Cycling Purchases vs. Cycling Time
2019 was a year of much travel. Roughly 3 months that year were spent in hotels, and both airline and hotel loyalty cards were maxed out. When you live in a hotel or on a plane, your cycling time is reduced, but another effect could be seen: cycling-related purchases increase significantly.
You spend a lot of time before SARS-CoV-19 hit trying to understand why you were collecting bike related components and making changes to perfectly great bikes while riding a lot less. As soon as the global pandemic hit, countries restricted travel, and you stopped flying non-stop, your cycling-related purchases came to an almost grinding halt. Of course, here and there you still need the odd replacement tube or a USB light, but your cycling-related spending quickly approached zero and time in the saddle increased significantly.
Why is it the case that when you cycle less, you spend more money on bikes and when you actually ride your bike, your spending goes down?
The obvious answer is The Internet. Jokes aside, buying cycling gear has become a very easy itch to scratch. It can be done from anywhere with a few clicks of the mouse. When are travel, when you spend a lot of time in an office or hotel, trying to stay connected with the cycling world means that you inevitably find things that look interesting. ECommerce now makes it almost too easy, frictionless if you will, to satisfy that hunger to be connected to the the bike. So you click. The box arrives often before you do and is waiting for you. But how long do you take to install or use your purchases?
This is when you realize that frictionless is not always the best strategy for a healthy bank account. Adding some friction actually makes you think about your spending and will eventually get you more time on the bike than in the workshop. In fact, the goal for cycling should be to spend more time riding the bike than working on the bike (which inevitably follows once you buy some bike components).
And honestly, your bikes are fine. As long as it rolls and you can ride it, you should prioritize riding over buying. Add friction by sitting on the saddle, two hands on the handlebar, pedals pushed up and down and let the wind blow through. This is a form of friction since with two hands on the handlebar, you can not type and click “Buy Now”.