Making it Work

I’m not very budget minded. This fact is probably my biggest fault, well the one that holds me back the most, there is that matter of being overly judgmental, but the ways that affects my life is a bit harder to gauge, but I digress.

A side effect to this lack of budget mindfulness is that I often replace things before they have outlived their complete usefulness. Sure something might not work as well as it did on day one, but overall it is still functional. Often times if a particular piece of gear stopped working perfectly I would just replace it. I was aided in this foolishness when I worked in a warehouse and had access to anything I could lay my wallet and all I had to do was walk through a swinging door. I’ve gotten a little bit better now that I work in a more traditional shop, but the challenge remains.

Changing my clinchers out after the race because, well, new wheels cost money.
Changing my clinchers out after the race because, well, new wheels cost money.

If you follow along on my twitter or instagram timeline you may have run across posts referencing my lack of a living wage. Now my income isn’t any smaller than it was in Portland, but my rent was half of what it is here (now that we have a new place), that means fewer races (or trading skills for race entry), that means pulling something apart and actually learning to fix what’s broken, or maybe it means making something work. You get the idea.

As far as racing is concerned it means changing my tires after every race, because I need those Grifo treaded tires to last me a all season, which isn’t going to happen if I’m commuting to and from work on them.

I grew up when the notion of disposability was really taking off. Doesn’t work anymore? Well toss it and let’s get a new better one. The cycling industry is founded on this. Carbon frames won’t last nearly as long as steel and aluminum frames that preceded them. I have a hard time explaining this to my customers. Most of them haven’t purchased a bike in five, ten and sometimes twenty years. Which is super refreshing, but if you are in your 50s and ride a lot, that fancy carbon rig you just bought probably isn’t going to be “the last bike you buy”. How many frames have I gone through in the last three years? Meanwhile some people are getting by with the bike they’ve raced for the last four, or more seasons.

Following through with this is going to require a huge shift in my habits. Instead of “just getting something new” I’m going to have to find ways to make what I have work. I’m going to be scrubbing my tires clean after every race so I can change them out, and if I ever have the chance to race cross on gears again, it maybe because I moved most of the components over from my road bike to cross frame and fork. It will mean only having – (again) GASP! – only having one bike built up at a time.

It also means going for things that are going to last a long fucking time and are easily rebuilt.

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