Guest Article: Velominatus Budgetatus

Guest Article: Velominatus Budgetatus

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The Velominati are proud to present the following guest article by our community member Cyclops. As if we needed more convincing, Cyclops has once again proven that a Velominatus has a tendency to be a bit out of dish when it comes to making budgeting decisions.

In this particular tale, Cyclops takes us through the challenges and choices involved in affording expensive kit for our bikes. After becoming accustomed to Employee Purchase programs and screaming club deals, it can become a bit unpalatable to pay retail. Enter the Velominatus Budgetatus.

Yours in cycling,


As with everything, it seems, the price for indulging in one’s passion continues to rise unabated. Buying top-end equipment in the realm of road cycling means plopping down more cash than your great-grandparents paid for their house. Most group rides are not without a bike or two that approach the $10k range. I recently attended a race that had a cap of 1000 entrants – at a guestimated average of $4k per bike that’s $4,000,000 worth of bicycles on a 330 kilometer stretch of road. But what if matriculation to an institution of higher learning isn’t in the cards for you? What if fate conspires against you ever riding anything nicer than a 10sp. Hoopty with electrician’s tape on the bars and bailing wire and spit holding it together? You get a job at a bike shop of course.

The miracle of the “Employee Purchase” programs of various manufactures as well as the universal “cost +10%” has enabled deadbeats like yours truly to ride some of the nicest equipment out there. There’s no food in the cupboards and the rent for the trash heap you share with three other losers is late but you can eat off of your Super Record drivetrain. Your kit is spotless and you’re wearing $250 shades. Life is good. The only thing that would make it better is for that hot blonde in the gray market Mercedes 500sel you were helping earlier in the day to come back right at closing time to ask if you want to go get some dinner. At first she’s all cool with your “no car” lifestyle and friends but then she turns into Satan’s sister and you realize why he is always in a bad mood. Soon you spend less and less time riding. Your racing goes from twice a week to twice a month if you’re lucky. When you do get to a race you can feel the stink-eye burning a hole in the back of your head as you explain to all your racing buddies where you have been. Then you finally come to your senses and you find yourself standing next to I-5 with your thumb out with the clothes on your back and not a dime to your name. But the cycling gods have not forgotten you and they sovereignly guide you to a gig at the next level of killer deals. Working for a manufacturer. How awesome is it to get a company’s top of the line model for $314? That’s what I paid for my Bridgestone RB1.

Sooner or later though you realize that minimum wage until you are 65 isn’t going to cut it and you get a real job. But here’s the rub – full retail for bike parts! You got to be kidding me. Uh-uh, ain’t gonna do it. A local club discount helps a little but what’s a guy to do? Patience. With obedience comes blessing and when you Obey the Rules you will reap a reward. In my case I ended up with a slightly used Cannondale for $850. I’ve never been a huge Cannondale fan but we’re talking sub 16 lbs. (w/o pedals) and full Dura Ace. Beggars can’t be choosy. Alas, as is the nature of all humans, I am a malcontent. You know the spot in the “Performance” video when the guy goes “I gotta get a carbon frame”? That’s totally me. Everybody else is on a carpet fibre wunderbikken. Why can’t I be?

The wily Velominatus Budgetatus always figures out a way to satiate the need for a pimped out ride. Frame upgrade program to the rescue! $500 for a carbon fiber frame and fork and selling the old frame and fork on eBay for $280 comes out to an expenditure of a paltry $220. Chump change. Then if you’re really lucky some drunken bimbo will plow into your $500 truck whilst it sits innocently in front of your house and because you obey the rules she happens to be fully insured. $2700 and you get to keep the truck. Do you use the money to get a new(er) truck? Pffffft! It only pulls to the right a little. So what if you can’t get the tailgate open any more? And you’ve already replaced one Dura Ace 7700 STI shifter. A true Velominatus Budgetatus will use this windfall of cash to move into the 21st century and get himself another cog added to his cassette. New SRAM Force shifters, derailleurs, cassette and chain, some white bar tape and a little skill/creativity in the saddle department, pay off the new Easton EA90sl wheels you just got and you’re riding a pretty swank bike with minimal outlay of (budgeted) cash. Obeying the Rules has side-effects that go far beyond merely being the Cat’s (enter whatever category racer you happen to be here) meow of your local cycling scene. Obey the Rules with the fanaticism of a drunken Belgian on an average Sunday afternoon in spring and the mysteries of the Velominati will be revealed to you and blessings from on high will shower down upon you.

// Guest Article

  1. @G’phant
    Spoke to a neighbor who landed a job after one day short of being out of work for a year. Fucking hell. Touch wood, I still have work. But by the grace of Merckx…

  2. What else can be said? I’m glad you got to a better place, even if that means getting fucking t-boned by a car in the process. I spent two years in a place where dog owners sic’d their dogs on us and laughed and called us “fairies” as we sped off away from those fucking mongrels.

    I have some giant canisters of bear spray…

  3. @Steampunk
    Get Dire Straits out of your mind NOIW!

    Cyclops, great article. As a 40-something bike shop guy, it’s the addiction to cheap bikes/parts that keeps me working in the field, and the added bonus of cool workmates and a cruisy disposition. Money? As long as the rent’s paid, there’s food on my table, beer in the fridge and Campy on the bike, I’m happy!

  4. As well as being the usual sort of roadie, I was once also a roadie for Dire Straits and I just want to say that they are much-maligned and should be appreciated as the musical geniuses they were.

    Skateaway, that’s all.

  5. @Brett
    It was a passing moment after seeing the picture, but WTF? Better to channel Lance than Mark Knopfler?

  6. @Steampunk
    I’ve been out of this conversation… but surely better to channel Merckx… Molteni cap all the way…

  7. @Nathan
    Did Merckx provide an apt saying about a windshield?

  8. @frank… somewhat embarrassingly, I was the wrong side of two bottles of rather good claret so I can’t remember what drunken rantings I made about KFC and let alone to what article / post (and I assume you are being ironic by saying it was my best work) Needless to say, I feel that there was a somewhat viniculturalist huangism about the description of your chateauneuf-du-pape… it should have read: “its fucking big, it will put hairs on your chest (including the girls), it goes really well with any kind of red meat, and boy, you do not want to drink too much of it”

    But that’s why we ride – to serve penance for our other sins.

  9. oh, and sorry for the KFC rant. I’m honestly a loyal customer, have been for years, and plan to be for the forseeable future. (whatever I said)

  10. @Frank

    I spent two years in a place where dog owners sic’d their dogs on us and laughed and called us “fairies” as we sped off away from those fucking mongrels.

    Doesn’t sound like the whimsical bonding experience American Flyers made it out to be?

  11. @roadslave

    I thought your KFC rant was pretty great as well. It was back under “The Rules” as we were discussing the relevant need of GPS units, HRM, etc. Here is a link to it.

  12. @mcsqueak
    My enthusiasm for chicken products such as nuggets as a source of required protein has been somewhat dampened (well, entirely eliminated) by this:

  13. @G’phant
    You’re going to need to find a way to squeeze an extra line into the chorus of “Obey the Rules”:

    The V-cog is the sign
    The bike is the tool (the body is the shrine)
    Eddy is the prophet
    Obey the rules.

  14. @Steampunk
    Dunno ’bout that. If my body is a temple, there’s a few thieves and moneylenders yet to be thrown out by an angry deity’s son.
    More generally, am a bit troubled all this talk of food is starting to make us look like a local PTA or Women’s Institute group. “Hey, how about a Velominati cookbook?” Should we maybe, you know, talk about cycling for a bit?

  15. Hey, I hears that Dire Straits are making a comeback, with Chris Rea as the new vocalist. They will now be known as Dire-Rea…

  16. Haha!

  17. @G’phant
    I’ve seen that pic before and it’s only increased my desire for nuggets. If you want to freak the people that work at McDonald’s out, go in there after a long ride. There is no quantity of chicken nuggets you can’t consume after putting in a lot of tough miles. The teens working there will be astounded at how many times you can return to the counter for another twenty pack of those golden beauties.

  18. mcsqueak:
    I thought your KFC rant was pretty great as well. It was back under “The Rules” as we were discussing the relevant need of GPS units, HRM, etc. Here is a link to it.

    I was a goalkeeper for a local Japanese soccer club in Okinawa back in the 80’s. The other teams were always really interested in an American playing on a Japanese club and would come and talk to me. We were playing Kadena Football Club and one of their players came over to talk to me before the game and I point out the “KFC” on his jersey. “Hai, Kadena Footuballu Crub.” was his response. I said “Chagow (which is kind of slang for “No, it’s different”), Kentucky Fried Chicken.” He looks at his jersey and freaks out and runs over to his team and yells “KENTUCKY FLIED CHICKEN!” and they all practically pee their shorts laughing.

  19. @Cyclops

    Ha, thanks for the story! Very cool that you got to live there. One of the distributors for my company (and an account I landed, I might add) is Japanese, so I have a soft spot for all things from the land of the rising sun (including Shimano… please don’t flog me to hard). I actually took Japanese in 2nd and 3rd grade, not that I can remember much now.

    When I was in Japan meeting with different companies last year, I was shocked by the number of American fast food places, including KFC, that were EVERYWHERE. I mean, it shouldn’t be surprising, but I was just blown away by the inroads those companies have made in that market.

    I wasn’t able to catch any J-League soccer while there, but I was able to watch a baseball game. I’m a baseball fan, so it was not only a great time, but they have girls with pony-kegs strapped to their backs who bring beer right to you, so you don’t even have to get up to get hammered on quality Japanese bÄ«ru.

  20. @Cyclops

    Awhile back I read an article in one of the bike rags about touring in Japan. Looked and sounded like a magnificent place to ride. Its on my must ride list after that article. Any thoughts on it Cyclops?

  21. I was on Okinawa which is pretty congested but I visited mainland Japan and I think cycling would be awesome up there and the roads are perfectly smooth. One thing I did do on Okinawa though was I would always wait at this intersection for a bus to come by and then motorpace it all the way around to the other side of Kadena AFB (there were no bus stops for about 10k because of the runway approach). By the time I would get to the other side the back window of the bus would be filled with little Japanese kids screaming “Ganbatte!” (roughly translated HTFU or dish out the “V”) and giving me the thumbs up.

  22. pakrat:
    Also, as long as Steampunk gets us rolling on the analysis of the photo, are those Pearl Izumi brand socks you are sporting Cyclops?

    Is Pearl Izumi viewed as inferior by the general populous?

  23. @zalmen_mlotek

    Only by those of us who like to look down our long snooty noses at the wee folk.

  24. I believe Pearl Izumi would be best described as a cycling brand “with no soul”, as others have said about FSA components.

    Their products are functional and they work fine – I have a pair of Pearl Izumi bibs and arm warmers because both were priced right, but they are not going to inspire a passionate following.

  25. @mcsqueak, @zalmen_mlotek

    Is Pearl Izumi viewed as inferior by the general populous?

    I believe Pearl Izumi would be best described as a cycling brand “with no soul”, as others have said about FSA components.
    Their products are functional and they work fine – I have a pair of Pearl Izumi bibs and arm warmers because both were priced right, but they are not going to inspire a passionate following.

    Exactly, I’ve used a bunch of their stuff, it’s great and works well. It just isn’t sexy, that’s all.

  26. Even the old Garmin kit??

  27. Damn, I saw this article when it first was posted and then didn’t get around to reading it until today. Great work, Cyclops!

    I have the disease too; I crave the finest cycles and cycling gear my money can buy. I hardly spend money on anything beyond food & some beer/whiskey, but I own four very nice road bikes, one nice track bike, and a fine around town bike. I also wear nice kit. I’ll think twice about spending money on anything outside of cycling goods. $150 on a saddle? No big deal.

    I’m still in grad school but I am able to turn my relatively meager scholarship into some pretty solid bicycles and gear. It’s all about priorities, and I have mine straight. However, I truly fear what sort of maniac I might become when I get a job with a real salary…it could be bad.

    And I am glad I now know the story behind your Cannondale.

  28. @Ron

    Yeah, I really don’t like to spend money on anything but bike parts, good food, and good liquor/beer (and the devices/utensils needed to prepare/consume them). In light of that I present to you my new bicycle transportation vehicle. It is in full compliance of costing WAY less than the bike it will be carrying. $125 for the truck and $90 for a battery and I’m set. I just got to figure out where I’m going to put the Velominati bumper sticker that Frank sent me.

  29. Cyclops:
    Yeah, I really don’t like to spend money on anything but bike parts, good food, and good liquor/beer (and the devices/utensils needed to prepare/consume them).

    What else is there? And what do you transport your bikes for? I ride mine.

    When I’m in breach of Rule #11, though, this is what I use to transport the kids around in. As far as I’m concerned, the 1989 Volvo represents the pinnacle of functional automotive engineering (and I’m an historian of technology, so it must be true).

    In the new year, I’ll be making a bet with the university community that I put more kms on my bikes than on my car in 2011. Proceeds will go towards creating a scholarship for a student engaged with sustainability issues. The beauty of this bet: my wife has made it perfectly clear that we cannot afford to lose the bet. That means lots of riding for me. I have decided that I’m actually a genius…

    Truck and pic scream Idaho, by the way.

  30. Truck and pic scream Idaho, by the way.

    …with the exception, of course, that I don’t see a gun rack in the back of the cab.

  31. @Steampunk

    Two words: Concealed Weapons Permit

  32. Oh, and did you notice the subliminal framing of the truck with the American flag and the dumptser?

  33. @Cyclops
    Um, in metric terms, that’s three words. More to the point, that doesn’t seem very sporting. What I liked about the gun racks (in use) all over Idaho was that you knew where you stood and what you were up against. Concealed weapons removes the gentlemanly element. It’s a Motorcus kind of thing. B’sides, it’s not like I conceal my guns on the bike””quite the contrary. You might want to rethink this. For the Velominatus Budgetatus, I can recommend the Kolpin Rhino Grip Window Mount Suction Cup.

    Oh, and did you notice the subliminal framing of the truck with the American flag and the dumptser?

    As I said, the pic screams Idaho. The only thing wrong with Idaho is that you can’t see Russia from your livingroom window.

  34. @Cyclops

    Oh, and did you notice the subliminal framing of the truck with the American flag and the dumptser?

    Other than the truck itself, I don’t see a dumpster. Highest marks.

  35. @Cyclops
    I was recalling your story last night, because a friend of my neighbor’s backed his car into my beater hatchback and crumpled the left front fender. Don’t care much about the car and inspired by your story immediately thought about what the hoped-for insurance money could buy in bike-related goodies. I’m afraid the damage doesn’t add up to a new frame or gruppo, but we’ll see.

    Also, nice truck. I love the 70s pickups from my childhood. All business, not like the ones now that look like they just got off a cycle of steroids.

  36. @Nate

    Never under-estimate what the repairs may cost, and therefore be worth to you as a payout rather than a repair. I had some dumbass back into my parked car two years ago. She dented the rear quarter panel, but nothing too crazy.

    The end cost for the repair? $3,000! Very happy I had all of her insurance information. Had it been my old 1983 Toyota I wouldn’t have cared and would have kept the payout, but it was my 2007 Toyota so I opted to get it fixed instead.

  37. @Steampunk

    It screams “eye-DER-ho”!

  38. @Cyclops
    I also like how you captured the snow melt puddles drying up just in time for Independence Day.

  39. The Velominatus Budgetatus strikes again. I just picked up these $280 S-Works last night for $100. They match my bike and my Eagle Rock Cycling kit perfectly.

  40. @Cyclops
    Hi Ken, I was about on the net and found your posting of the excitement of adding a formigli to your family of bicycles. will you email at, i have a question for you? thank you, amy

  41. @Cyclops
    Nice Article ..

  42. Great article Cyclops.

    I’ve personally been thinking about a new bike despite my limited budget. Its going to take some serious help. I may end up selling my nicest guitar, buying a demo or leftover, dedicating an entire work bonus, and then taking advantage of the credit union’s new ‘bicycle loan program’. Go big or go home.

    Only issue is I really should be saving up for an engagement ring. The GF will be pissed if the bike costs more than the ring. And I don’t want her to be angry about cycling if it can be avoided. I’d rather she continue her slow march towards being an active participant in the sport.

    Decisions decisions…

  43. @King Clydesdale
    What’s your budget? I just bought a 2011 SuperSix for 2 grand out the door. The 2012 model(same frame) is 2550 before taxes. I was ok buying the 2011 with that kind of savings.

  44. @King Clydesdale
    As @Cyclops hints, this can be a good time of year to pick up a good deal on a new ride as dealers are trying to clear out the last of their inventory.

  45. @RedRanger

    Without the bonus from work, 2,000 dollars with the sale of my current bike. With the bonus 3,000 and possibly keeping the caad for a rain bike.


    Seems like there are a lot of leftovers around. The problem is I’m concerned that carbon fiber is making a lot in terms of advances right now, and that I’ll be missing out on a lot of technology advances.

    I’m really upset that the Giant dealer around me doesn’t carry ANY TCR models, only the Defy. I feel the TCR Advanced is a good value. My main choices are Cannondale and Specialized at the LBS I go to. The other place in town has treks and then they also offer recycled frames and bikes. But I doubt they have anything in my size (50-52 cm depending on geometry).

  46. Well never mind on the new bike idea. The bonus is not happening, and now it just doesn’t seem like I will be getting much for my money by getting something new. While the current bike is not in great shape or very comfortable, it is light, stiff, and designed to go fast when it works. I wouldn’t be getting much by going CF. I have previous generation ultergra 105 mix on it right now, and it works I guess.

    While I’m happy to have a job in the field I went to school for this pay and these hours are horrid. And if I get a second job I’ll have no time to ride, or a weekend to visit the girlfriend. This totally blows.

  47. I am in college right now and trying to balance my passion for cycling and trying to pay tuition, rent, food, etc. can be a little tough. Like every other college student that loves cycling, and is paying $30K American a year for tuition, I work at a shop and unfortunately I cant even afford my EP deals more often than not, but there is something here that cyclops didnt say in his article. I would assume he feels the same way, but when the cycling gods smile upon you and offer you a chance for salvation, in the way of that frame or part/s or wheels that you’ve been drooling over for months, the sweet taste of victory when they arrive just about as good as edging out all of your riding partners in a tough sprint or climb. Keep fighting the good fight brothers and sisters carbon (or whatever strikes your fancy) glory will be yours!

  48. I just stumbled into a slightly used 2013 Epic Expert Evo-R for $3,200… There was absolutely no chance for me to shell out the $6,500 for the new version anytime soon. All I can say is a-merckx! Apparently he loves mountain biking too.

  49. I must admit, I search high and low for parts on the cheap all the time. I got my ec90 seat post for 70 quid instead of £150, because it was a display model. The Cube that I ride was a 2013 model, so that was reduced too (from £1250 to £900) and my fi'zi:k R1’s were half price because the guy I bought them from got the wrong size and wanted a quick sale. With all the work done to improve my bike, it should have cost me a grand total of £2500. It actually cost around £1600. Theres a full Group-San in there too. Being patient has paid off for me anyway. Pictures will follow once my girl is all done up.

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