Guest Article: Velominatus Budgetatus

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.

Related Posts

72 Replies to “Guest Article: Velominatus Budgetatus”

  1. You had me until getting your truck plowed into. I’m still waiting on that. Although the other day I received an e-mail from one of those unscrupulous essay writing outfits, offering to pay $150 for a ten-page essay, which they would then sell to less than diligent undergraduate students. A quick study of the math made this a quick and plausible way to upgrade in a hurry (if more than a little ethically dubious). And I could better identify the students who were plagiarizing, because I wrote the essay in the first place. Win-win and I gotta go for a ride…

  2. I love this article. It gets to the core of our disease. It is an addiction. One moment you are ‘snorting a little recreational coke with your mates, because – HELL, how much fun could it BE?’ and then, before you know it, you are pimping out your skank-whore sister on the street corner to any disease-riddled punter who’ll stump up barely enough cash to turn you a profit and considering turning tricks yourself for that next fix from a fat accountant with a top of the range LX Mondeo with cash readies to burn. THAT, my brethren, is the beauty and the horror of Rule #12. Cyclops – an awesome article.

    I just wish it had a happier ending.

  3. While I was in college, I rode a steel Schwinn 10 speed that my thrifty grandmother found on her lawn the day before she moved here from Chicago. I spray painted it yellow for safety.

    A few months into spring, a car pulled in front of me at an intersection. No one was hurt but I convinced the driver to give me the largest amount of money I could think of at the time: $300.

    I added a similar amount of my own cash and purchased the purple LeMelvis that still serves as my rain bike twelve years later.

  4. I almost hate to say it, but there appears to be a Rule #69 violation, with the right foot on the cement and no bike in sight. And intervals of what?

  5. Good post Cyclops!

    How many cycling bibs are too many? Four Assos if you ask the wife.

    How many times can you reasonably change bar tape in a year? Anything past one is one too many according to the Bike Sergeant (aka wifey).

    My response to her criticism always revolves around her best friends husband. I simply point out how lucky she is to have a Velominatus sharing the house with her as opposed to her BF’s hubby. He golfs! Each round takes 4-5 hours. His driver costs $500+, he loses 4-5 balls a round at $4 a shot, and each round costs anywhere from $125-$200. I don’t even have time to mention the cost of his Macanudos before she rolls her eyes in agreement.

    You know what they say about great minds.

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

  6. Yes they are PI socks. Since acquiring Assos bibs I have come to loathe all things PI but they were the only socks I could find in town that were the proper colors to match my kit. Besides, I figured how bad can a company mess up socks.

    As to the length of the shorts – they’re already a size smaller than what I normally wear so I doubt if I could get my fat kiester into anything smaller. I guess next season I’ll start pulling them up higher.

    I can report that I’ve been sans beard for about a month now and the missus is finally used to it so things are moving in the right direction.

  7. Awesome article, mate; I really enjoyed this, and really like the new Lexicon entry based on it, too. Went through the Cannonwhale upgrade program myself a few times; that is a great option. It’s great when a company stands behind their goods like that.

    And yeah, you gotta pull your shorts up, dood. And good job on the beard. Also, that Eagle Rock Racing kit is mighty fine lookin’.

    Oh, and when the V-Kit comes in, I’m confiscating those socks.

  8. @roadslave
    Dude, that together with your KFC post from a few days back is some of your best work.

    Reminds me, I was our riding today in wicked Rule #9 weather; we’re not just talking wind and rain – this was the kind of weather Nostradamus was talking about. I’d also skipped a meal, so was pretty hungry. Hungry and cold and wet, at some point there was the distinct smell of KFC in the air. All I could do to keep pedaling.

    Oh, and speaking of KFC being hangover cure food – we just got our hands on a case of 2009 Jean Royer Chateauneuf du Pape “Tradition”.

    The Tradition cuvee is his defining stamp of the growing season – no oak, no tricks, no nothing. It is raised 100% in tank and old-time
    cement with a leaning that has more in common with the classic textural allure of Rayas than not. If you were to sum-up Royer in a few
    words it would be the “anti-modern”. This is a vintner with the pride of old-vine Grenache by his side – old-vine Grenache interpreted in
    a 1970’s/1980’s way, not the oak-tannin, black and gritty circa 2010 way. For Royer, the texture, sap and color of Chateauneuf du
    Pape has as much in common with Vosne Romanee as the Rhone and he’s here to insure the style his grandfather worked so hard to
    perfect will not go by the wayside.

    In truth, isn’t that the Chateauneuf most of us fell in love with in the first place? A wine like Les Cailloux’s 1990 Cuvee Centenaire will
    explain everything promptly – to your intellect as well as your passion.

  9. some drunken bimbo

    Glad you weren`t the one hit and the truck took it up the ass. Fucking drunks. I got some $6000 from a bike accident. Read: I drove my car into the garage. My bike was on the roof at the time. Actually, it wasn`t pretty darn quick.

  10. I believe that cyclops is to the velominati what JENS! is to the pros.

  11. You guys aren’t going to believe the email I got from Formigli this morning:

    Amy Munro” >Ciao Ken,

    Thank you so much for your inspiration story. I had goose bumps reading it. I felt very honored that you would bare your soul as you did. Therefore you are one of the winners of our Christmas frames.


    If you accept, we will embark now on the process of getting you measured and fit and your info submitted so that your Christmas frame will arrive for Christmas!

    For the Christmas frame pricing, we are just asking cost from you and shipping. This price is $1000 LESS than what our Formigli dealers buy frames from us for- so this is the deal of all deals we are giving as a Christmas giftto you.

    We will ask from you $2800 for your Genesi. Its MSRP is $5400.

    Send me an email back to confirm you would like to accept one of the 5 frames I am giving for Christmas.

    Grazie e Ciao!

    I was shooting for one of the free ones but at least I got selected for the half price ones – the only problem is that I don’t have $2800. I’ll have to figure something out and get it painted in Velominati colors.

  12. Marcus:
    I believe that cyclops is to the velominati what JENS! is to the pros.

    There can be no higher compliment paid – that means a lot to me. Thanks.

  13. @Cyclops
    Sounds like you need to stick the nose of your truck a little further into the road outside your house. Congratulations: that’s a nice endorsement. Maybe we could get some kind of Velominati sponsorship this way.

  14. Even better than having your truck plowed into is getting hit by a car on your townie. I lost a 1987 Schwinn frame, a Weinemann 27″ wheel, a helmet and a little skin from my arm when I went through that windshield. But I just got enough money to relocate 2,000 miles to a place where I can ride real elevation AND build 2 more road bikes and a track bike and not have to stress about finding myself a bike shop job for a couple of weeks.

  15. Great article cyclops.

    The passion for all things cycling, yet striking the balance w/the economics and affordability of our addiction can be straining things without a doubt. I see some ride Di2 setups, carbon carbon carbon, EC90 hoops on training rides and wonder where the crap they get the dough to ride this stuff, because thats all they do is ride, no racing. And I do race, and just got a carbon set up hoops this year, continue to feel ok w/racing aluminum since when we lay her down its ok and yes my SRAM force goodies are more than I deserve.

    For Velomanti, we strike the balance between all things that are affluent and useful. If Velomanti ride it, it is worthy. That indeed can be Dura-ace 7700 grouppo’s, Campagnolo Record 8spd, hell, even Sachs grouppo albeit I doubt any of us do, but it is indeed stylish w/panache and as we cross the line at the end it makes the statement that we are the ambassadors of our sport.

    My question is one that is circular in nature and one I wonder about, is there ever an end to the ceiling and will we ever be in a position where we cannot afford our goodies?

    I don’t think so, but for some, it may seem closer to reality

  16. @El Artiste

    @El Artiste
    Jeez! Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug…

    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.

  17. @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…

  18. 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…

  19. @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!

  20. 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.

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

  22. @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.

  23. 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)

  24. @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?

  25. @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.

  26. @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.

  27. @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?

  28. 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…

  29. @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.

  30. 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.

  31. @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.

  32. @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?

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. @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.

  37. 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.

  38. @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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.