Author Topic: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?  (Read 4332 times)

onemorebike

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Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« on: February 09, 2013, 09:33:02 PM »
MMM espouses the benefits of bicycling, but he didn't have to tell me, I'm a professional bicycle advocate.

What I've been wondering is that I ride often, pretty much everywhere and have a series of bikes for different purposes - all of them rather nice. On one end I wonder about the added maintenance, costs etc of owning four bikes for me and three for my wife but on the other hand it is a relatively inexpensive hobby that just happens to save me tons of money and keep me physically fit. While my first bike returning to the states was an old schwinn beater that got me around, over the next decade or so I amassed nicer bicycles. I should mention that when and if I ever decide to sell any of these bikes I will easily be able to sell them for more than what I paid - one of the benefits of being handy with bikes and connected to the industry.

I wonder though, is it wasteful or overboard to indulge in this hobby/cheaper form of transportation? Would life be simper with only one? (maybe two?) Debt-wise we aren't FI but the way I figure it this is a really easy way to make the best of life, enjoying my neighborhood, exploring the world with my children and getting exercise all at once.

What do you all think about situations like these, where otherwise money-smart folks indulge in a vice?

Thanks in advance for any input!

-onemorebike

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 09:49:08 PM »

I wonder though, is it wasteful or overboard to indulge in this hobby/cheaper form of transportation?

Maybe.  Do you own like 30 bikes?

Quote
Would life be simper with only one? (maybe two?)

Yes.

Quote
Debt-wise we aren't FI but the way I figure it this is a really easy way to make the best of life, enjoying my neighborhood, exploring the world with my children and getting exercise all at once.

I don't know how many bikes you own, but they generally do the same thing.  Why do you have more than 1 or 2?

onemorebike

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 09:58:42 PM »
Good question.

I own 4 bikes. A bakfiets style bicycle for hauling my kids, a surly big dummy for hauling other stuff and moving at a decent speed for longer distances (while hauling), a mountain bike (for taking advantage of colorado), and a road bike (for those rare days I'm without children, groceries, or stuff from Lowe's and just want to get out and ride for exercise's sake.

I tend to be buying or selling these things pretty often but these four are staples. My wife gives me shit any time I talk about selling any of them because she thinks on some level I enjoy the buying and selling of craigslist and they bikes, even when not in use, will eventually get tons of use - just because of how much I ride.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 10:00:19 PM »
That doesn't really sound wasteful.

Nords

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 10:14:13 PM »
I wonder though, is it wasteful or overboard to indulge in this hobby/cheaper form of transportation? Would life be simper with only one? (maybe two?)
It's no more wasteful than owning four surfboards.

If you tried to live with fewer than that then you'd inevitably feel as if you got rid of the "wrong" bike...
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JT

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 10:35:54 PM »
I really get your dilemma.

Nice bikes are lovely and totally desirable. 

My commute to work is on a hard tail mountain bike with slicks and it's a 2000 model.

Recently, we (the bike and I) collided with a car in a front wheel impact that saw my back wheel go up in the air.  My face on the window reminded me of how bugs look on windscreens.  All this managed to do was make me aware that the 13 yo mountain bike brakes are perhaps not the best in town.  I love the bike though.  Lovely frame, decent componentry, nice fit.

Since then I've been coveting disc brakes.  Real bad.

The local bike shop is "helping" me out by putting a half price off mountain bike sale on!  And I've spotted one that would be just perfect.

The trouble is, even at half price, it's still beyond my budget (there's no budget for another bike!!!!).  And I'm struggling to spend that much money, but the devil on my shoulder says I'll be safer with disc brakes.

So far I've resisted, but that's only because I've got a wicked savings habit (saving all my salary) and a recent trauma (relationship breakup) that makes me aware my financial future could be in jeopardy.

My motivation and situation are probably different to yours though.

I'm sorry to have jabbered on about me, but here goes on you.

If you haven't had any recent financial trauma and you're comfortably tracking (ie going hard out) towards FI then I see no problems with your infatuation.  Should you decide to purchase a new bike my suggestion would be to create new short term income/selling a current bike - that way you're even and don't need to feel guilty.

You're doing all your own maintenance (magnifico!) and you're probably saving heaps there.

You could perhaps calculate what the annual running costs of a car plus the cost of the car are apportioned to its expected life; and compare this against the combined cost of all your bikes.  The car results could act as a benchmark.  If all your bikes equal the combined cost of the car then I'd say you'd need to reassess your fascination with the two wheeled machines.

But, at the end of the day, you get so much enjoyment out of your bikes . . . .

(Would LOVE to know what bikes you've got.)

onemorebike

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 06:15:02 AM »
Nords,

Sounds like you own four surfboards? As a novice surfer, what justifies the different boards? The different kind of day you my go out into?

onemorebike

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 06:38:12 AM »
  All this managed to do was make me aware that the 13 yo mountain bike brakes are perhaps not the best in town.  I love the bike though.  Lovely frame, decent componentry, nice fit.

Since then I've been coveting disc brakes.  Real bad.

Just an FYI, as someone who uses both types of brakes, on a normally weighted (not a large cargo bicycle) bicycle in good weather (not muddy, or wet) disc and V-brakes should be very similar in stopping time. Presuming they are well adjusted, the pads and rims are clean, and you've replaced the cables and housing sometime since 2009. ;) Disc brakes have their advantages (working in all sorts of yucky, slimey conditions) but also have their disadvantages too.


Should you decide to purchase a new bike my suggestion would be to create new short term income/selling a current bike - that way you're even and don't need to feel guilty.

Fortunately, this is not in my future. This set of bikes came about after several years of careful consideration. Right now I'm selling off a lot of stuff in my parts boxes (I made 80 bucks last night selling an old set of studded tires and 300 selling off my wife's old roadbike that hadn't been ridden in roughly two years). There is more to go, it was this process that got me thinking about the bikes I currently own.

You could perhaps calculate what the annual running costs of a car plus the cost of the car are apportioned to its expected life; and compare this against the combined cost of all your bikes.  The car results could act as a benchmark.  If all your bikes equal the combined cost of the car then I'd say you'd need to reassess your fascination with the two wheeled machines.
I've thought of this but here is what creeps into my head: how do you account for the fact that it is an interesting hobby too? For example, you may save x amount of dollars by not driving or owning (gas, insurance, tabs, etc) and x amount of dollars by not going to the gym for exercise but how do you account for the value a hobby brings? If I weren't doing this, would I be doing something much more expensive or less healthy? And while  I'm sure we could adjust for hedonic adaptation, how do we measure the sheer happiness this relatively inexpensive hobby brings to my life?

(Would LOVE to know what bikes you've got.)

I should attach a few photos but the bikes are as follows in order of frequent use, and likely resale value (that is unlikely to depreciate much further) with :

1) CETMA Largo (bakfiets) Cargo Bike  (estimated value 2600)
2) Surly Big Dummy with child attachments (estimated value 1300)
3) Soma Juice 29er (600)
4) Surly Crosscheck set up fixed gear (900)

You'll note I'm a steel is real kind of fanatic which is very mustachian  in terms cost compared to other frames and, as a result, I own bikes that hold their resale vale. When you take the total cost of these and compare to our very mustachian cars, the upfront costs are actually more than one of the cars we bought but these will last essentially a lifetime with inexpensive regular maintenance while the car has about 5 to 10 years left with some likely expensive maintenance on the horizon. (If we ever drive it enough to break anything!)

Thanks for the thoughtful response!


Paul der Krake

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 08:51:26 AM »
Nords,

Sounds like you own four surfboards? As a novice surfer, what justifies the different boards? The different kind of day you my go out into?
Not Nords, but I own multiple surfboards too. It's a matter of preference and riding style. The conditions also dictate the kind of board you can use. Not only the size of the waves, but also their shape and how fast they are going.

Even surfboards that look roughly the same in terms of shape to the untrained eye can behave completely differently. For example, I own two longboards, 9'4 and 9'1. However one is straight from the 1960s: thicker and very little rocker (extremely flat). To make this thing turn, you need to walk along the board and use your back foot as a pivot. Because of the flatness, it's damn near impossible to use in waves over 4 feet or so. The other longboard has a lot more rocker and I have used it bigger conditions.

And then you have all the subtleties of modern shorboards made for aggressive turns to rip the lip of the wave, guns which are long shortboards made for big waves, fish-style boards which are very thick and very short, stand up paddles, etc.

swiper

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 09:03:37 AM »
This thread needs bike porn pics

Paul der Krake

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 09:16:47 AM »

onemorebike

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 09:51:20 AM »
Obliging on the porn - the cargo nerd porn.

The Taminator

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 10:11:49 AM »
Great pictures. Your little girl is adorable. You're raising a bike rider for sure! She looks so happy on those bikes. I can relate.

frompa

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 05:11:41 PM »
Hey all - I have multiple bikes for multiple purposes -- a Brompton folder for when I travel, a hard tail mtn bike for when I go off road, an embarrassing road weenie trek carbon fiber for when I wear lycra and go fast, a recumbent trike for when I (or a family member or friend) have some sort of injury that affects my ability to balance, and my regular about-town twenty plus year old touring bike.  I ride them all, pretty darn often.  I have the space in my basement to fit them all.  I do most of my own maintenance.  I don't feel one bit bad about having more than one.  Or even about having all of them.  I really enjoy biking, and I do it most days, under all circumstances.  So, why not? It might be "simpler" if I had only one, but having only one would also limit the circumstances under which I would ride. 

kendallf

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 05:37:45 PM »
Another bike junkie checking in.  I have...probably too many.  Quick count says nine counting the tandem, with another two for my wife and daughter, and multiple frames and parts hanging around.  I don't know if I could even do a net $ accounting for them all, but since I buy and sell parts/complete bikes to fund my habit, it's usually not horrible and it spreads out over time (i.e., I don't go out and buy $5k complete bikes). 

Having said this, I am fairly newly come to the Mustachian way of thinking and I am currently paring down my collection a bit.  I am not planning to race this year since I have too many house and car projects taking up weekends, so that will simplify life a bit further. 

It's hard to quantify in dollar terms alone the health, fitness, and family benefits you get from a riding lifestyle, and I think you're well on your way with your daughter.  Congratulations!
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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2013, 06:43:40 PM »
  All this managed to do was make me aware that the 13 yo mountain bike brakes are perhaps not the best in town.  I love the bike though.  Lovely frame, decent componentry, nice fit.

Since then I've been coveting disc brakes.  Real bad.

Just an FYI, as someone who uses both types of brakes, on a normally weighted (not a large cargo bicycle) bicycle in good weather (not muddy, or wet) disc and V-brakes should be very similar in stopping time. Presuming they are well adjusted, the pads and rims are clean, and you've replaced the cables and housing sometime since 2009. ;) Disc brakes have their advantages (working in all sorts of yucky, slimey conditions) but also have their disadvantages too.

Agreed. Discs are better at staying clean, that's pretty much their only draw (imho). Maintenance and good braking technique are both more important than brake style though.

Maintenance is pretty easy to do at home, all you need is a screwdriver and an allen wrench. If your brake cables look like an upside down Y centered over the wheel, check out this guide on center pull brakes. If your cable pulls from one side of the brake read the side pull brakes guide.

As to technique, all of your stopping power is in the front brake. If you're not using your front brake you're tripling your stopping distance for no good reason. The why's and how's are explained well by Sheldon Brown. Sheldon's entire site is worth reading, it's a goldmine of cycling info.

If you're interested in disc brakes on road bikes you can read more about them at http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/02/14/road-bike-disc-brakes-are-coming-but-will-they-work/, or just search r/bicycling for "disc". It's a hot topic.
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Nords

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2013, 10:50:20 PM »
Sounds like you own four surfboards? As a novice surfer, what justifies the different boards? The different kind of day you my go out into?
Well, the real problem is that I need more storage space.  Otherwise I'd probably own 8-9 boards.

It's based on the conditions and how lazy you're feeling.  I can go out on the south shore in 0-3 feet this time of year, but I'll need my 10'0" to really catch a lot of waves without paddling like a sidewheel steamboat.  It's epoxy and weighs a ton (the board, not me), so I wouldn't mind having another 10'0" in lighter fiberglas.  Either way I can catch anything over a foot with just a few strokes, and majestically curve along the swell as I sit on my beverage cooler or hang ten over the handrails enjoy old-school style.

When the North Shore is down under 10 feet then I'll take out my 9'0" and have a great time, but if it's over 10 feet then I should really use my daughter's 7'9".  But that's her custom board, so if I break that then I'm in big trouble, and I wouldn't mind having my own 7-8-foot board for bigger waves.  If it gets big enough (closer to 20 feet) then I should be able to get up on my 6'11", but I'd pay a painful price for mistakes in that size of surf so I don't do it often.

I frequently have Mainland friends visit for a week or two, and it's more convenient to have 3-4 boards of lengths around 9-10 feet for their learning/use.

It'd be really cool to own a 1940s balsa or a 1950s early fiberglas model, but then I'd probably be too scared of damage to take it out.  I'd just use it as wall art.

My spouse doesn't care to surf prone, but she's interested in stand-up paddling.  I'm interested in SUP too but I've never chased down a board for that.  However if she's interested then I'm even more interested, so we should probably have his & hers SUPs.

If I was a pro then I'd be very conversant on different fin styles, drop-rail vs rounded rails, different noses/tails, and the degree of rocker for various tricks.  Between sponsorship and contest conditions, it's not unusual for those guys to have to choose among 20-30 boards.  What amazes me is that they can give me at least a five-minute speech on the design of each one and the best conditions/maneuvers for their use.

You can see how this builds out of control.  It's like a guitarist having to own just one...
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jp

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2013, 08:35:30 AM »
I have 4 bikes also... I don't feel bad about it all. Mine are cheaper than yours, but all of yours combined aren't as expensive as 1 carbon fiber road bike that I see tons of people cruising around on.  I wouldn't sweat it at all.   The cost is pretty negligible compared to the joy and utility of the bikes... I worry more about the space they take up in my garage than the cost of maintaining the bikes, like maybe I am aquiring too much stuff for the sake of owning it.  But your bikes aren't outrageous and you actually use them... so I say keep them if you want. 



kythuen

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2013, 08:55:07 AM »
I have one and a half bikes.  One is a simple Trek 7200 hybrid commuter, about 8 years old now I guess.  The other is a Diamondback mountain bike of unknown provenance, which technically belongs to my roommate, but since I put the studded tires on and she never bikes in winter, it's all mine till spring.  :)

Obligatory bike shot:



GuitarStv

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2013, 09:36:34 AM »
I own two bikes, which is the perfect number for me.  An aluminum framed hybrid for winter riding through slush and salt, and a steel framed touring bike with fancier components for summer.  Both bikes have front and rear racks, fenders, and work great for commuting/getting groceries/fun rides.  When something's wrong with one of them, I can use the other in a pinch.

kendallf

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2013, 11:56:55 AM »
When something's wrong with one of them, I can use the other in a pinch.

I use this excuse a lot..and then it leads to bikes sitting on the hook for a month with a flat tire.. which is where my time trial rig has been since about December.  :-)
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Russ

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2013, 12:50:49 PM »
Sounds like you have a bike for each purpose, they don't overlap too much, and you enjoy them all. Sure you could get by with less, but since bikes are your thing I'd say keep them. As far as vices in general, I think they're fine as long as you are self-aware and in the appropriate mental state to make logical decisions about them.

Since everyone is listing their bikes, I have 3: a very nice road bike (CSK 7005 Alu frame w/ 1st gen. SRAM Force, good solid ride) which I raced on for 4 years and have used for longer road rides since, a cheap beat-to-hell fixed commuter (BD Kilo TT) which I use for general transportation and most shorter road rides because it's so damn fun to ride, and a CX bike (Cdale something-or-other) which I should probably sell because (a) I haven't raced 'cross in forever and (b) if I were to start again I would probably throw a freewheel on the fixed gear and play the SS game just for funsies.

I had a second road bike (2004 Specialized Allez Elite, my first serious bike) which I rode before I got the CSK in '09 and kept around for winter riding and such afterward. I stopped using the Allez entirely when I bought the Kilo TT, so I sold it on craigslist. Paid $750 new (previous-model-year clearance), listed for $650, and sold for $600 with several tens of thousands of miles on the frame (of course most of the components had been replaced by then). Moral of the story: take care of your bikes.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 08:55:52 PM by Russ »

iamlindoro

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2013, 02:09:39 PM »
I'm a triathlete and own two bikes.  It's by far my most anti-mustachian tendency.  That said, I really, really enjoy it and still manage to save nearly 60% of my gross income, so I don't feel too bad about the relatively small amount I spend of tri gear yearly.  Event entries... those are expensive too.

Here are my two bikes-- a Specialized Shiv (the tri bike) and a Felt F75 (the road bike).  I got rid of my mountain bike last year because I never rode it.



squashroll

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2013, 03:01:23 PM »
Nice pics!  Big smiles in all of them, you clearly enjoy your bikes.  Keep 'em! You are in the industry, you know your bikes and their value, I doubt you are loosing much money here.  Sounds like you could actually be boosting your income, buying and selling bikes--

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2013, 08:33:14 PM »
I had just nicely talked myself out of buying a single speed bike for riding around town, now I stumble across this thread.

I currently have a road bike where i believe i go really quickly on, actual results may vary, an old hybrid which i use as my gravel road light trail bike.   I really wanted to buy a hardtail, but have found you really need to spend enough money to get quality, so i decide to look at single speed bikes thinking it would be cheaper...  Well, you can pretty much bet how that went.  So I decided to follow this forum and just say no... 

And then this thread was found...

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2013, 12:40:18 PM »
$389 for a brand new one. If they're expensive, you're looking in the wrong places.

anastrophe

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2013, 01:01:55 PM »
Yeah, I have three bikes (right now). "But they do different things!"

What's helped me a lot is bike flipping. I realized that I like riding bikes, but I like bike wrenching just as much. So now I have a one-bike-in/one-bike-out system. I can get new bikes, but I have to sell them too. If you get good at wrenching, and live in an area with enough college students, you can constantly have a new bike every season for a net profit!

squashroll

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Re: Coping with Bicycle Infatuation: A financial issue?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2013, 11:26:22 AM »
$389 for a brand new one. If they're expensive, you're looking in the wrong places.

ooooo, I had not come across that website. good prices.  I dunno about buying a bike that I can't ride first... ?