Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Cost of Doing Bicycle

What does it take to get into the sport of Bicycling? How much do you really need to spend to enjoy the Cycling Experience?
Bicycles in the late 1800's sold for as much as $300.00, Figure that a loaf of bread back then was selling for about 3 cents, $300,00 was more money than what the common man could afford. A sport for the upper class.
Mass production brought the cost down so as a chicken in every pot, there too was a bicycle in every garage.
In the States as time went on, Bicycles became more of a children's toy. There were a few that enjoined bicycle racing, but for the most part unless you were broke, you drove a car. I don't remember adults riding bicycles back in the 50's in my town.
Today, it is possable to spend as much as $10,000 for a Bicycle. Hand made Carbon Fiber frame and Carbon Fiber parts are now the rage and to be the lightest on your block, expect to spend a lot of money. Expect that actually riding the bike will cost you more. Carbon parts do wear out and will need to be replaced in short order. Nice days for nice bikes only and you know how many good days we have around here.
I have often thought that a Bicycle is a Freedom Machine. Take it where you want to go and ride it as fast as you can.
A $10,000 bicycle you just don't ride to the store. The thought of locking a bike like that and walking away just isn't right.
The justification of buying a expensive lightweight bicycle for getting fit, could be done on a well tuned heavy bicycle. As it turns out, weight is only a factor between the speeds of 0-12 MPH and after that a benefit. A nice 11 pound bike makes a great conversation piece, having people lift it and pass it around, but in real time on the road, is the expense really justified?
I enjoy a nice lightweight bicycle. The feeling of how "snappy" the bike feels and how much easier it is to climb hills.
For the most part, my most enjoyable bicycles and bicycle rides are the ones that cost me very little. The pure enjoyment of being out and riding. Not because the bike is nice, but the day is nice. My love for the less favored and how far you can take it has always been a love.
"You rode from where on that?" I have heard that more then once. Finding a bike in the trash, overhauling it and taking it out for a long ride gives me a thrill that surpasses any ride on a new off the shelf bicycle. The feeling that the bike found me and now its getting the chance it was designed for and will never be left to the trash again.
The more new bicycles that arrive, the more old bikes there will be. One day that $10,000 bicycle will be another old bicycle that in some cases will look silly. Very few of the New Styles in Bicycle design become Classic. One can expect to sell there old bikes for at most 1/3 of what they paid for it unless the bicycle has a story.
Its hard to figure the percentage of bicycles that get used but by judging by the ones I see, Not many. In most cases, the bearings need to be repacked with fresh grease, chain oiled and the tires inspected or just inflated.
Check in your basement, You just might have the perfect bike for this perfect Spring day!

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