Today is a significant day for me. The once great company that I work for is another casualty in the recession and has filed for bankruptcy. Probably a blessing in disguise but troubling none the less. One benefit that might come out of this is that I may have more time on my hands to dedicate to this blog!
On that note, you may have noticed that I added some Google Ads to my site. Though I’ve been trying to avoid this, I decided to put some ads on the site in case I need to sustain my near future! Please feel free to click on an Ad that interests you or place your ProBikeKit.com order via the link on the top right. Thanks for your support and I hope you’re enjoying the site.
Cycling: a haven in hard times…
In my view, the cycling industry is in a good position while the world sorts out this recession. Everyone is trying to reduce their spending and lower their costs which fits in well with what cycling is all about. Perhaps "bike racing" doesn’t fit into that model very well, but cycling in general will remain healthy.
I wouldn’t say that bike racing is a cheap sport to participate in. There are lots of upfront costs as well as ongoing maintenance, entry fees, hotel costs, licenses, petrol to get to races, energy foods/drinks, etc. However, there are also many ways to save over $100/month by making a few changes to our cycling habits. Most of these are no-brainers but sometimes we can use a reminder or two.
Maintain your own bike
You can do most bike maintenance yourself. All you need is a set of Allen Keys and a few odds and ends. This toolkit is perfect . Just give it a try and if you mess things up you can always resort to getting it fixed at a bike shop like you were going to do anyway. Here is a great site that gives video tutorials on how to fix and maintain almost anything: Bicycle Tutor
Make your own powerbars and gels
Don’t spend $3.50 on a coffee at the end of every ride. I know this is a integral part of the cycling culture – especially here in Australia, however you can save $20 in a week quite easily if you skip the coffee. Or you could even have a few mates over to your place for a coffee after the ride. I have a great post coming up from the Cycling Barista Extraordinaire on how to make a perfect coffee using a number of different methods.
Don’t train on your $100 racing tires. A high quality and inexpensive training tire ($30 a pop) that lasts me thousands of kilometers is the Vittoria Rubino Pro . I hardly ever get punctures on these tires and I even race on them if I don’t want to use my race wheels.
Training Bike AND Racing Bike?
I’m quite opinionated on this one. Some guys I know have a training bike and a racing bike, thinking it’ll save them heaps of cash and will make their race bike last that much longer. Let me tell you from experience, this reasoning is flawed. Now you have 2 bikes to maintain. Twice the cost and twice the time. Riding them half as much doesn’t make a huge difference. The "training bike" is usually made from spare parts laying around the house that you are constantly replacing. Better to ride a decent bike at all times.
Do you really need RED, Record or Dura-Ace when it comes time to replace your parts or groupset? If you think you do, you’ve fallen for marketing gimmicks (I certainly have been guilty of this at times). A few years ago I had Dura-Ace 9-speed and it was a dream come true. With the technology trickle-down effect, I can tell you that Shimano 105 is BETTER than my Dura-Ace 9 speed was a short time ago. One groupset that I’m particularly impressed with is SRAM Rival . For the most part, it’s better than my first generation SRAM Force and half the cost.
I’m aware of the paradox of what I’m saying here. I’m telling you how you can cut costs on your cycling. Meanwhile your local bikeshop’s profitability is deteriorating. They begin to struggle and consequently need to cut back (i.e. lay-off workers) and the recession goes round and round.
Whatever happens during this recession, don’t stop riding your bike. It’s one thing that will give you endless enjoyment, clear your head, and keep you healthy while the world goes through this downturn!