As a runner I used to think I spent a lot on my sport. 3-6 pairs of running shoes a year cost a couple few hundred dollars or so.
But then I became a cyclist, and turned my pockets inside out.
The first “real” bike I bought was a Specialized Rockhopper. Not an expensive bike by any means. But at least it was something more than a retail store junker.
Even the Rockhopper required some mountain bikes shoes. There goes $70. Same as a pair of modestly priced runnings shoes.
Then came cycling shorts ($75) a jersey or two ($120), socks, lube and decent helmet ($80).
That added up to three or four hundred bucks. But that was nothing compared to getting started in road cycling.
The first road bike was a red steel frame Trek 400. Got it free from my brother-in-law. So I got off cheap on the starter bike. Still, it needed a new saddle ($100) SPD clips to sync with my mountain biking shoes (okay, I was a dork at first) and a few new road kit items like arm warmers ($75) base layers and other road cycling accoutrements. Then came extra tires, tubes, air pumps, new chain, chain cleaner, chain lube, new brake pads, replacement cables, replacement brake cables. The list went on and on. The old steel Trek was a skinny Money Pit.
Then I bought the Felt 4C for $1700. Retail was $2300. But what does retail really mean in the cycling world. Nothing costs anything except what you’re willing to pay for it. Still the cycling hobby is more expensive by far than any other sports I’ve done.
Beyond the Felt were Specialized carbon fiber soled cycling shoes ($250) new helmet ($105) complete new kit cause I joined a racing team ($250) club membership fees ($50) and racing fees (about $350 that first summer.) Then there were winter training jackets ($150…but discounted to $75 at Pearl Izumi outlet) balaclava ($30) winter riding gloves ($29.99) winter socks ($24) nylon luminescent green winter riding shell ($125, a Christmas present) riding tights/Specialized ($123) and several more kits including a Felt kit ordered online, made by Hincapie sports ($185.00).
That’s several thousand dollars of investment in the sport of cycling. Never thought I’d do that.
But it’s worth it. Comparatively, a set of decent golf clubs runs you $2000. Then there’s fees, if you play 15 times a summer at $80 a round with cart=$1200. Plus golf takes longer to play 18 holes than if you ride 55 miles in 3 hours or so. Golf hardly burns any calories and you might even gain weight if you eat hot dogs and drink beer for an hour on the 19th hole.
I’ve given up comparing cycling and running. I love ’em both, and accept that running shoes now cost $100 and shorts and tops cost $35 each. It’s ridiculous but one has to admit the equipment is genuinely better.
It’s a lifelong investment. If you amortize your cycling investment over the years it really does flatten out in the end, unlike the roads you ride, the hills you climb and the grief you take for shaving your legs, lubing your nuts and generally turning yourself inside out to get on a bike and suffer. Quite an investment you’re making in yourself, now isn’t.
The bike might not be cheap, but the thrills sure are.