Thursday, October 4, 2007

How to justify your next bike

Read this on Bike Radar. Marvelous!

How to justify your next bike

By Elden "The Fat Cyclist" Nelson

We cyclists are simple folk. We don't need much to keep us happy. Really, all we need are clear skies and a road or trail to make us happy.

And a helmet, of course. And gloves. And shorts with a special antimicrobial chamois insert. And form-fitting shirts. And very stiff-soled shoes, preferably Italian-made. And specialty sports drinks, with an incomprehensible combination of carbohydrates, proteins, electrolytes, and a lemon-lime flavoring that for some reason makes one think of furniture polish.

Oh, and we need bikes. More specifically, we need another bike. Always. And that means we need to pay for another bike.

Now, it's not the paying per se that's difficult. We can always find a way to get the money we need for bike stuff — take a second job, sell a kidney, money laundering, whatever.

What's difficult is justifying the expense of yet another bicycle, whether it be to our wives, our parents, or to our own nagging conscience.

Sometimes we fail in our justification, and then where are we? We're in the Purgatory of No New Bikes, that's where we are. That's a bad place. A bad, bad place. We should never have to be in that place.

And if you will follow these techniques, you will never be in that place again.

It will save money on gas.

This may surprise you, but bikes can actually be used as transportation, and there are some people who — oddly enough — actually use their bikes to get around from place to place, instead of driving. Explain that with this new bike you will be saving serious transportation costs and doing your part for the environment.

Caveat: Do not explain that the new bike you're considering costs approximately the same as three years' worth of fuel, and most especially do not explain that any of the bikes you already have would work as transportation, too. If brought up as a counterargument, explain — dismissively — that your other bikes aren't really for that kind of thing.

It's less expensive than a humongous HDTV.

This will take a little bit of preparation, but is well worth it. For about three weeks, don't mention the new bike you want. At all. Instead, with increasing intensity and frequency, begin talking about how you're thinking about getting a giant high-def television. And a Blu-Ray DVD player. And a subscription to high-def cable/satellite (or both!). And a serious sound system to go with it. Be very, very open about how much this will cost — about three times as much as the bike you want.

Argue convincingly (not too convincingly, though) and loudly about why you ought to get this massive entertainment system.

About the time your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/parent is at wit's end, capitulate. Right in the middle of an argument, act like a light's just come on in your head. "You know, you're right!" you say, catching them off-guard. "It's outrageously expensive and it would just rot my brain, especially when a new bike would cost me less than half as much!"

They'll be so relieved — not to mention pleased at having clearly won an argument with you — they'll just let that remark go. Next day, you come home with the new bike, as the two of you agreed.

Bonus: It's possible this technique will backfire on you and your significant other will really get into the idea of buying a home theatre system. That's the beauty of this technique: even if you lose, you win!

You Will Easily Recoup the Cost of This Bike in Prize Money.

Did you know there's big money in bike racing? There is! Just ask Lance Armstrong; he's made a very comfortable living by racing his bicycle.

Do you think Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times riding a piece of crap like the one you ride? No, he most certainly did not.

If you're going to start winning races and making millions of dollars like Lance, you're going to need a better bike.

The prize money will follow naturally.

This bike will hardly cost anything after the trade-in.

Thinking of trading in an old bike for the new one? Excellent. You'll want to get out your soft math skills for this technique.

First, find out the suggested retail for the new bike you want. Reduce that figure by 25%, because nobody pays MSRP for anything these days. Then take another 10% off because you're friends with a guy at the shop. Take another 5% off because you're a sharp negotiator. Tell your significant other that's how much your new bike will cost.

Next, estimate how much your current bike is actually worth. Add 10% to that, because I can tell you've taken really good care of your bike. Add 5% because I think you're just being too modest. Then add 15% to that figure because you want some negotiating room. Tell your significant other that's how much you'll be selling your old bike for.

If you're any good at all with creative math, you should actually be able to make a case that you may well be pocketing some money when all is said and done.

Note: When it turns out that the actual cost of the new bike is much higher — and the amount you sell the old bike for is lower — than you expect, I highly recommend shrugging and blaming taxes, shipping, and the fees the online site charged. "Man, everyone wants a slice," you can say, resignedly.

This bike is the bike to end all bikes.

I fully admit that this approach is dangerous, but desperate times call for desperate measures, as I think all of us who have ever had a carbon fiber jones can attest.

"I know I have a lot of bikes already," you should say (it's good to start with a true statement, because that fools people into thinking other things you say may also be true). "This one, though, is different. It fits me unlike any bike ever made. It will never break. It is both beautiful and functional. It weighs 2.3Kg, fully loaded."

Continue with, "This is the ultimate expression of a bicycle. I shall never need another."

Look her/him right in the eyes as you conclude, "Hey, it's not like I'm talking about buying a Ferrari here, but how often in my life will I have a chance to own something that is truly perfect?" (Note: Do not say this if you own a Ferrari.) Try to mist up a little as you say this. It adds impact.

Warning: Do not use this technique more than twice per year.

Elden Nelson blogs most weekdays as The Fat Cyclist, where he posts fake news, fake ideas, and delicious ways you can combine bananas, peanut butter, and mayonnaise.

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