As we all know, to be a True Mountain Biker is to embrace a time when there is never a reason NOT to spend money. It’s what N+1 was invented for, where N is the number of bikes you currently have. The more creative – and those with finer judgement – like to operate under the X-1 maxim, where X is the number of bikes at which your spouse leaves you (or you sleep on the sofa, for ever).
Bike acquisition is by far the biggest cost of cycling, but no-one makes us do it and the cost can be cut to nothing if you’re prepared to stick with what you’ve got – at least for a while – and are prepared to suffer the indignity of last years bike geometry.
However, whether you’re a Collector, or a Swapper or a Keeper, there’s one thing we can’t avoid and it’s the whetstone on which our creative accounting skills have been finely honed. I’m talking about the cost of ‘consumable’ and ‘ad-hoc’ spending.
Now, I don’t know about you but I have no idea how much I spend each year keeping my bike(s) on the trails. It’s a lot more than I want to know really, and definitely more than I think, but this year I’m going to try a little experiment.
I’m going to keep a track of my bike spending, in the interests of science. The question is, how to define a consumable expense versus ad-hoc spending?
Well, anything that’s not obviously a new bike is going to be either a consumable, or ad-hoc cost. Anything that needs replacing once used – like brake pads, or fork seals, or chain lube – is a consumable expense in my book, whereas something purchased to be used again and again – like a tool, or a Camelbak, or a new light, is ad-hoc spending. There’s also a subset of ad-hoc spending – ‘exceptional items’ – like a new dropper post for example, but this is a more considered spending choice, and therefore not exactly a hidden cost.
After just a couple of weeks of the new year, I’ve bought a 16oz bottle of Rock n Roll Extreme chain lube (an obvious consumable) and a nifty little valve core remover for my spares box in my Camelbak (an ad-hoc cost), to go with the spare valve I bought last year. So I’m already looking at about £23 spent.
I know it won’t end there but at this stage I’ve no thought as to what else I might need to buy. It’s going to be interesting to see what story my Spreadsheet of Doom tells me in January 2019…