With the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour underway, we are reminded once again that circumnavigating the earth by bike is not just an objectively admirable undertaking, but an expensive one.
Because of this, the riders taking their tilt at Alan Bate’s Guinness World Record are assisted by sponsors to help cover the costs of gear, flights, visas, insurance, gear, accommodations, and of course, gear. Not to mention spending cash to cover the steady stream of bills arriving in their letterboxes while away. Did we mention gear?
An unhurried circumnavigation can run to comfortably around 30,000 US Dollars, and not many of the Fast Trackers arriving back in London this summer will have had outgoings substantially less when they take stock of their trip’s ledger book.
Which set us to wondering. How much money would we need to jump from a standing start into full membership of some other cycling niche group?
However, with every expense, one supposedly reaps a benefit, so we invite you to match the benefit to the corresponding cost. (we have aided you by arranging them ahead of time)
With all of that in mind, we present The Brooks Bicycling Bandwagon Budget Bulletin.
Fixed Gear Culture Adherent
For all its putative Simplicity and attractive Minimalism, most devotees of the Locked Cog mysteriously go through wads of cash putting their ride and look together. So much so, that they often wind up buying bikes associated with other bicycling cliques. In fact nowadays, if you want to be taken seriously as a mover and shaker in the world of Beards, Trucker Caps and Lumberjack Shirts, you need to nominally reject the fixed wheel in favour of the cyclocross bike. (the second ride simply functioning as your Money Pit.)
But here is just a look at the immediate costs for hitting the streets with freewheel-free wheels:
1. Skinny Jeans – €100
2. Aerospoke – €300
3. Knuckle tattoos and pair of “sleeves” – €800
4. Physical Therapy for Knees – €300/month
5. Cigarettes – €7/day
6. Run DMC “My Adidas” Tshirt – €13,000
7. Used chain and tube for saddle locking – €0
8. Bike-silencing can of WD40 – €5
A. Less money spent on food
B. No more broken nipples
C. Keep you out of a higher tax bracket
D. Nothing spent on brake blocks
E. Make you slower, skids burn less rubber
F. Could be worth more in the future
G. Priceless peace of mind
H. “Oneness” obviates need for Yoga classes
Cycling around town dressed (and acting) like a Brideshead Revisited extra is all well and good, but perhaps not to everyone’s taste. Hence, Bike Dandies have quickly learned that there can be safety in numbers, and thus the proliferation worldwide of textile-themed group rides. Enjoy yourself by all means, but remember, there’s no such thing as a free cucumber sandwich.
1. Tweed Jacket – € 250
2. Linen shirt – € 90
3. Knickerbockers – €100
4. Tweed Run Pewter Hipflask – €70
5. Fake Moustache. – €5
6. Book of English Public School Slang – €5
A. Also useful for teaching Geography
B. Bet people they can’t say “Linen” ten times very quickly
C. Your kids can also use them as full length trousers
D. At the Pub, cut out the middleman.
E. Can also be worn with Lumberjack Shirt
F. Saves half a mill in school fees
Those who have Suckled at the Muddy Teat of Dame Cyclocross frequently find themselves in a position not unlike that of Michael Corleone in the Godfather Part 3, i.e., having laid out all that money on the necessaries, they want to quit The Sport on account of their being no good at riding around in cold slop. But every cloud has a silver lining, because nobody’s good at that, only some are just less bad than others.
1. Kärcher high pressure hose system – €1200
2. Catering sized jar of Bovril – €320
3. Big car for getting bike to races – €45,000
4. Belgian paraphernalia for the garage – €20
5. Sleeves (the actual kind) – €70
6. SSCXWC winner’s tattoo – €0
A. Clean pools to pay off Rapha kit.
B. When empty, makes an “epic” piggy bank
C. Less money wasted on bus fare
D. Garage could double as Flemish style Shebeen after Pub is out of budget
E. Your kids can also use them as leg warmers
F. Other cyclocrossers will buy you drinks
There’s nothing quite like zig-zagging along foreign rural roads, with only your toestraps to stop your feet from tipsily slipping off their pedals at each turn of the cranks. Events like L’Eroica and the Retro Ronde invite swarms of heavy drinking throwbacks to show up with their oldest bike and crash it, sozzled, somewhere along a course of gravelly or mucky country lanes. But you don’t have to travel abroad to get in on the act, simply tape a bunch of cable housings on your bars, stop shaving for a few days and then hit that sauce!
1. Woollen jersey – €90
2. KAS cap. – €10
3. Pep pills. – Price on request
4. Three packets of Gitanes – €15
5. Tetrapak of red wine – €1.25
6. Packet of Aspirin. – €3.99
A. You’ll never need to wash it.
B. KAS might send you some KAS
C. Buy 8 wholesale, sell 6, 2 are free
D. You’ll be a long time dead.
E. No need for artisanal wine bottle holder
F. They’re not just for hangovers
Tourers are always on about “The Kindness of Strangers”. Retro Roadies somewhat less so…
Having such an extremely light and responsive “Gruppo” merely whittles down your roster of halfways plausible excuses for losing, so is not always deemed an advantage. This should intuitively turn any serious cyclist off Shimano’s finest set of frame attachments. Although we’re sure we’ve often heard the occasional roadie complain at the finish line that their “bike was too light”… anyway, on the upside, Dura Ace is extremely expensive…
1. A load of Dura-Ace stuff – €3,000
2. Internet access – €50/month
A. You’ll never need another crank until 2013
B. You can surf Dura Ace forums day and night
Of course while many choose to use the bike as an expensive implement of Public Personality Extension, many others instead merely use it as a means of getting themselves unattractively yet efficiently from one point to another. You would think the latter must automatically be cheaper than the former. You would not be right. Because as a Captain Sensible, it’s not the prohibitive expense of individual items on offer that costs you big, it’s the endless quantity of them.
1. Gaiters – €50
2. Chain Guard – €25
3. Side-view Mirror – €15
4. Skirt Guard – €70
5. Hi-Visibility Vest – €25
6. Handlebar Umbrella Attachment – €70
7. Fanny Pack- €60
8. Handlebar Muffs – €70
9. Multiposition Handlebar – €70
10. Bar Ends – €70
1. to 10.- You won’t get asked out on any potentially awkward and/or expensive dates.
Folding Bike Commuter
You can spend a lot of Folding Stuff on a Folding Bike. Moulton, for example, have a model that you’re barely even allowed to ask the price of unless you fax them a clean bill of health from your Cardiologist. And while there are folding bikes on the market to be had for those on a tight budget, this mode of transport is inextricably linked with dosh. No other pair of human powered wheels says “I have chosen to leave the Porsche at home today” quite like a Folder.
1. Leather briefcase – €600
2. Savile Row suit – €4000
3. Charvet Tie – €200
4. Bodyguards – €36k p/a
A. Pack sandwiches in there, save on pricey City lunches.
B. Can loiter outside courts and offer to settle arguments on the cheap.
C. Doubles as tourniquet if you lop off a limb while “Brompting”
D. You can sub-contract them out as handymen while you’re at work
Seasoned Brompton athletes can do this in about 12 seconds. They can also spell “Brompton”.
As we see, this clique stuff can be a pricey road to go down, so we advise readers to take solace from the truism that money will buy you a fine dog, but only love will make him wag his tail. Alternatively you could take a leaf out of Henry David Thoreau’s book and “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”.
Though, of course, Groucho probably put it best in his declaration that “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”.
Spare change, Guv’nor?