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Is cycling a high income demographic sport?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Is cycling a high income demographic sport?

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Old 11-10-07, 10:07 PM
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Is cycling a high income demographic sport?

A NY Times article I read today says that while triathlons don't attract big crowds of spectators, participation is booming. So much so that large triathlons are starting to feel the amateur turnout is so automatic they no longer rely on the pros to spur interest. The piece reports the mean annual income for triathlon participants is $161K, which is very high. I wonder if cycling is similar in that respect? I suspect it's higher than let's say bowling, but lower than triathlons. Both sports do require the time to train and the dough to buy the often pricey schwag.

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Old 11-10-07, 10:09 PM
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I'm not rich....yet.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:11 PM
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Frunkin
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yes.
Zipps aren't cheap.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:15 PM
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i'm dirt poor...my friend are dirt poor...we do triathlons. and we road race/road bike...

you don't need to be rich...you only need to be rich if you feel you need all the bling gear...
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Old 11-10-07, 10:18 PM
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"Cycling" covers a huge demographic. There are people who will will ride 20 year old bikes (and then smoke me on the hills) and there are people who will spend a ton of money on the smallest little things. I'm sure it's somewhat like golf. Of course there are tons of rich people doing it, but there are also average joes. It's possible to spend thousands upon thousands on gear and events, but it's also possible to spend very little (relatively).

I wonder where their numbers are from. If it's from an ironman, I'm sure there are plenty of rich people because you have to buy all your gear, and have the time to train. If it's from a small, local triathlon, then those numbers are pretty surprising. As a college student who also does triathlons, I can tell you that I'm bringing the average down.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:28 PM
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A local Tri shop owner told me $90k average last year for triathletes. I'd like to know their definition of "triathlete." Danskin would be a lot different than Kona.

I think that if you go to the biggest group ride in your city, the incomes represented would be quite a bit above median and average, but probably just middle/upper-middle on average.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ChunkyB View Post
"Cycling" covers a huge demographic. There are people who will will ride 20 year old bikes (and then smoke me on the hills) and there are people who will spend a ton of money on the smallest little things. I'm sure it's somewhat like golf. Of course there are tons of rich people doing it, but there are also average joes. It's possible to spend thousands upon thousands on gear and events, but it's also possible to spend very little (relatively).

I wonder where their numbers are from. If it's from an ironman, I'm sure there are plenty of rich people because you have to buy all your gear, and have the time to train. If it's from a small, local triathlon, then those numbers are pretty surprising. As a college student who also does triathlons, I can tell you that I'm bringing the average down.
Keep in mind that how much someone spends on a bike has almost NOTHING to do with income. There are people racing on $1000 bikes who earn $200K/year, and people racing $5000 bikes just making the minimum payment on their credit card. College student racers would be another example that breaks this mold.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:34 PM
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i simply can't believe those numbers...me and my friends to tri's...my friends have done ironman's, half ironmans...in hawaii, california, as well as other places...they also do dualthlons...marathons...road races...criteriums...roller blading marathons...stair climbing races...etc.

several of my friends participate in ALL of those events...and they're making like $30k-$40k...

it doesn't take tons of money...unless you want to have all the bling equipments, fly first class, stay in 5 star hotels, and eat at mission three star restuarants. but if you can live with affordable equipment, fly cheaply, enjoy road trips, can stay in motel 6's or sleep in the car, and can eat mickey d's...you can do all this for dirt cheap. no one is gonna win these national/regional big events...you're just in it to beat your PR...that doesn't cost zillions of dollars...
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Old 11-10-07, 10:36 PM
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You certainly don't have to spend all that much money to have decent cycling gear. I'm about as into it as you can get, and my total investment is probably <$15K for four bicycles, Zipps, etc. I have saved a few thousand by purchasing slightly used high end stuff on eBay. And nobody needs Dura Ace, Zipps, etc. While I ride with plenty of regular income joes, there does seem to be a preponderance of successful A types in my cycling circles. I'm sure somewhere in the cycling biz somebody knows what the stats are.

Bikes Direct? Any comments? These are your target customers.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Keep in mind that how much someone spends on a bike has almost NOTHING to do with income. There are people racing on $1000 bikes who earn $200K/year, and people racing $5000 bikes just making the minimum payment on their credit card. College student racers would be another example that breaks this mold.
Totally true. I guess it's just a matter of priorities. But, like you said, if they're doing the survey at Kona, they're obviously going to get a different demographic than if they do it at my local sprint tri.

Average salary is always a skewed stat anyways just because there are always going to be a few guys who make millions (or at least tell the surveyors they do). It takes quite a few average income people to offset that.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
i'm dirt poor...
didnt you just buy a P2C???

no my friend. i live with my parents and cant even afford to move out or buy my own bike. i am dirt poor.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:43 PM
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I spend about 2/5ths of my income on bike stuff.

Hi, my name is John and I'm an addict...
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Old 11-10-07, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Edonis13 View Post
didnt you just buy a P2C???

no my friend. i live with my parents and cant even afford to move out or buy my own bike. i am dirt poor.
i used to be into amateur photography...and had accumulated 7-8 years of collectible and high end photography gear. i liquidated a portion of my gear to get my roubaix and my p2c. i make like less than $40k a year...i eat ramen noodles daily...i buy new clothes when they disintigrate...
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Old 11-10-07, 10:46 PM
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Most of my fellow local riders are white collar workers, while I am just a blue collar wage slave that loves riding.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:54 PM
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Triathlons are full of people who want to "finish". It's their goal to finish the local half IM or sprint tri. The age difference between triathletes and your typical road racer seems big. I see a lot of young guys in the road races. More so than triathlons.

The likelihood of people training for one road race are going to be way lower than someone training for one triathlon. Ditto for marathons.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:55 PM
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Definitely not rich here, especially compared to my finance major counterparts. I don't do bad for myself, but over the past year I've spent about $1500, which includes a roadie and a commuter/touring bike (rarely drive to work). Cycling keeps me fit, it relaxes me, and the lifestyle of not driving everyday is priceless. So eh, whatever that means.
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Old 11-10-07, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
i used to be into amateur photography...and had accumulated 7-8 years of collectible and high end photography gear. i liquidated a portion of my gear to get my roubaix and my p2c. i make like less than $40k a year...i eat ramen noodles daily...i buy new clothes when they disintigrate...
ahh ok. being a college student is my excuse. school full time, work part time and still enough time left over to ride 100-150 miles a week on a bike i didnt pay for. i guess i really cant complain too much....
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Old 11-10-07, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Edonis13 View Post
ahh ok. being a college student is my excuse. school full time, work part time and still enough time left over to ride 100-150 miles a week on a bike i didnt pay for. i guess i really cant complain too much....
i recently graduated...but i think i'm going back to grad school...i need higher earning potential so i can buy more cycling stuff!
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Old 11-10-07, 11:12 PM
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I'm rich *****!
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Old 11-10-07, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Frunkin View Post
I spend about 2/5ths of my income on bike stuff.

Hi, my name is John and I'm an addict...
Welcome to the club.
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Old 11-10-07, 11:14 PM
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$161k isn't what it used to be.

Most road cyclists I see around here are higher income or students, not much in the middle.
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Old 11-10-07, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ChunkyB View Post
Totally true. I guess it's just a matter of priorities. But, like you said, if they're doing the survey at Kona, they're obviously going to get a different demographic than if they do it at my local sprint tri.

Average salary is always a skewed stat anyways just because there are always going to be a few guys who make millions (or at least tell the surveyors they do). It takes quite a few average income people to offset that.
Yeah, I think median salary would be a much more useful number.
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Old 11-11-07, 12:09 AM
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If you include my income, that'll bring the average way down.

But really, average annual income stats are completely laughable. Stats Can, or whoever, posts the average annual income stats for various cities across the country. I don't know who they are polling but the annual incomes over the past 20 years have always consistently been much, much higher than what I make ... often 2-3 times what I make, even in the years where I've been making a decent salary. If they are to be believed, most relatively frugally-living people could be millionaires in about 10-15 years. Yeah ... right.
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Old 11-11-07, 12:11 AM
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After seeing the price of some of the entry bikes I can see where a lot of people think you have to be rich to ride. But what a lot of people don't relize is the "rich" people get bored quick and sell off their toys for cheap. Thats where those of us that ride on a budget will swoop in and grab up a sweet bike for cheap. My Team SL has about $1000 invested in it and its very much an awesome road machine. My mountain bike is a K2 ZedX I paid $150 for, I can throw it around the trail just as well as a Trek 9.9 that cost 5K.
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Old 11-11-07, 12:19 AM
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I know at least half a dozen Ironman triatheles who are Silicon Valley venture capitalists and investment bankers. It only takes a few who make $10 million plus per year to drive up the average. Averages can be very misleading.
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