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Daily Archives: March 2, 2015

Me, Not to Put too Fine a Point on It: Why I dropped Thousands of Dollars on a Bicycle

Somebody searched, and I quote, “what kind of a person spends thousands of dollars for a bicycle” and landed on one of my posts.  God only knows which but let’s face it, they got the right blog (humorously, I googled the same thing and my post is first on the list).  This is the face of a happy cyclist on a semi-ridiculously expensive bicycle (it costs more than a decent, used Ducati.  That’s the motorcycle Ducati – on the plus-side, my bike probably weighs less than a Ducati’s rear tire):


Not only did I shell out two veritable shit-tons of cash for that bike, I would again should the need or desire arise.  In fact, after I spent thousands on my bike I went out and spent another shit-ton more on my wife’s:


If that wasn’t crazy enough for ya, I decided to store them in the house so they won’t ever rust and be less susceptible to theft.  Not that I’m short of outdoor storage space, I’m not, but who would store that kind of awesome outside?  Certainly not I!

In any event, there are dozens of reasons to spend crazy money on a bicycle, here are some of mine:

  • Cycling is my answer to the midlife crisis hobby (and I should still have a good forty years before I’ll have to trade my road bike in for a leisure cruiser).
  • I wanted something I would love to own maintain meticulously.  I won’t maintain something I can easily replace every few years.
  • I was originally planning on going the two-seater sports car route for the impending midlife crisis – I have a 1986 Mazda RX-7 with the rotary motor in the garage, but they’re really expensive to fix up and I couldn’t possibly feel good about sinking the $15,000 it will take to make that car right…  I bought five bikes, wait, eight bikes, pedals, clothing, helmets and everything my whole family could possibly need for cycling and I’m still way under the cost of just fixing that car up… and we’re not even into fuel, insurance and maintenance costs after it’s fixed.  Which leads to…
  • A car runs on my wallet.  My $4,000 bike runs on fat.  ‘Nough said.
  • That last point is reason enough.
  • I ride between 5,500 and 6,000 miles a year.  Cheaper aluminum bikes aren’t near as comfortable on anything but glass-smooth roads – something that does not exist in my State.  Some are into the whole “fitness should be tantamount to torture” thing.  Not me.
  • That last point is reason enough again.
  • With that many miles and at the speeds I ride, I need competent (read that “slightly expensive”) components on my bike – stuff that won’t wear out with a fair amount of stress.  The 105 line that came on my bike is Shimano’s workhorse.
  • Finally, when I sobered up, a friend of my wife’s father showed me his brand new car that he’d just paid cash for…  He was in his early sixties and had sobered up decades earlier… At the time and I was making about $27,000 a year – not much by American standards, but not bad for a 25 year-old with only a high school diploma and a couple of years of college.  Well that old fella promised me right there, if I stayed sober and worked hard, one day I’d be in a position to pay cash for niceties.  My Venge was the first big nice thing that I didn’t have to finance.  When I picked the bike up, I put the cash on the counter and walked out with my new bike.  

So that about sums it up.  I would never recommend someone go to the length of being a bike snob (or snot, take your pick) either for or against nice bikes.  At the end of the day, it’s always about how a cyclist rides and takes care of what they have anyway.  The only thing I would recommend shelling out some major cash for would be your cycling shorts (or get them on sale).  Cheap cycling shorts suck and they feel like you’re riding on barbed wire after twenty miles, trust me – I’ve been there.

From time to time you’ll find someone, usually not very intelligent, who will give people a tough time about not having nice enough equipment or having too nice a bike.  You could very well choose to take offense at that, just as long as you understand that’s your choice to give someone else’s opinion weight.  On second thought, never mind.  You’d never do something like that, now would you?


All of My 2015 Eggs in One Basket – My Eyes are on DALMAC

For the first three years of this blog I kept track of my goals on a separate page for each year, heck I actually had goals:  Finish ‘X’ distance in ‘Y’ time, etc..  Last year’s goals started getting a little weak because I was already doing everything I wanted to do and beating all of my best attempt at goals handily.  I was faster than I imagined possible, I was in better shape than I could have hoped, I could ride farther than I would have dreamed to, comfortably; only elitist snobs can do better (That’s supposed to be a laugh-line)…  My 2014 “goals” ended up amounting to “do a little better than last year”, which meant this year’s goals would be do better than that…  It was getting stale.

There was one exception, one ride that my wife asked me to wait on until such a time as my eldest daughter could be responsible enough to keep and eye on her younger sister while my wife knocked out her own bike ride.  This is the year.  The DALMAC.  409 miles in four consecutive days, from Lansing, Michigan to Mackinaw City with the first and the last days being the fastest (my buddy Mike says the last day turns into a race).  My goal is 20 hours.

This will mark the first time I’ve ever ridden consecutive centuries, let alone four in a row, so training this summer will be intense – especially on the weekends.  The plans so far will be 70-80 mile rides each weekend morning, at least as my brother in chainrings, Mike has alluded to.

I will participate in my normal rides, the Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery with my wife, the Assenmacher 100, the Fahrrad Tour 100k, amongst others and my wife and I are adding the Horsey Hundred in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend (105 miles on Saturday and 35-55 on Sunday) with several of my cycling buds.  In the end, all of the rides I participate in will be for the prize: DALMAC.  I want to absolutely kill that ride this year.

Now, if the first two months are any indication, this year should be a banner year for sales so I think rather than do the camping tour, I might go for the hotel tour, staying in a hotel each night rather than a tent.  We’ll have to see.

So that’s the dealio, that’ll be my goal for this year:  400+ miles in under 20 hours over four days.

Training for spring has been going excellently between overall hours and working in my intervals once or twice a week.  My confidence is up, I feel stronger and I’m up in the 120-130 miles per week range already (even if it is only on the trainer, I’m working a lot harder at it than I ever have).  I’m sure I’ll have quite a bit of a rude awakening as soon as we start riding outside, I always do, but I should be in a little better shape than in previous years.  And on a really positive note, we could be riding outdoors again as soon as this coming weekend – so far the weather man is calling for mid-30’s and partly cloudy skies.  We’ll see what happens come Friday though – this is Michigan.