There have been many times in my life that I’ve found myself justifying to non-cyclists why I have spent what I’ve spent on a bike. In my younger years, before a mortgage and children, I would happily spend 3/4/5 times what I can afford now and the conversation would usually go something like this:
Non-cyclist: Nice bike, so how much did that cost you?
Me: (hesitantly) Errr £1800
Non-cyclist: WTF!? Are you kidding me?
Me: Err no
Non-cyclist: But you could go abroad for that!
Me: True, but I really like this bike
Non-cyclist: But seriously £1800, why would anyone need to spend that much on a bike? Has it got a hidden engine or something?
And so it would continue. A losing battle. But why was I even bothering with this discussion/fight? It’s not like I needed their permission to feel OK about my purchase – I already felt bloody fantastic about it. It was worth every single penny to me!
Nowadays, I spend much less on my bikes and gear as the rest of life is so expensive. Can I get that swanky new waterproof I’ve just seen on Wiggle? Not this side of the council tax no. What about that new all-singing-all-dancing heart rate monitor? Not before Christmas – I’d just feel a teeny weeny bit guilty admiring my impressive stats when the kids’ feet are soaking wet from holes in their trainers!
However, the one thing I refuse to feel guilty about is my bike. Sure it creeps in from time to time but I’ve become very adept at swiping any guilt away with incredible force and accuracy. And here’s why. You simply cannot put a price on:
- The absolute thrill of flying down a single track or road, senses heightened to the max, utterly focused on the job at hand
- Spending hours after the ride discussing every twist, turn, root and drop that we battled throughout the day
- The friendships you develop in the cycling community with people who just totally GET you
- The fitness and physical wellbeing that cycling gives you
- The incredible mental wellbeing that results from time in the saddle, whether with friends or on your own
I could go on and on.
How incredible are all those things? Whether you’re on a bike that costs £2500 or £150, you still get all those things – that’s what you’re buying – what better way to spend your hard-earned cash?
So even though I am on a budget nowadays (and I’m fine with that) I will always buy the best bike that I can possibly afford, I will not feel guilty and nor will I ever feel the need to justify it to anyone ever again, ever!
Now, where’s that list of the best cheap mountain bikes under £500? 😉