My friend and old sponsor had his annual Christmas party Saturday evening. He’s lost 50 pounds in the last six months. 50 pounds! Listening to him talk about how he’d done it (weights and elliptical), I was inspired all over again for my love of cycling. Riding a bike (actually several of them) is my answer to a midlife crisis. Some men cheat on their family (I’d say wife, but they cheat the whole family, kids and all, if we’re being honest). Others turn to motorcycles, sports cars or snowmobiles (or all of the above). Still others travel or get into some form of fishing… Cycling ticks all three major boxes for me – still, after six years, I can’t imagine another way of wanting to maintain my fitness and sanity.
This shouldn’t be confused with taking the place of recovery or spirituality, of course. While cycling can help enhance both, it can’t replace either. Not for me, anyway – and I really wouldn’t want it to.
Once I hit 32 years-old, my skinny metabolism turned into a fat metabolism. I missed this change and it tap-danced all over my gut. I went from a skinny 150 pounds to almost 200 before I finally figured out what was going on. Running fixed that for quite a while but I got into riding bikes as a desire to do triathlons to shake up my running a bit. Within a few weeks I was happier on a bike. Within a year I hardly ran anymore. A year beyond that and I was cycling exclusively. I felt spectacular, physically, and never looked back. Today, I can lose weight at will, shock nurses and doctors with the fact that I don’t take any prescription medication at my age, and still have excellent bloodwork readings for virtually every test they can run. Life, and fitness, are good.
I travel with my wife and friends all over God’s green Earth to ride. We do supported and unsupported rides. We ride together, eat meals together and share laughs like we did when we were kids together… We share life together. I can’t imagine how having friends could be any better, and this includes my relationship with my wife.
For those who choose sports cars as a hobby, they can expect to pay up to $500,000 for a Ferrari. Worse, most people don’t know that purchasing the car is only half of the cost of owning a high-end sports car. Maintaining one, now that gets expensive. I ride the bicycle equivalent, or at least a McLaren, for an initial investment of $5,000… and yearly maintenance runs about $150 which includes a couple of new tires, a chain and a cassette – all of which I install myself. I don’t need a Ferrari dealership nearby. Just a free half-hour.
Interestingly, and perhaps controversially, my race bike cost $312.50 per pound, give or take. On the other hand, a Ferrari 488 Spider only runs about $90 per pound. The difference being my bike weighs less than my bowling ball. A Ferrari? A little more than 3,100 pounds, dry weight.
The upgrades are awesome too. I wrote about my new brakes for the Venge last week. They cost me $50 (Retail was closer to $150). I installed them myself.
Try getting your brakes done for $150 on a sports car. Brakes cost more than that on my Chevy. Not only that, try to customize your high-end sports car like we can bikes. Not a chance!
Finally, there’s the big deal… This is the A-Number One reason to pick cycling over sports cars for a midlife crisis hobby:
To own and maintain five hyper-cars you have to be a Millionaire 200 times over. To own and maintain five bikes? Meh, middle-class will do just fine – and just remember one last important factor of cycling: A car runs on your wallet. A bike runs on your fat.