Just out of morbid curiosity, I started keeping tabs this year on how much money I spend to feed my biking habit. It’s barely mid-April, and I’m surprised. Here’s a quick rundown:
- New helmet $33
- Three tires @ $15 ea. $45
- Two tubes @ $4 ea. $ 8
- New cassette $35
- Ride entry $30 (for a ride I didn’t start because of illness)
- Team jersey for MS 150 $70
- Chamois creme $16
- Total: $237
The Ms 150 is a week away, and I know I’ll be incurring a lot of ancillary costs connected with that one. This all seems like dribs and drabs here, but over $200 in just over three months? It’s a good thing I’ve received a lot of biking items as gifts, because otherwise, I might have dropped even more money.
A lot of my purchases are impulse buys — oh, I gotta have one of those. In other cases, they’re purchases of things I got along without, but being around biking and bikers, I realized they’re things I should have. Shorts and jerseys probably fall into this category.
A biking friend told me he didn’t realize how much money he would spend once he got into riding. He thought just getting on the old beater bike that was gathering dust in his garage and riding it longer distances would get him into better shape. But he found the biking culture too, and soon was dropping money even more prodigiously than I account for above.
“What does a biking noob really need besides a bike, a helmet, shorts and shoes?” he asked me. “And is there any way to get quality at an affordable price?”
Good point. Your friendly LBS probably sells most of its stuff at retail. You might get a good price from some of the big catalogs, but sometimes the quality isn’t what you were hoping for.
If you were going to advise a new biker, what gear would you suggest they must have? What gear could they get by without, at least until they decide that they’re in biking for the long haul?