I was talking to a guy on the phone the other day. He said, “I paint all my bikes the same color blue, so when my wife asks if I bought a new bike I can just say, ‘No, I’ve had that one. It’s the blue one.'” This struck me as both evil and intensely practical. I made a note for myself.
Over the last few years, I have made a concerted effort not to spend money on bike stuff. This is rather like saying that Caesar’s Palace put a water saving plan in place that consists mainly of having the fountain out front spray slightly less high, but simultaneously I have given away a tremendous amount of my backstock of parts and clothing. I think I’m in karmic balance. Or close anyway.
I sometimes rationalize the things I do buy by converting each week’s expenses to what I call “travel dollars.” In other words, I have to travel. There a bunch of ways to do it, so some costs are simply implicit in moving around the world. If I were to calculate (I never actually calculate, because I find the results so much less encouraging than I imagine they’ll be.) what I spend would reasonably spend on gas and/or train fare, I think it’s ok to spend those “travel dollars” on bike stuff.
Then there’s the “fitness dollars,” the money I might spend on a gym or fitness classes. And “entertainment dollars,” cash I might lay out on movies or bungie jumping if I wasn’t so busy dropping wrenches and swearing in my basement most nights.
As you can see, all this money accrues pretty quickly, and the small amount (not actually that small) that I spend over and above the aforementioned mental slush fund can be chalked up to the fact that I work in the bike industry. That’s just professional expense. I’d write it all off if I didn’t fear the almighty audit and have a latent sense of guilt over the fantastic life I get to live already.
This week’s Group Ride asks about your spending. A gentleperson doesn’t ask what other people spend in real, quantifiable terms. That’s for pollsters and accountants. What I’m asking is this, do you spend as little as you can get away with? Do you think you’re pretty middle-of-the-road? Or are you everyone’s favorite customer? And how do you rationalize whichever of these positions you take vis-a-vis cycling dollars?
Image: Bike Boom