Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wish list in an economic wasteland

I recently returned from vacation determined to never again travel without an easily transportable bike. I already own a hard-shell case, but it’s not always practical to schlep a huge bike box, and there’s always the threat of nasty airline baggage fees.

A folding bike seemed like a possible sanity-saving solution for quick trips, but the very idea brought an onslaught of criticism from two riding buddies who insisted that a folder would obligate me to commit acts rarely performed by a straight man who's not incarcerated.

That led me back to the more-expensive idea of a Surly Travelers Check with its ingenious S&S couplers. But like most everyone else, I’ve spent the past three months watching my already-laughable financial portfolio waste away like a bulemic bimbo with a nose full of blow.

On top of that, I have a bad habit of reading the news every day, which hasn’t exactly been a confidence builder lately. Dropping a thousand bucks on a frame that would then soak up more money in the form of tasty components just doesn’t seem prudent right now. It’s enough to make a guy want to kick the teeth out of all the sub-prime lenders and derivative-selling financial con artists who put us in this swirling toilet bowl of an economy.

It’s unreasonable to whine about delaying a bike purchase. Unlike some people, I still have a job, and the value of the bikes in my house could feed a Third World family for a few years.

Still, it’s no fun being a responsible adult and delaying gratification.


WheelDancer said...

Being unemployed at this time, I have expanded my search to include positions that would have me on the road a considerable bit. I have been considering that such a position would require a bike that could come along. The catch 22 of course is needing the job to afford the bike that would make having the job tolerable...

Jerome said...

I agree, it's not much fun at all. Right now we are on our way to getting completely out of debt and I've commited to buying no bikes until we are. After that, I'll be purchasing a bike friday tikit. I've test riden one, and until you actually do, you really can't imagine that a bike that folds that fast and that small could actually ride well. What's more is that you can get a bike friday that actually fits nicley. I'm 6'2" and their large felt excellent. I understand that other cyclist might not think highly of them, but I would also suspect that they've never riden a bike friday folding bike. Rob English does competative hill climging on a tikit, and will often place in the standings. Hard to argue with that.

Tim said...

That is a conundrum, Wheeldancer. Maybe you could ask for an advance on your first paycheck?

I've always said that the only thing worse than looking for a job is actually finding one.

Kevin T said...

A little perspective...the money that you faithfully put into your 401K every month over the years has now vaporized. For the most part, you now have nothing to show for a good bit of it.

If you would've plowed those funds instead into broadening your bicycle collection, you'd have a nice quiver of tangible assets by now...need I say more?

Just consider it a form of diversification.

Tim said...

You, sir, are a brilliant man.

I hadn't looked at it that way before. Which is scary, because that's exactly how I would expect myself to look at it.

When people asked what I'm doing with my money (and no one does, because I have so little) I could simply say, "I've moved some of it into steel."

The Old Bag said...

Smart man, Kevin!

Or, if you've got a framebuilder in the area, an old steel mtn or road bicycle (garage sale!) can be retrofitted with couplers.

I had that done with an old road ride...if I remember right, the cost several years ago was around $600. I don't remember if that included the travel case.

The end result is check-through luggage. I've never once been asked about what's inside the case, nor have I paid any extra charges for it.

Kevin T said...

Yeah, you got it...commodities, hard assets. Growth equities were fine in the '90s, but you're really focusing on value right now. Start throwing words like that around at the next cocktail party (Frigid Bits). You'll impress everyone w/ your market savvy.

OK, so I've been thinking. So far this, is all only theory. Not like Graham & Dodd, of course. More like Mandelbrot I guess. But now you've got to put it into practice; you have to make it real in order to test your hypothesis. Therefore, not only do I urge you to make an immediate allocation to base metals, but shortly after the funds transfer, you're going to have to take another vacation to see just how well your new investment rolls.

I hope you're convinced by now. Give us a full report! Make Warren Buffet proud!

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Anonymous said...

Owning two bike fridays, a qtandem (converts to a single), and a nwt, I'd have to say, get a folder. They are great for travel, and the nwt unfolds ready to ride out of the suitcase in about 3 minutes, another 5 minutes and the suitcase is a trailer with my other bags in it and I'm riding away from train or plane.

that is hard for even the surly to compete with, and no flight charges.

Anonymous said...

If in doubt, buy !
Always a good maxim if its about bikes. I started out on this winter project (just a re-srpay - use the old bits) but its come back so shiney I need new bits.
And I had to be quick - Shimano prices in UK are rocketing !

And then I had another brainwave. What if I used the tax-free bicycle leasing scheme here in UK to get myself a Brompton folder, for all my "business" trips ?

I need a bigger garage.