How to Pay for Your Bike Stuff

When I want to buy something bike-related, I simply go to the bike shop and buy it. Doesn’t matter whether I need it or merely want it. I just buy it.

I can do this because I am a manly man, and as such have complete control of the family finances. My purchase decisions are made with confidence and authority, and are never questioned.

Nor are my choices ever ridiculed.

At all.

I’m that masterful.

Sadly, most of the rest of you are not as dominant as I am, so you must resort to cajoling, subterfuge, and other mealy-mouthed in order to support your biking habit.


As long as you’re going to be so desperately sad about the way you purchase your bike gear, you may as well at least improve your technique, so you can beg, lie and steal with some style.

I’ll do my best to help, though — since I never, ever, ever have to resort to such underhanded techniques — I find the entire business intensely distasteful.

How to Beg
Begging is the correct technique technique to use when you believe your case for making a purchase is strong — your bike is old, your shorts are nearly worn out, your helmet is unbearably stinky — but you do not really, when it comes right down to it, have the money in the budget to cover the expense. What you are looking for, here, is a reprioritization of fund allocation. You are looking for, in essence, agreement that it is more important for you to buy a new headset than to buy new shoes for your children.

The best way to achieve this aim is to beg without seeming to beg. Follow these steps:

  1. Identify the non-essential item(s) currently in the budget which you want to replace with your very-essential bike-related item. The items’ prices must be approximately equivalent.
  2. Make a good case. Approach your significant other with an explanation of how you’ve been thinking it might be a financially sound move to hold off on purchasing the currently-in-budget item. “You know, dear,” you might say. “If we buy shoes for Junior this month, that means he’s going to wear out / grow out of these new shoes one month sooner. Suppose we waited an additional month. It’s been a mild winter and the holes in his shoes aren’t that bad. It’s not like it’d kill him to curl his toes under in order to fit in those shoes for one more month, either.”
  3. Look at both sides of the story. Once you’ve made your case, make the opposing case as well, but make it poorly. “On the other hand, maybe we should go ahead and buy those shoes for him now. I’m sure he won’t become a selfish, snobby kid just because we’re constantly buying him new clothes before he’s had a chance to wear in what he’s already got. Hey, in fact, he’s asking for a Playstation 3. Maybe we should look into buying it for him.”
  4. Avoid Direct Association. Once you have made your point, do not immediately say some boneheaded thing like, “Oh good, now with that extra money I’m going to buy new titanium axles for my pedals.” Wait 36 hours, and then say, “I’ve been needing [note: never say ‘wanting’] new pedals for about nine months now, and it looks like there’s finally room in the budget. I’m going to go buy those today.” Note the presumptive close, and further note that there is no easy-out provided for your significant other (e.g., some mealy-mouthed phrase like “if it’s all right with you” tacked on to the end of the sentence) for your significant other. If s/he wants to shut you down, make her/him initiate it.
  5. Don’t be a spaz. When this works, you may be so amazed that you’ll be inclined to start falling all over yourself with expressions of gratitude and promises of future favors. Don’t do this. If you do, your significant other will realize that s/he has been hornswoggled and will reverse her/his decision, and game is over.

How to Beg Abjectly
Sometimes, what you want may be really silly, and you know it is. You may want a fourth road bike, for example. Or a Power Tap, in spite of the fact that the reality of what you need to do to improve performance is startlingly obvious (i.e., lose eighty pounds). Or perhaps you want to buy a pair of Assos shorts, just to find out if they really will give you a Luxury Body (please let me know how that turns out). 

In cases like this, the best thing you can do is beg in the classic sense of the word. Take your sweetheart by both hands (this is required), look her deep in the eyes (I’m saying “her” because I really can’t even picture a woman begging like this), and lay it all out on the line. “Sweetheart,” you should say, “I have no rational reason why I should get a Power Tap. I don’t need one. I’m not even sure what they’re useful for. And yet, I want one. Desperately. I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate at work. Please, indulge me.”

This will work, but only once every nine years, so choose your item of abject beg-worthiness wisely.

Also, don’t tell anyone about your abject begging episode, because it will creep them out.

How to use the Turnabout Technique
If you live with a selfish person — or someone whom you suspect could become selfish given the proper stimuli — the simplest and most direct way to get what you want is to offer an exchange. “Hey, you know how you’ve been admiring that new Toyota Sequoia? I bought one for you today. Oh, and I also bought myself a new set of Magura disc brakes for my singlespeed.”

Note that with this tactic, you must spend noticeably more on the “turnabout” item than you did on yourself.

Also note that this tactic will quickly drive you into the poorhouse, since you must always plan on spending more than twice the cost of the item you want, every time you want to buy something.

Black Budget
This is the most underhanded of all possible methods of purchasing bike-related gear: buy it with money that your significant other doesn’t know you have.

In order to purchase items from the Black Budget, first you must create a means to acquire money without your significant other’s knowledge, such as:

  • Lunch money: Don’t eat lunch. Save your money. In cash.
  • Cook the books: When purchasing groceries, always ask for cash back. Report your grocery spend as if the cash back were part of the grocery spend.
  • Donate blood plasma. You can make a secret $20 a week doing this. I know a guy who actually did this. I won’t give away who it was, but his first initial is D. You know, as in “Dug.”

You must also have a place to secretly store this money. An envelope at work. A bank account at a different institution than where you normally bank (be certain that the monthly statements are sent to your email address, not to your physical address).

You must be careful when purchasing items with the Black Budget. Put simply, you must never purchase something obvious. For example, you cannot purchase a new bike with the Black Budget unless you already have so many bikes that there is no way your significant other will be able to tell you’ve added one to the collection. If you buy a new helmet with the Black Budget, buy one the same color as your old helmet.

Bike shoes are a safe Black Budget buy, because all bike shoes look the same to non-bike people.

All of this, frankly, is deplorable. You should never do any of this. Ever. At all.

I certainly don’t.

PS: Today’s weight: 160.8. Stressed out = stalled out.

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