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.