in because of illness. And the two nights in a Houston hotel plus meals and sundry expenses could have been added to the miscellaneous list, because they were the result of the MS150. But I decided not to.
I think the three of us would agree that all these items were needed. “I don’t consider many of these items frivolous purchases,” says Don. “Maybe the Garmin, but even that replaced a $20 broken bike computer. The others I can justify as either items needed for comfort on the bike (bibs) or safety (light) or replacement (tires).
“Looking toward next year I think I’m set on a number of things and don’t plan on spending nearly this much. But then again I didn’t plan on spending this amount this year.”