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  1. #1
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    What is "Retirement" Really Like?

    I know some of you are already past the days of working full time and I would love and appreciate your insights on life after your first career. As background, I'm closing in on the tail end of a career of almost 40 years with the same company. If the economy stays healthy I'm hoping to look for an opportunity to move to the next phase before too long. It might not be this year but I want to be prepared when the opportunity presents itself or the time comes. My company has provided us a choice to leave-in about 2 year intervals and the timing just hasn't felt right before now. I watched a lot of my colleagues take the opportunity over the last 15 years and learned a lot from their decisions. I am somewhat of a "planner" and like to give some thought on most stuff, but doing some things spontaneously can be equally as rewarding. I tend to do a lot of projects and repairs on my own-I have lots of tools and my Dad was a good teacher. I have a list of house projects that are accruing since I use most of my current spare time to ride and play golf. No grand kids yet but suspect there will be plenty enough in just a few years. Overall health is about as good as it can be. Kids are gainfully employed......well maybe 2 of 3. My wife has her own business but she can pretty much set up a practice anywhere she can get licensed-so location is not that much a concern.

    I know that everyone's situation and finances are different but I'm sure there is a lot I can learn from those that have the experience and are willing to share. Here's some starter questions that I think about as I'm riding my bike:

    How do you spend your time?
    What might you do differently?
    Have any of your "goals or priorities" changed?
    Has anyone felt the need to work "part time" aside from financial reasons?
    Without providing any details, has anyone had a situation where you thought you could retire financially but needed the additional income for something that wasn't accounted for?
    How has it affected your interests like cycling---or other interests/hobbies you might have?
    Who has traveled--and where---especially for cycling vacations?
    Has anyone just got bored or tired of cycling because they have so much time to ride? How did you deal with it?
    Any words of wisdom or lessons learned from those that have more experience with this retirement thing?
    Who researched areas to move to and actually changed where they lived?

    Appreciate any thoughts you are willing and would like to share on the general subject.
    Ride your Ride!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I retired at 53 (now 59). Short answer: If I knew how good retirement was, I would have been even more frugal with the goal of retiring at age 50 (or earlier).

    I suggest you visit early-retirement.org.

    How do you spend your time?

    I practice piano about 4-6 hours per day, read, surf the internet, and work out (running, cycling, bowflex, surfing).

    What might you do differently?
    See above.

    Have any of your "goals or priorities" changed? No

    Has anyone felt the need to work "part time" aside from financial reasons? No

    Without providing any details, has anyone had a situation where you thought you could retire financially but needed the additional income for something that wasn't accounted for? Didn't happen to me.

    How has it affected your interests like cycling---or other interests/hobbies you might have? Not much.

    Who has traveled--and where---especially for cycling vacations? We've done a number of car/bike trips like http://carbiketrip.blogspot.com/ , and http://pages.suddenlink.net/tripsite/Utah1.htm .

    Has anyone just got bored or tired of cycling because they have so much time to ride? How did you deal with it? I'm about to start a thread on this -- watch for it.

    Any words of wisdom or lessons learned from those that have more experience with this retirement thing?
    Who researched areas to move to and actually changed where they lived?

    Apparently there are some people who get bored with retirement. That has not been the case for me, in part because I'm so involved in improving my piano playing, and because of my other hobbies. There are good books on this topic.
    Last edited by TromboneAl; 01-10-13 at 07:51 AM.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  3. #3
    dbg
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    For me it's hard to have a fixed plan. It will depend on social elements (who else is around and what they want to do). I would like to play a lot of golf and do some bike touring (and maybe some skiing) but both are significantly enhanced in social groups. Health is another variable that's hard to predict. I may be relegated to walking around the park every day. And I would like my kids to visit so I will need to create an attractive environment for them to return to (country estate with woods and trails maybe near a ski hill and a sleepy golf course, or a lake cottage with boats and canoes) but that requires money that I may not have. We'll just have to see.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Can't tell you about the finances but I have enough to get by on. Enough to pay the bills and to buy a few extras as they are required.

    However- I made certain that I had no debts whatsoever and enough in savings accounts to cater for any eventualities that may occur. With those no debts- I even managed to buy the Pinnie as the main use bike to save the others from overuse.

    But since retiring- I am kept busy. I was hoping that cycling was going to pay a big part in my retirement but the weather put paid to that this year. Having a house and garden to maintain has meant that other priorities pushed cycling back a bit. House and garden maintenance took a lot of time this year but that was mainly my fault for not doing them last year as I was retiring.

    One thing I did do though was buy a campavan-think you call them RV's- and that vehicle is taking some maintenance and money to get ready for a trip round France next year. I used to be a mechanic so my old skills are coming back into use.

    Cycling is not correct at present--Just face it- I am getting old and why do I have to push myself on the bike? Bit of lethargy creeping in so I got myself a target. A big ride next year that I will have to get fit for. I need that target to push myself a bit otherwise I could be sitting in the garden improving my suntan if the weather would allow me and I didn't have that Shed to re-roof or the chicken run to build.

    Besides the cycling- I have plenty to do. I want that holiday in France and I want the home grown veggies that taste better than the stuff from the supermarkets. I won't say I am overbusy- but I do not have much time to sit back and get fat. Think this is the key. If I found myself with more time I would be out cycling but time is precious and should not be wasted.

    My advice to anyone thinking of retiring is DON'T. If I knew how busy it was- I would have found something else to do.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  5. #5
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    For 10 years I was an accountant -- and I enjoyed it.

    For 20 years I was an IT/Systems Analyst -- and I enjoyed it.

    For 5 years I was a nurse -- and I enjoyed it

    Now I am "retired" -- and I not only enjoy it, I wonder how I ever found time for work.
    ... But, if the need and the opportunity present itself, I might go back to work...

    Just be who you are and where you are -- and do it with all of your being -- and it will be fine.

    I find that plans are great for preparation -- but very bad for actually doing. They just get in the way. You can use them as a touch stone, but don't let them run your life.

    H old on to your dreams
    A sk questions
    P lan to Succeed
    p roceed with confidence
    I nvest in the right attitude
    N ever stop believing
    E njoy the detours
    S ave time for the little things
    S hare a smile everyday
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I have been retired for one year the 31st of last month. I spent forty-four years in law enforcement, spread over three agencies, two municipal and one county level. I "retired" from the first agency, a major metropolitan police department where I held a supervisory rank, after twenty-two years at the age of forty-nine. Financially a bad idea but I was trying to change careers, didn't like the change and returned to work for a small municipal agency where I, again, made supervisory rank but had to work for idiots. Quit and did some consulting work only to return to work with a county agency for 16 1/2 years where I finally retired at the age of 69. I loved my work and everyone expected retirement to be hard on me (I decided to retire because the county commissioners are idiots, were laying off some people from my function and if I had not retired a younger officer, not eligible to retire, would have had to be laid off). The people that thought I would hate being retired were dead wrong. I love every minute of it.

    How do you spend your time?

    I keep so busy I can't believe it. I teach a Sunday School class and have written several Bible studies over the years and now I have more time for preparation and writing. My wife and I enjoy each others company, though I do try to stay out of her way for much of the day. We took four vacations last year (don't know what I was vacationing from). I do a lot of photography. I accompany my wife on more visits with her children, grandchildren, great-grand children, etc., in Oklahoma (I note them as hers, though I feel like they are mine, God brought me a wonderful family when she and I married). I do things I missed doing when I worked and still don't know how I had time to work. I am also still a reserve officer with my former agency as well as firearms qualification officer so I work part of a shift occasionally, especially when some of my particular (or peculiar) talents are beneficial to the office.

    What might you do differently
    ?
    I did a poor job of financial planning, due in part to several failed marriages. I would do better, but God has blessed me in my finances also so we get by.

    Have any of your "goals or priorities" changed?
    Not really.

    Has anyone felt the need to work "part time" aside from financial reasons?
    Yes. I am signed up for substitute teaching at a couple of Christian schools, in fact I teach my first classes later this month (in Texas you don't need a teaching certificate to sub).

    How has it affected your interests like cycling---or other interests/hobbies you might have?

    Cycling is just becoming an interest, for fitness/medical reasons, but I am really liking it. I now have more time for other hobbies like photography/travel.

    Who has traveled--and where---especially for cycling vacations?
    Haven't done that yet and don't expect to because my wife doesn't ride...yet...and she is my second priority. As noted, we did take four vacations this year. First was visit to Civil War battlegrounds in TN, SC and GA. Also visited a couple of churches where I wanted to hear the preacher. Second, Yellowstone followed by TN again to attend a two day concert. Third, SD to take a couple of friends who had never see Mt. Rushmore. Fourth, cruise to Progresso/Cozumel with church group.

    Any words of wisdom or lessons learned from those that have more experience with this retirement thing?
    Live each moment with gusto because you don't have any idea how many moments you have.

    Who researched areas to move to and actually changed where they lived?
    Did some research but my current location offers everything I need. If we didn't have family within two hours of this are, eastern Tennessee sure looks tempting.

    Good luck on your future.
    The Old Sarge

  7. #7
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    I retired 8 years ago at 56 and never regretted it. I read, ride, travel, and do some volunteer work. I would never consider working for pay again. I returned to riding after I retired. My wife is a few years younger and also retired. We have similar interests and activities so it works out fine.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  8. #8
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    My wife and I retired 5 years ago. I'm currently 63 and not about to tell how old my wife is.... I value the chance to live a while longer. As teachers we took early retirement, less pension, greater health care costs and it has been worth every penny. We have always enjoyed riding, camping, kayaking, etc. We lived in the woods of Maine for 30 years and enjoyed winter sports as well. However, that was when we also had the chance to get out of the house and run to work. Being cooped up for days on end in cold weather convinced us we needed a chance of scenery. We gave ourselves up to 5 years to find another home base. For the first couple of years we took the small motorhome and travel throughout the US to ride different rail trails and kayak and the like.

    By accident, I didn't listen to the wife and followed the gps one day and found ourselves in a small town in central FL that had a nice long and scenic rail trail. We enjoyed a great ride and continued to Tampa. On our way back to Maine we stopped in the small town again for a few days. Upon our return to Maine we couldn't stop talking about the fact we had more fun in that area than any other place we had visited in the past. So..... we decided the following year we would spend the winter at a campground in central FL, ride, yak, oh and find a new home. All which we did the winter of 2010. We returned to Maine owning two homes and realized that it was time to sell one.

    Since then we continue to travel in our motorhome generally at least one week a month and during the summer season. Our desination is alway near a place to ride. We try riding in the morning for 20 or so miles hop in the RV and drive for no more than 5 or so hours and repeat as needed. Did I mention we LOVE retirement. Last week we had our best year ever and covered 7099 miles on the bikes. We both decided it was time to replace our 18 year hybrids and am awaiting delivery of new Giant Escape RX 0s at our LBS. I say GO FOR IT
    Last edited by DowneasTTer; 01-02-13 at 02:26 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    For 10 years I was an accountant -- and I enjoyed it.

    For 20 years I was an IT/Systems Analyst -- and I enjoyed it.

    For 5 years I was a nurse -- and I enjoyed it

    Now I am "retired" -- and I not only enjoy it, I wonder how I ever found time for work.
    ... But, if the need and the opportunity present itself, I might go back to work...

    Just be who you are and where you are -- and do it with all of your being -- and it will be fine.

    I find that plans are great for preparation -- but very bad for actually doing. They just get in the way. You can use them as a touch stone, but don't let them run your life.

    H old on to your dreams
    A sk questions
    P lan to Succeed
    P roceed with confidence
    I nvest in the right attitude
    N ever stop believing
    E njoy the detours
    S ave time for the little things
    S hare a smile everyday
    The winning answer!

    This is actually my second, and last, attempt to retire. The first time I tried it, I did an early retirement but the wife was still working and had 4 more years before she could fully retire. After 10 months, I decided to go back to work until she retired. Worst mistake I ever made. Now that both of us are retired, there is no way I will go back to work. There isn't a dull moment in my days and I make sure that I keep myself occupied with something. Even the occasional sitting on the couch and watching TV is great. Sometimes the best laid plans never seem to materialize, so I only make a list of things I would like to do. And best of all, there is no pressure to do anything or get something done. If you want to do something, you can do it and if not, it just doesn't get get done.
    HCFR Cycling Team
    Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

    2012 Colnago Ace
    2010 Giant Cypress


  10. #10
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    I "semi-retired" at about age 51 (I'm now 55ish).

    This is what I would recommend that you do, and don't do:

    Note: this is not in any order of importance.

    1. Do stay active. The more the better. My father used to always say that "everyone he knew died within 5 years or less of retirement" (he, rest his soul, made it past 10 years due to his staying active).

    2. Do try to double what you think you'll need finance wise during your retirement.

    3. Do not give a financial "power of attorney" to anyone other than your spouse (if you must, you can define a PoA as "limited" which will require your signature on any financial decisions/transactions).

    4. Do consider attending various educational classes. You can, of course, do this on-line or at your local adult ed. school or community college (don't worry, you'll probably be surprised at the large numbers of "older" students).

    5. Do not spend your newly found spare time buying things on-line or at the store. Stay within your retirement budget.

    6. Do spend time managing your finances.

    7. Do consider volunteer work. This can a great way to stay active and, at the same time, meet other people.

    8. Do not allow yourself to become too settled in with a "day after day" routine. Change things up a bit now and then.

    9. Do get out and do as many of the things you told yourself you'd like to do "someday".

    10. Don't "wear-out" your favorite hobbies. Consider taking up new hobbies that are challenging. Learning how to play a guitar, piano, or some other musical instrument (as previously mentioned) is a good idea.

    11. Do give you and your spouse (if applicable) plenty of space.

    12. Do maintain an "I can go back to work" attitude.

    13. Do get out and visit with both old and new friends while you still can (I've sadly lost several old friends during the last 10 years).

  11. #11
    alpine cross trainer Ludkeh's Avatar
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    I agree with TromboneAl, go to early-retirement.org ! They provide a vast wealth of information. I found that forum about 5 years before I retired. They helped convince me that " hey, I think I can do this" and helped guide me into retirement after 35 years of work. I'm in my seventh year of retirement and have totally enjoyed it. Money seems to be much less important now as compared to when I was working.

    I tell people that are thinking of retiring, that retirement is a learned skill! It took me over a year to finally slow down and smell the roses. Even so, my days are almost always totally filled.

    The only thing I would have done differently, is retire earlier! When your working the scary unknown of not having a regular paycheck can be daunting. I started thinking in terms of " how many summers do I have left?". When you start thinking in terms of Summers left, you realize life's short and I wasn't going to give the dam corporation
    any more of my precious Summmers!

  12. #12
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    You can't re-invent yourself in retirement. You may do some different things but if you were a happy person before retirement chances are good you will be happy in retirement. By the same token, if life just got you down all the time, so will retirement.

    I love retirement. I was able to put more time into things I already did, and enjoy them even more. As folks tell ya, I have no idea how I had time to work. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I need to or want to.

    Best of luck to you.

  13. #13
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Please keep the stories coming. It is such an encouragement. I am so very much looking forward to retirement. The timing is totally unknown as to when I won't have to wake up at 4:15 every morning to catch the vanpool. It depends on how long my satellite instrument is still operating. Even so, in a few more years, I'm outta here...flying or not.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  14. #14
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Good post. I'm thinking through the same issue. I think that traveling to ride and see the world is going to be a big deal for me.

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMB42 View Post
    10. Don't "wear-out" your favorite hobbies. Consider taking up new hobbies that are challenging. Learning how to play a guitar, piano, or some other musical instrument (as previously mentioned) is a good idea.

    11. Do give you and your spouse (if applicable) plenty of space.
    I tried #10. I have a beautiful Martin D18V and an Eastman Mandolin.....and no talent. I say my arthritis limits my playing ability but I think the truth is lack of talent. And I practice #11 daily.

    Agree with all your suggestions.
    The Old Sarge

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by con View Post
    As folks tell ya, I have no idea how I had time to work. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I need to or want to.
    That is almost a universal sentiment from retired people but folks who haven't retired don't believe it.
    The Old Sarge

  17. #17
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    All my friends who worked in the public sector retired early. I don't envy them. They seem to spend a lot of time being free babysitters. And those guys my age sitting in Macdonalds when I pick up my morning coffee just give me the creeps. I like getting a real paycheck. I like the chance to work overtime. I like my Blue Cross extended health. I like getting up and going to work. I get 6 weeks vacation and that feels about right.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    you get to live out what is left after the best years have been sucked out of you by the job
    the boss 'let you have' ..

    if he left anything..
    Last edited by CbadRider; 01-03-13 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Removed political comment

  19. #19
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I retired from my "real" job at 41. I ended up as a magazine editor and writer. I ended up as a Cat 1 racer with a bunch of jersey saying "you don't suck". I nearly got eaten by a 700 lb Mako shark. I traveled. I coached. I moved money around. I made friends. I cooked for my wife and wake up every day pissed off that someday one of us won't be there at dinner. I did stuff for my niece. This is a very short list of what I've been doing over the last decade. It no doubt misses a lot, both the highs and lows.

    I guess the best answer to all your questions is "I lived".

    Tomorrow I might get run over a block from the house.

    "So it goes"

  20. #20
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVanHiker View Post
    ...I get 6 weeks vacation and that feels about right.
    SIX WEEKS!!??? Sounds like you are already retired.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  21. #21
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    Only going to comment on 2 items from your list.

    1 - In my first full year of retirement I have found that I rode fewer miles than when working. Hey you are getting older. Going to try to get back into the swing of things in 2013. Somehow your time demands shift and you are not on the bike as much, at least I was not.

    2 - I centered my financial planning on what we were spending not what we had saved(or needed to save). Just about every retirement calculator is based on what you are currently earning and what you have saved. It is bunk to forget about what and how you spend your money.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I retired at age 55 (now closing in on 67). I started riding at 57 after a 10 year hiatus. So cycling is something that I "got into" in retirement. At the time I was on my Town Council and working part time in the motorcycle business. Also did a short gig as a Private Investigator...I had run investigations for a State Agency in my work life. Had to quit the council and work when my father became ill and I found myself going once a week to Cobleskill, NY from eastern CT. There are a few things I've noticed about retirement. One is that time goes as fast or slow as you make it. My perspective on time and the pace of life has changed immensely and for the better. I feel so much less stress and drama in my life it's amazing. If I had more money I'd travel more but other than that my life is better than it's ever been.

  23. #23
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVanHiker View Post
    . I don't envy them. They seem to spend a lot of time being free babysitters. .
    Yup, I spend a lot of my week watching both of my grandkids so my daughter and her husband don't have to use childcare. It is the best part of retirement for me. I would give up everything else I do before I would give watching the kids.

    Today is not a grandkid watching day for me, yesterday was. My day will be as follows:

    Got up at 6am today
    drinking my coffee hanging out with the dogs
    will join the Thursday club ride at 9am. If it is true to form it will be hard with 3K'-5K' of climbing with a few other old guys like me, will get back at 1 or 2
    will spend the afternoon in the garage getting the motorcycle ready for a trip to Death Valley next week
    after dinner with my wife will go see the grankids
    will play guitar all evening

    I enjoyed working......But, I love my life now
    Last edited by con; 01-03-13 at 07:35 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I retired at age 70 after working in the office machine computer industry for 47 years. All during that time I was on call 24/365. Do I miss some of my customers and the travel around a lot of two states-----------yes.

    But retirement is fantastic. Again you have the freedom of a teenager in the summer!!!! It is the freedom from someone telling you what to do, when to do it, and of course right now! At long last I am in charge of my life. I have the freedom to bike when and where I want to. I have the freedom to work at the church, and other volunteer work. I have the freedom to travel to an event anytime they set the time.

    In case you didnt pick up on this-------the operative word is FREEDOM!!!!!

  25. #25
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Only going to comment on 2 items from your list.

    1 - In my first full year of retirement I have found that I rode fewer miles than when working. Hey you are getting older. Going to try to get back into the swing of things in 2013. Somehow your time demands shift and you are not on the bike as much, at least I was not.

    2 - I centered my financial planning on what we were spending not what we had saved(or needed to save). Just about every retirement calculator is based on what you are currently earning and what you have saved. It is bunk to forget about what and how you spend your money.
    Agreed: Many people (probably most) spend more money in restaurants each year than the cost of a nice bike -- which would further reduce their spending through building improved health and wellness for themselves. And, after buying the bike, the ride is free. And most people will feel better during and after the ride than they will after blowing another $50 on more fat and alcohol in a restaurant.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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