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Is cycling an expensive hobby?

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Is cycling an expensive hobby?

Old 02-28-19, 01:17 PM
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TheRef
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Is cycling an expensive hobby?

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?

Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
I don't know how many hobbies can be cheaper than Cycling. Certainly none of my current or previous hobbies. Fishing comes to mind. One can buy a cheap rod and reel and use worms for bait for close to nothing. Some states require a annual fishing license for like $% bucks or something. I have two neighbors who love fishing. One complains he has to pay the $5 bucks for the license an brags that he goes years at time without paying and laughs he never got caught fishing on the local lakes, pounds and rivers. The other goes on trips, owns a fishing boat, buys all the latest and greatest gear (Did you know Shimano makes reels in different levels just like SORA, Tiagra, Dura-Ace like bicycles?)
Same hobby, two different types of "customers". Same with bicycles.
Of all of my Hobbies my wife would agree cycling is the cheapest even though I love to look and buy stuff.
Here is my quick list:
Coffee - I love to go to a decent coffee shop to read a book and relax. Usually during the winter. That and my almost daily Stabucks trip.
Books and Magazines. - I love to read. Sure I use the library to check out books for free but I like to make notes and keep some books for my personal collection. I spend a lot more on books yearly than on cycling.
Music.--- That's one I don't spend a lot of money anymore. Just like books I used to buy a lot of records and CD. Today I have a $14.99/mo Apple music family Subscription and that's enough.
Movies--- I used to go to the Theaters a lot sometimes a couple of times per week. Due to long hours at work, Family activities/ kids sports. I don't go as much anymore. Still When the 4 of us go to see a movie it can be over $60 bucks easily. I suspect I spend more at the movies than on cycling.
TV/home entertainment -- After the cable/internet, Amazon Prime (for movies), Netflix, HBO and Showtime... (I should cut all or some but hey.. It's winter 5 mouths out of the winter here.
Concerts -- I try to go to a couple concerts every year. Have you seen the price of a good concert lately?
Motorcycling --- I used to be into motorbikes, I used to do a few track days every summer-- Haven't done in over 10 years just when I sold my motorcycle and bought my first motorcycle. My wife was overjoyed.

Still think cycling is expensive???
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Old 02-28-19, 01:22 PM
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All hobbies can be expensive. It just depends on how much you get into it.
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Old 02-28-19, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
All hobbies can be expensive. It just depends on how much you get into it.
Right that's my point. How does it compare with your other hobbies?
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Old 02-28-19, 01:26 PM
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It certainly can be expensive. However, it isn't necessarily so. Granted there are some up front costs, such as the purchase of a bike, appropriate attire, computer, HRM, etc. But if one is savvy and shops around they don't have to spend a fortune.
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Old 02-28-19, 01:34 PM
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I race my bike, which is arguably one of the more expensive ways of enjoying this hobby. There are race fees, license fees, team fees, coaching/conditioning fees, travel to races,clothing, tegaderm, etc. That doesn't even count the multiple bikes for different disciplines.

But compared to racing boats, cars, motorcycles, or planes? Mere pennies. I bet some car guys spend more on a track weekend than I do all year racing my bike.
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Old 02-28-19, 01:56 PM
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Old 02-28-19, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
not turning into a jerk etc.
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Don't know where that comes from. I spent 93 days on the road with 12 other people. Three of them were jerks. One of those three was the racist, alcoholic type of jerk. And I often encounter jerks during my daily commute, like the cyclists who nearly hit me because I stop for traffic lights about to turn red at busy intersections.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
It certainly can be expensive. However, it isn't necessarily so. Granted there are some up front costs, such as the purchase of a bike, appropriate attire, computer, HRM, etc. But if one is savvy and shops around they don't have to spend a fortune.
The initial investment and add-ons that some may consider a necessity can get pricy. But after all of that is bought the act of cycling itself is free or very inexpensive. Golf has all the same initial investment in equipment and gear and you still have to pay EVERY TIME you want to go golf unless you have a private golf course.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Don't know where that comes from. I spent 93 days on the road with 12 other people. Three of them were jerks. One of those three was the racist, alcoholic type of jerk. And I often encounter jerks during my daily commute, like the cyclists who nearly hit me because I stop for traffic lights about to turn red at busy intersections.
LOL. I listed that as a benefit of riding. I've been told by my wife and kids that when I'm very stressed I can turn into a bit of a Jerk and riding is a very good thing to get me into my Zen self. The running joke around the house is that " Daddy needs to go for a ride!"
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Old 02-28-19, 02:14 PM
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So once you buy the bike, the cloths and the rest of the gear, it's dirt cheap. When I do a 50 mile ride my only cost is 2 GU jells and tap water. So my cost per ride is about $2.

Now if you factor in the cost of the bike, cloths and gear i'm under $1 per mile since I have over 22,000 miles on my bike since 2015.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:14 PM
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All things considered, cycling isn't that bad. Speaking for road cycling - my primary discipline - it is possible to get into an entry level road bike or very nice used bike (carbon, 105, etc.), add pedals, shoes, upgraded tires, a saddle, and some clothing, for ~$1,000 - $1,500. One can actually do it for far less money than even that - as I did for a number of years - but it will not be as fast or comfortable.

I probably spent about the same to start my other hobby, drumming. An entry level or nice used kit, better heads, and a few cymbals that do not sound like utter garbage runs ~$1,000-$1,500. My SO is a guitarist (rock/metal), and his costs were similar for a decent guitar, amp, and pedal or two. (Obviously acoustic people can get started for much less.)

I tried photography once, and dropped it pretty quickly. The cost of a good camera and various lenses got very out of control very quickly. I think cycling is a better value - I get hundreds of hours of enjoyment each year for relatively little, and as an added bonus, I can cut down a bit on transpo costs by using the bike as a vehicle.

With any of these hobbies, the sky is the limit. I keep going n+1 on my bikes, and now have four bikes for different conditions plus various gadgets to measure performance. Events usually cost money (and racing is even more - as @caloso brings up.) I want n+1 cymbals and a better drumkit, and my SO wants n+1 guitars and pedals and a better amp.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:16 PM
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I like to scuba dive, drive fast cars and collect and listen to music. Beyond that I ride over 5k/year and used to tour every couple of years. Bottom line - cycling is probably the cheapest, but still not cheap. The universal answer applies - it depends.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
Right that's my point. How does it compare with your other hobbies?
Other hobbies?
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Old 02-28-19, 02:32 PM
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I do underwater photography - mostly in the southwestern Pacific. (Live in north Texas). So considering the dive gear, travel costs including outrageous excess baggage fees, incredibly expensive cameras and underwater lighting and housings ,,,, Cycling is almost a pittance by comparison.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:36 PM
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Not expensive, unless you want it to be. We can get into accessories and equipment but it's not at all necessary at any level of cycling.

I'll spend more in one weekend at another hobby than an entire year of cycling. And that includes bike purchases.

*Mostly it's expensive for racers, and for people who are fooling themselves that they're more "serious" about it than others.

Last edited by wphamilton; 02-28-19 at 03:45 PM. Reason: *edited to add snark.
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Old 02-28-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
Right that's my point. How does it compare with your other hobbies?
Just as expensive. Everyone has different levels of "want". For example, you speak about the upfront cost of just getting a bike. It can turn into a lot more than that.....a better bike, a "rain" or winter bike, a cross bike, a MTB, better wheels, different wheels, better shoes, updating the groupset, indoor trainer which can turn into a smart trainer, then zwift or trainer road, etc., etc.

It's not cheap unless you are a casual cyclist.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Just as expensive. Everyone has different levels of "want". For example, you speak about the upfront cost of just getting a bike. It can turn into a lot more than that.....a better bike, a "rain" or winter bike, a cross bike, a MTB, better wheels, different wheels, better shoes, updating the groupset, indoor trainer which can turn into a smart trainer, then zwift or trainer road, etc., etc.

It's not cheap unless you are a casual cyclist.
Even then, that's subjective. Whats Cheap? My bike was entry level and the Jones h loop handle bars were not. Someone who buys a BSO from Walmart would think my bike is expensive. I consider myself a casual cyclist, but the fact I ride in the winter and often ride 5 days a week cause some people to think I'm an actual cyclist. While I don't want to apply the label cheap to my cycling, I have managed to make it very affordable. I agree, we can make it as expensive or affordable as we want, but as soon as it starts replacing the car it starts paying back the initial investment.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:17 PM
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Prior to cycling, I was spending a lot of time motorcycling. Compared to that cycling seems really inexpensive. Plenty of things in common (bike, helmet, gloves, clothing, etc.) but it all costs way more except maybe the helmet. Bike helmets for what they are seem incredibly expensive to me.

As far as costs go, pretty much everyone I've ever known had a hobby or interest that they spent a fair amount of money on and was considered frivolous by people not involved in that activity. As long as you can afford it, do what makes you happy.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by baldilocks View Post
Even then, that's subjective. Whats Cheap? My bike was entry level and the Jones h loop handle bars were not. Someone who buys a BSO from Walmart would think my bike is expensive. I consider myself a casual cyclist, but the fact I ride in the winter and often ride 5 days a week cause some people to think I'm an actual cyclist. While I don't want to apply the label cheap to my cycling, I have managed to make it very affordable. I agree, we can make it as expensive or affordable as we want, but as soon as it starts replacing the car it starts paying back the initial investment.
Agree, "cheap" was a bad word choice. Expensive or affordable is better....but then again that is also subjective. Maybe "money pit" would be a better word.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
The initial investment and add-ons that some may consider a necessity can get pricy. But after all of that is bought the act of cycling itself is free or very inexpensive. Golf has all the same initial investment in equipment and gear and you still have to pay EVERY TIME you want to go golf unless you have a private golf course.
True. And I understand that green fees ain't cheap neither.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:33 PM
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cycling is super cheap compared to my pistol collection habit. However is really damn expensive compared to my wife's puzzle putting together hobby.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:43 PM
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Cycling is cheap compared to performance cars.
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Old 02-28-19, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
It's not cheap unless you are a casual cyclist.
Spending these winter days reading about Norma Jean Belloff & Fred Birchmore's epic rides on one speed, coaster brake bikes...
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Old 02-28-19, 04:08 PM
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Like any hobby, it's cost is what one is willing to spend. What is expensive for one person is low cost for another. For me, the cost of my cycling is well worth it.
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Old 02-28-19, 04:22 PM
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My other hobby is racing sailboats. Cycling, even at the highest level, is super cheap compared to that. Easily spend $10K-$15K a year on sails alone, not to mention dockage, finishing the hull, paying a diver to clean the bottom each week, etc.
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