The price of fitness and fun

I posted earlier about my wife’s scheme to buy only used stuff. Cost isn’t the only motivating factor, but it’s one of them. I also noted I’d already bought a couple of biking- and running-related items new. Then I decided to ask Quicken how much I had spent on my habits last year – it was a bit of an eye-opener.

  • Bike stuff: $2,395
  • Fitness: $1,054
  • Total: $3,449

Yowza. When you consider that the ‘Fitness’ category includes 12 months of family gym fees in addition to all my various running gear (shoes, clothes, ipod nano, Nike+ kit), you really start to wonder if I’m laundering money through the bike store. Or why I didn’t trade biking for running a long time ago.

For better or worse, 2006 was spendy for the bike habit, in part because I finally repaired some 2 year old accident damage on the road bike, and in part because in 10 years I had not had to replace any major parts until this year. In June, I found my shifters were worn out, and in September I had to have my rear wheel rebuilt; I also had professional tune-ups on both bikes in the Spring, and bought some “real” bike clothes once I started to realize just how much better bike jerseys are than cotton T-shirts. I did buy some “luxury” items like a new cyclocomputer with cadence (all of $20 on clearance), clip pedals for both bikes, bike sandals and shoes, but then I also got new tires after nearly blowing one up a couple months ago.

June actually was the impetus for spending a good portion of that $2,395: I was on TOMRV 29 with Andy, and we were assaulted with rain, wind, and temperatures in the low 40s the first day. The second day warmed up to the mid 40s. The cold caused my rear shifter to stop working, which is a bit of a downer when you’re traversing 130 or so miles of fairly continuous hills. I also at that point owned tennis shoes, proper bike shorts, open-fingered bike gloves, and one short-sleeved bike jersey. No shoe covers, no tights, no jacket, no helmet cover, no proper gloves, you get the idea. I dropped $5 at a local grocery store for some Hefty leaf sacks, and Andy and I became laughingly/disparagingly known as “the garbage bag guys” for the rest of the weekend. Given that those things block wind and rain better than any technical gear you can find at any price, we didn’t much care, though it was an amusing contrast to our experience on RAGBRAI where nobody gives a shit what you look like as long as you keep your fingers out of their beer. Come to think of it, that $5 is not reflected in the total above. Crap, I’m at $2,400 and counting…

Anyway, after that miserable experience on TOMRV (no fault of the QCBC, and I’ll be back again this year), I took no chances and ordered up all the cold and rain gear I was missing, and I’ve been using it too. J&G makes some absolutely great stuff.  But I wonder how much little I could have got away with spending if I’d been so inclined? I’ve already been slowly accumulating some used parts for my road bike off eBay, largely because original type parts for it are no longer available, and it has been really cheap inexpensive compared to new … I’ll be interested to see if this scheme has any merit to it over the long haul.

Update Jan 6: I checked the past few years, and found $309, $679, and $171 spent for biking those years, and those years each saw well over 1500 miles of biking, so now I don’t feel so bad. Actually that $679 figure includes the purchase of a complete Trek 7200 bicycle with some accessories, so pretty darned good.

About Dan

I am many things. On this blog I am mostly a cyclist and software developer. Offline I am mostly a dad and a husband. Online or off, gin drinks and craft whiskeys appeal to me. Find me on Twitter @Capncavedan
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2 Responses to The price of fitness and fun

  1. Mike says:

    First off you need to capitalize those expenses and spread them out over multiple years. Quit with the cash accounting that people use for personal finances and move on up to a accrual-based accounting – you too can cheat on taxes and finance like the corporate world does ;)

    Lots of people like the gadgets associated with fitness these days – especially geeks. (You are a geek, aren’t you?) I’m a minimalist (that, and I’ve already acquired running gear over many years). So I’ve resisted getting anything fancy for running.

    Nonetheless, from reading your post you sound like you use it all. And it’s always a good idea to put your money into something you use.

  2. drbuettner says:

    I’ll admit it, I am indeed a geek!

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