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Is cycling an expensive hobby?

Old 03-03-19, 06:59 AM
  #101  
Lemond1985
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"It depends".
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Old 03-03-19, 07:11 AM
  #102  
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Don't see cycling as expensive at all, yes you can spend a huge amount of money if you want or spend next to nothing. I've bought bikes for as little as 99p on ebay which is infinitely more expensive than those who have got free bikes from freeycle etc. You can normally get those bikes going well with almost no money, a clean, some oil, adjustment etc. You can even respray them with cheap rattle can paint to make them presentable. If you use them to replace a car commute they can massively increase your disposable income making you much richer and if you use them to replace a walking commute you save yourself much time which you can use for other purposes. Not forgetting cycling may extend your life through improved fitness and lower body weight so there is a lot of value added there. Not only that a cheap bike is a use anywhere bike you can be relaxed about it being stolen because its likely not even to appeal to thieves and if it does you have lost little money. Cheap bikes tend to be overly heavy strong bikes which take more abuse too. Just making the point that not only is cycling very cheap to get into but there are many advantages to a cheap bike in functionality.

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Old 03-03-19, 07:15 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
"It depends".
On the other hand, it doesn't, except when it does.
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Old 03-03-19, 07:18 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
It relates to how I got into cycling. I was in the navy and back in the mid-80's my ship went into the shipyard, which was across the St Johns river from our home port. To get to the shipyard, I either had to pay $1.50 (one way) to cross the river on a ferry or drive way south to find a bridge, only to drive back north, since the shipyard was just across the river from the naval base. Some how I found out that pedestrians and bikes only had to pay 10 cents to cross -- simple choice for me.

I've been cycling ever since. I do feel as if I'm addicted to cycling now, but I don't feel it is a hobby, rather more a skill to master, i.e. riding on the roads.
I think you think of it the way I think about cooking. I'm pretty good at it and quite reliant on it, but I don't do it for pleasure.
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Old 03-03-19, 09:15 PM
  #105  
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My favorite hobbies:
Cars
Cycling
Lego building
Model Railroading
Wood working
Making custom cardboard storage boxes


All of my hobbies seem to require hundreds to thousands of dollars a year, except for making cardboard boxes. Cycling is probably the 2nd cheapest of the bunch. About a hundred a year for tires, tubes, and cables. If I made more money I would no doubt be looking to upgrade anything and everything.
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Old 03-03-19, 09:42 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
I'm hijacking my reply on another thread to create a discussion about the cost of cycling compared to some other common hobbies people have. I argue that after the initial investment which can be as large or as small as you'd like cycling can be quite an affordable pleasure. Not even counting the hidden benefits of cycling, such as better fitness, less stress, not turning into a jerk etc.

So what do you say? Compare only with your other hobbies and activities how does cycling fare?

I responded to each and every single one of those listed expenses on that other thread, I assume you read it?

Cycling can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it, plain and simple. I don't go off buying $200 jersey when I know from living in southern Calif and dealing with the heat that a $15 or so jersey works just as good, same is true with socks, of course some will argue that a $15 jersey won't last as long, maybe, but even it failed 4 times more often I still only spent $60 and not $200, but I know from experience a cheap vs an expensive jersey fails closer to twice as often. I also only buy stuff on sale, and I don't buy expensive tires just because they got the lowest rolling resistance score, I'm not racing so I don't care, and I always get tires on closeout sales. I do a lot of the work on my bike myself so that saves some labor costs. Year before last I spent ZERO dollars on my bike hobby, last year I spent $500 due to having to buy some stuff for touring, couple sets of tires and tubes, so far this year I spent ZERO dollars, my average is roughly $150 a year, which is far cheaper than what I spend on my car a year! Of course you may have to buy a bike, depending if your racing or not you probably don't need a $10,000 bike or even a $3,000 bike when there are a lot of good quality new bikes for around $2,000 on the market, and if you really needed to go cheap you can find decent ones for $800 to $1,200, and if you really must go even cheaper you can buy usually rarely ridden used bikes for around $500

So if you don't go crazy on trying to look like you're a Sky Team member nor care what others who do try to look like that team will say about you, you can get by relatively cheap with this hobby.
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Old 03-04-19, 06:25 AM
  #107  
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You can do it for free. Literally.

Or you can spend thousands per year; and there are people who do. Especially those who are susceptible to marketing hypnosis, trends, style, impressing others, having the latest supposed "best" expensive unnecessary gear, and showboating.
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Old 03-04-19, 07:19 AM
  #108  
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Is cycling an expensive hobby?
Originally Posted by Bikesplendor View Post
You can do it for free. Literally.

Or you can spend thousands per year; and there are people who do. Especially those who are susceptible to marketing hypnosis, trends, style, impressing others, having the latest supposed "best" expensive unnecessary gear, and showboating.
Exasperating post, and I replied previously to a similar one:
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
It's only expensive if you give in to peer pressure and buy stuff to impress other cyclists.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have a high end carbon fiber bike, yet I almost exclusively ride alone, without a flashy jersey. Frankly having subscribed to several threads about expensive cycling expenditures, I'm dismayed by such simplistic, judgemental, and stereotypic comments.

Of course unless you mean by expensive, just a waste of money, "Money [performance] talks, BS [peer pressure] walks."
But no more.
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Old 03-04-19, 07:55 AM
  #109  
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Cycling is my second most inexpensive hobby. Tennis is the cheapest, by far... I've only spent $500 on tennis gear and I have 3 decent rackets, 2 Wilsons and 1 Yonex.

Golf is expensive as hell, even after clubs, shoes, clothing, balls, etc... are purchased. Cart and green fees are outrageous these days even on public courses.

I only have to pay for my lift tickets when skiing, so it's a little more than cycling. I have my own skis, poles, boots, etc... so I don't have to rent. Lift tickets can get very expensive depending on where I'm skiing.

Good thing about road cycling, mountain biking and gravel biking... once all of the necessary gear is purchased, gas and food are all that's required 95% of the time. And there's the occasional cost of routine maintenance on my bikes, which is usually nothing major.

Last edited by DomaneS5; 03-04-19 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 03-04-19, 08:01 AM
  #110  
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You can begin and end a ride from home.

"Performance" is another unexamined box.
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Old 03-04-19, 08:01 AM
  #111  
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Bike riding can be very inexpensive.
Cycling cost is much more.

Last edited by Doge; 03-04-19 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 03-04-19, 09:53 AM
  #112  
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I don't have any hobbies that really cost money. However, my general rule of thumb is not to buy anything I can't afford to replace or maintain. That excludes me from a certain level of cycling gear.
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Old 03-04-19, 12:19 PM
  #113  
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Most of my bicycling miles are to and from work. The gas savings and lower wear and tear on the car pretty much pay for my cycling. The original cost of the bike is included, but it does take a little time to recoup.
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Old 03-04-19, 12:22 PM
  #114  
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I have to buy tires and an occasional cable or chain, but that's about it. The bike looks OK for another 100,000 km. Other spares can be scrounged. It has saved me a fortune in car expenses, and probably saved me from ill health for decades. I think that's more like a successful investment.
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Old 03-04-19, 12:26 PM
  #115  
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I cycle to commute to work.

I got my trek for free via my work which had a rewards program back in 2006. I rode the hell out of this mountain bike and over the years have replaced the chains, chain rings, derailleurs, cables and of course tires and tubes. The only part which I thought was expensive was when trek sold me a tune up for 150 dollars and my bike did not feel any 'tighter' or when I had to replace a wheel after 10 years. Over the last 12 years I probably spent about 500 dollars total for my hobby. A very very good trade for how much i love to ride.

This year I took my tax money and purchased a real road bike for 1095.00. I also got a new helmet 85.00, new glasses for cycling $85.00, new pedals (45.00) and a new back pack for commuting (110.00). All of these items were very huge upgrades to what i had prior to this February. I am very very happy to have spent this for my commute and my hobby.

I also build computers as a hobby, now that is expensive and has risks involved in possible hard ware failure... i think cycling is the better deal.
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Old 03-04-19, 12:44 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
I'm hijacking my reply on another thread to create a discussion about the cost of cycling compared to some other common hobbies people have. I argue that after the initial investment which can be as large or as small as you'd like cycling can be quite an affordable pleasure. Not even counting the hidden benefits of cycling, such as better fitness, less stress, not turning into a jerk etc.

So what do you say? Compare only with your other hobbies and activities how does cycling fare?


​​​​​​​
Well, I'd agree with most of the stuff except the turning into a jerk.
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Old 03-04-19, 01:02 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
I'm hijacking my reply on another thread to create a discussion about the cost of cycling compared to some other common hobbies people have. I argue that after the initial investment which can be as large or as small as you'd like cycling can be quite an affordable pleasure. Not even counting the hidden benefits of cycling, such as better fitness, less stress, not turning into a jerk etc.

So what do you say? Compare only with your other hobbies and activities how does cycling fare?

I'm into Cycling, High-end Audio, Guitars,Table Tennis, Photography and Chess. Audio is my most expensive as I have half of a CD player that costs $11k. Three of my 🏓's are $600 each, two guitars are $10k each Photography is around $10k.

One of my bikes be would almost $25k if it were still available. So, yes, it's up there.

Last edited by tabl10s; 03-11-19 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 03-04-19, 03:11 PM
  #118  
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You make a good point but I've aquired the tools over a lot of years so if you do your own work and buy the occasional tire or tube the bike and parts come to very little. Day hiking is way cheaper but camping not so much. I paint on canvas and even that costs way more than my daily average of 20 miles. Even my self contained California coast tour cost only food and state campground fees. I might need a weekly motel stop and maybe a tire but still very cheap once you've put together your steed. I prefer to build my own from a $200-$300 starting point and invest a max of $200 for used or affordable stuff. The most expensive touring component is probably a good sleeping bag and even that can be used for different disciplines.
The health benefits are probably incalculable but even disregarding that it's my cheapist hobby, next to day hiking.
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Old 03-04-19, 03:45 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Bikesplendor View Post
You can begin and end a ride from home.

"Performance" is another unexamined box.
Just yesterday, I replied to this Fifty-Plus thread:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
What Is One Of Your Most Memorable Days On Your Bike?

@jppe, that question is a bit like, "Who’s your favorite child?" Nearly all my most memorable days on a bike had been in the context of tours or special weekend events.

In any case if I had to choose the first of my most memorable one day rides, from home and out, to back home, even recognized at that time, it would be
And I have posted to this thread:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I want a new bike but how do I justify?

For years, I rode a steel Bridgestone RB-1, costing about $650 down from about $800 as an end-of-year model when I bought it in the early 1980’s. I came to learn it was considered a classic.

After the introduction of carbon fiber bikes, I always wondered if the premium prices of CF, which I considered to be about $2000 was worth the presumed enhanced riding experience.

The Bridgestone was totaled in 2012 in an accident from which I was not sure I would ride again. Well I did, and decided to get a CF. My trusted mechanic said here’s the bike you want, knowing my riding style. Well the MSRP was $8000, but he got it for me at half off…

Personally, I can afford it, and it was an offer I could not refuse. Cycling is that important to me and I’m fortunate to be able to continue the lifestyle, so that puts it in perspective for me
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My average speed stayed the same, but I think I was hampered by injuries from the accident, and I believe the new bike compensated at least to maintain my average speed. I did note that I was more inclined to sprint (successfully) to beat traffic lights before they turned red.

I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting,making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end.
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Performance in this context does not mean outright speed because that is down to the person riding it and their strength and endurance.

But rather is in the quality of the shifting, braking, ride, handling through corners and over rough surfaces, aerodynamics and (dare I say it) comfort.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-04-19 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 03-04-19, 04:24 PM
  #120  
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Expensive is relevant...

As with any other sport, it depends on your level of engagement. If you are a rider than puts 5-miles at a shot on your bike every other week or so, you can get by with a $20.00 bike and some hand-me-down riding shorts. If, on the other hand, you are a seriously competitive bike Ninja who is competing at the State level, the cost would make most folks cringe! If you are like most semi-serious riders who put in 3K-6K annual miles, a new bike will set you back $2.5K-$7K. With some planning and a bit of compromising, you can find great deals on Craigslist...if you have the time and patience. In this case, you can find a decent ride for between $500-$2K, then add another 10-25% in new hardware to replace that which is at or past needing to be replaced.

Since we're talking price, lets talk about the cost of a bike. The #1 argument I get from new or entry level riders is, "why would I want to spend $2,500 on a bike when I can buy a huffy for $100"? There is nothing wrong with a Huffy IF: (1) you love working on your ride before and after every ride, (2) Don't mind carrying 4-pounds of tools on every ride and (3) either ride alone all the time or don't care if you can't keep up with the rest of the group! My life is busy enough as it is without having to perform maintenance on my bike after every ride. I want to take it to the shop once a year for a thorough cleaning and tuneup. Then, when I go riding, taking the bare minimum in tools like a Park folding tool-kit that fits into a small pouch on the rear of my seat with an extra tube, patches and a couple C02 cartridges and inflater. The entire kit weighs about 1/2 pound and doesn't wiggle even when I sprint. I don't want missed shifts when I'm tired and approaching the Wall...I don't want my brakes squealing every time I slow down from a fast descent and I really don't want my chain breaking because it got caught between two gears while I'm putting 400-Watts to the pedals during a sprint! I'll work right up till the time I have to leave, jump in the truck with my bike in the back and have nothing to do but bring tire pressures up to spec before sprinting to catch up with the group as they leave the parking lot. When I ride, I know my gear will perform as it should and I rarely ever need to do anything to it because it is designed to be used and used hard for hundreds of hours between checkups! I paid my dues early on when I spent many hours tuning my bike before major rides. Today, I simply want to ride without worrying if my equipment will last till the end of a century and for that privilege, I gladly pay a premium in added cost of my steed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, the cost of riding is directly proportional to your tolerance level for breaking down mid-ride. If you ride a $150 Huffy and ride 5-miles every other week with 1-hour in the saddle, your hourly expenses for riding will be about the same as my $3,750 bike that I ride 200-miles per week and spend 10-hours per week in the saddle! As your level of riding/competition goes up, your level for breakdowns has to go down and for that to happen you need one of two things: Either you pay someone to do the work or you pay a premium for quality components. Just know that for every rider that "evolves" from beginner to advanced, there is someone who thinks that buying a great steed is a shortcut to success, who will eventually sell that same steed at a steep discount once they figure out it just ain't so! To push an advanced level riding machine through it's paces requires literally decades of experience and conditioning! Buying the same bike that a Pro used to win a major tour won't make you a Pro! It will only drain your bank account and make some bike sales-person happy!

The best advice I can give you is to find a group you feel comfortable with and then find those riders who are much better than you and ask for help in finding a decent bike. Chances are, someone in the group has a bike they would be willing to part with that is just right for you! Once you get your feet wet and gain some experience, you will know when it is time to upgrade, assuming you didn't just hit a typical performance plateau and simply need to ride through it to the next level... but again, your advance riders in your group will help you decide if it is time for a new steed.

Last edited by wingkeel; 03-04-19 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 03-04-19, 04:39 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Bike riding can be very inexpensive.
Cycling cost must more.
See this thread, Bike Riding vs Cycling
Originally Posted by wingkeel View Post
As with any other sport, it depends on your level of engagement.

  1. If you are a rider than puts 5-miles at a shot on your bike every other week or so, you can get by with a $20.00 bike and some hand-me-down riding shorts.
  2. If, on the other hand, you are a seriously competitive bike Ninja who is competing at the State level, the cost would make most folks cringe!
  3. If you are like most semi-serious riders who put in 3K-6K annual miles, a new bike will set you back $2.5K-$7K.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-04-19 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 03-04-19, 05:19 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by tabl10s View Post
I'm into Cycling, High-end Audio, Guitars,Table Tennis, Photography and Chess. Audio is my most expensive as i have half of a CD player that costs $11k. Three of my 🏓's are $600 each, two guitars are $10k each Photography is around $10k.

One of my bikes be would almost $25k if it were still available. So, yes, it's up there.
As a kid in Kenya mod 70s, I was a chess player (several hours/day). Somehow I ended up playing with the Ambassador to the Netherlands. He was excited to have competition. We'd sit in his yard, be served tea and biscuits and play on a hand carved ivory and ebony chess set. He made some comment that those chess games were the most expensive thing he did. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I do now.
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Old 03-04-19, 05:23 PM
  #123  
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I've calculated that after 27,000 miles in the past 6 years (bikes, clothing, computers, trainer, car racks, maintenance, tires, tubes, etc...) cycling has costed me about $0.33 per mile X 15 mph = $5 an hour. Whereas golf has costed me about $15 an hour, after ~100 rounds.
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Old 03-04-19, 05:33 PM
  #124  
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I know this is not a racing forum. But take any hobby to the natural limit and "what the pros do" enters in. Shoot, that is why the pros get paid - so we do what they do, or do what they say we should do.
So for cycling that tends to be race bikes, race tires, and...racing, for some. Or at least fast fondos or fast group rides or finding a way to beat someone.

I ride a fairly cheap bike I paid $2K for over a decade ago. I ride for rec and because my wife likes company when she works out. I don't care if you pass me. I guess I care a wee bit if you are all excited about it, but I don't get riled, so I ride for about $500/year. I do like nice tires and wheels. Oh, the Di2 tandem with new ENVE tubulars - that is a marriage tool, so not counting that.

But I do like high end stuff. I'd rather have less stuff and better stuff. Total bike stuff passing through may house in the last several years way over $100K due to team stuff.
I got my kicks helping the kids, as did Specialized, beer companies etc. I'd buy some, build several.

Anyway a year racing mostly nationally and some Europe runs about $30K. A lot is plane, hotel etc. But as a hobby it takes a couple bikes, lots of wheels, spares, and travel costs.
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Old 03-04-19, 10:04 PM
  #125  
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Agree with the post above. If you’re riding only once or twice a week or month, and not for very long or not very hard, biking is quite cheap.

But it once you introduce competition, it’s a whole nother game. My personal experience:

I bought a bike for under $1500 - quite reasonable and it was more than enough to race with. On paper.

I just needed a new crank, bottom bracket, wheel, saddle and will need new bars and a new stem (total of over $900) to get comfortable on it/fix defects.

The shoe the bike shop sold me initially for $60 was 2 sizes too big so I had to get another $100 shoe that still doesn’t fit quite right so I’ll probably need to get a stupid insole or something. Also I have some sort of knee alignment issue that 2 fitters (spent $75 on that so far, $275 to come) have been unable to resolve.

In order to do the same (highly effective) structured workouts as others in the peloton I’ll need to get a bike computer, HR monitor and cadence sensor (at least $100 but good ones are over $300 for everything).

TL; DR
You *can* get very very fast riding a stock 1975 Schwinn with no data or tracking or cycling clothing and be very comfortable. But I don’t think most people have the genetics or the discipline or the adaptability for that.
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