Saturday, March 22, 2008

The cost of cycling

I mentioned about a year ago that had I grown up enjoying less expensive and involved hobbies it would make things infinitely easier and affordable for everyone involved. Well much like the Puerto Rican burger flipper with the infiniti rolling on 22s, I'm trying not to let a tight financial portfolio spoil my fun.

It is common knowledge that a large percentage of the cycling demographic is made up of men in their mid 30s with an athletic background. These guys have come into some money and still like strenuous physical exertion but not so much of the stick-in-the-teeth or elbow-to-the-orbital-bone kind of contact you see in men's hockey or basketball leagues. That $hit gets real old once you hit umm... 32. For me it did at least. The 10 pm games don't help either. I wonder when feltslave/cxracer started feeling that way? He's Canadian, so perhaps not yet at all.

Back to the point. Cycling ain't cheap.

It has put a drain on the financial resources around here; it's an expensive sport and there is no two ways about it. I've been fortunate enough to be able to ride and still put food on the table, although barely, and the wife and kids haven't noticed the small "compromises" that they have been living with. These have allowed us to make ends meet and keep my stock of two wheeled machines finely tuned and dressed with the best parts selection that money can buy.
  • I've been mixing regular cheerios in with the yogurt covered variety, bringing the ratio of the delicious strawberry yogurt rings to the plain ones down from 1:10 to about 1:16.

  • One half gallon of whole mile and a half gallon of water look and taste an awful lot like a gallon of skim but at less than half the price. As long as I scratch off the use by date, I can keep using the same jug.

  • Cold water is cheaper than warm, so showers around here are short and "tepid" at best. The new rule is that you're done when your lips are blue or your teeth are chattering, whichever comes first.

But alas: "les jeux sont fait"... translation "the game is up"

With the children off visiting family with gramma today the wife and I ventured out to do some yardwork. It had been a while for me, as I have the good fortune of living with a woman who enjoys mowing the lawn, hauling mulch and cleaning out gardens. Between last summer's PMC and last fall's full cyclocross schedule, I hadn't done any yard work (other than the new walkway) in perhaps a year. (I'm not going to count the two hours I raked the entire yard in the predawn of November 30th with my bike helmet and light on. I was leaving for a race in Portland Oregon later that day and the first snow was forcast for that weekend.)

There is no hiding the problems with our lawn like there is hiding Great Value yogurt in with the Stonyfield. The pictures you see below represent the price we will have to pay for more time spent on a bike than on a yard tractor in 2007.

Grubs on the side yard. Moss on the hill. The cost of cycling is going up.

As you can see, I still managed to test out the new tubulars. It was after all a beautiful day for a ride.


josh said...

i hear ya. although my circumstance is far less dire, every time i head over to the pub (our on campus bar) i think to myself "well here goes a race entry" or bar tape or whatever.

CXRACER said...

Matt - you and I are cut from the same cloth I think. I struggle with the exact same issues every day, I have 3 kids and amazing wife, and I am the one income as we choose to have my wife raise our kids.....the cost of this sport is insane....and yes, in my early 30's I have walked away from the game of hockey playing although love coaching....but did dabble with playing a post NCAA collegiate league next season....we would likely be good friends if we knew one another,....let's hook up in the fall, my boy ronnie is another like-minded bloke....

JJ - You are a dear friend, but dude seriously,...a race entry or bar cloth in exchange for the pub. Life is waiting for you Daniel Son....