Picking up the Tab

the tab

The fall rut is upon us. With the scent of Eurobike still fresh in the air and Interbike peeking out from the desert scrub and slot machines, the annual cycle of bike lust is nearing it's zenith. Can you feel it... it's the quickening McCloud.

To put this in perspective, or perhaps to demonstrate how totally lacking in perspective the lust makes us, you'll find a new section on the site called The Tab. The Tab is a running total of my cycling purchases since my January 2007 relapse. Some will see it as a return to madness and folly. Others a sign of hope in gloomy economic times... surely we can spend our way out of this economic downturn, can't we?

I expect cycling scientists will pour over the list in search of rare subatomic particles like the peloton, clipon, and elusive brazeon that explain this massive burst of activity. Believers will find salvation at the carbon alter and comfort in the gentle presence of Sportwool.

There's no doubt I've got it bad, but this is relatively innocent fun. The mortgage still gets paid, the fridge is full and there's room for charity too after picking up the tab.

WARNING: If you have credit card debt, wear a helmet mirror or suffer from a carbon-deficient skin condition you're advised NOT to visit this page.

16 Responses to Picking up the Tab

  1. sam says:

    ouch. major ouch. but like you said, it is what it is. i’ve just picked up my first dSLR and i can already foresee the expenses mounting as i get more experience…

  2. Tim says:

    Made me smile. My problem is that I also started this cycling fixation a couple of years ago and lose track of how much all the stuff costs, so this is quite an eye-opener (yes, I now have 4 bikes, including a very nice Colnago, and more Rapha gear than I would own up to).

    I now dedicate much of my (non-working) life to cycling and photography, so very much enjoy your blog. Just ordered a Pany Lumix LX3 to tuck into my rear pocket for those bike ‘moments’. The Bob Jackson fixie is finished (gorgeous – my winter training ‘hack’), and now I’ve just seen the new Bianchi Dolomiti (Oh my God!).

    Obsessive? Moi? Nah……

    Keep spending, that way I can look like I’m being sensible ;-)

  3. The first three comments are perfect guys:

    Simon needs only two words.

    Sam introduces another vice into the mix, and…

    Tim cops to both. The LX3 sounds like a winner. Pics of the Bob Jackson?

    Inspired, I’ll keep the ticker moving.

  4. BR says:

    That’s pennies on the dollar vs an extended stay in the hospital Let’s have a party when you hit $50k! :-)

  5. Nico says:

    Interesting that the more stars, the more expensive the items seem to be.

  6. Jeff Williams says:

    I was surprised on how little you spent on, or kept track of, nutrition. That’s one of my bigger expenses throughout the year.
    So when are you going to “invest” in a power meter? ;)

  7. Nico,

    I’ve got a few more stars to sprinkle around tonight, but I won’t be surprised if the correlation holds. Damn those guys at Rapha.


    You had to bring it up ;-) If I wasn’t so adamant about having a single device on the handlebars and so disappointed in Garmin, I’d make the “investment” and train with power (it is inevitable). I do like the sound of Quarq’s pending Qranium computer because I’ve got access to one or two Unix developers at work that could help the open source effort.

    I never thought of adding all the bars, gels, vitamins etc. I’m sure that would significantly move the needle. I’ll start adding those purchases as they come up. Thanks for looking in with a sense of humor.

  8. Tim sent me a few pictures of his Bob Jackson fixie. Very classy. Love that Miche seatpost and its cut aways.

  9. Andy says:


    I have the same proclivities to want the latest and greatest and my biking gear is way too good for my abilities, but $38 large! Wow…

    Here’s an idea for some of that money that may not increase you pedaling power, but will increase your heart power:-)

    Project Rwanda – http://www.projectrwanda.org

  10. Rich says:

    Wonderful stuff. It’s like the cycling equivalent of an AA confession: my name is X and I’m a veloholic.

    To the uninitiated into the rites of cycling passage, it must seem like an obscene amount of money to lavish on ‘bikes’. But it’s more than that isn’t it? As noted, the benefits of cycling run far greater than the sum of these parts. Putting aside the obvious health benefits, cycling represents (to me anyways) FREEDOM. In all that the word encompasses – freedom to express yourself with the purchases you make. Freedom to make mistakes. And the literal sense of freedom once you’re out there turning the pedals.

    This list represents to me more than a kit list, a shopping list – a ‘look at what I’ve spent my money on’ list. It represents the price that a gentleman is willing to pay for his own sense of freedom. And to my mind at least, the total seems very small on that basis.

    I’ve been riding road bikes since I was twelve years old – I dread to think how much I’ve racked up over the years? But I tell you one thing, it’s been worth every single penny.

    And now that the new fall/winter Rapha kit’s been unveiled….

  11. Andy,

    Thank you for the link to Project Rwanda… I’ve read about it before, but I’ll spend a little more time on the site and see if I can help with a donation. I just watched an episode of “The Long Way Down” where Charley and Ewan were riding through Rwanda, so it was timely.


  12. Rich,

    Beautifully put, and I’d add one more thing that I haven’t mentioned. For all the complaints about the insular attitudes of road cyclists, I’ve acquired an incredible circle of friends through cycling and writing about it at Velodramatic. Perhaps the biggest reward has been rekindling my friend Brendan’s love for the bike. He rode and raced seriously as a young guy, and it’s been great riding with him and seeing how much it means to him the second time around.

    I want to say your Nelson Velo site is beautiful designed. I was under the covers immediately noting your use of position:fixed. All the nutritional goodness of frames without the calories ;-) I think you need to add some photography. I wanted to see some pictures of the rides immediately.

    While we’re talking about the intersection of design and cycling, check out Simon Clayson’s (he commented above) Cent Col Challenge site. A nice piece of work and a fabulous concept. I don’t think my legs could handle it (yet) but what a trip that would be.


  13. Rich says:

    See? Your first paragraph once again reaffirms that cycling for its own sake, the friendships you collect, the memories and the passions that burn down deep are what it’s all about. Cycling’s more than a mere hobby or something you ‘do’. It’s something you LIVE. As a wise man once said: “I am not an enthusiast, or a commuter, or a racer, or a builder. I am a cyclist.” Not many people get that. But it’s true.

    Can’t see the Cent Col Challenge link (just refreshes this page – might just be me).

    And er, thanks for the kind word about Nelson Velo – nice to hear you’ve been under the covers too. I think :). It only took a day to conceive and build – now almost a year on I’m all too aware of its shortcomings. Not least in the glaring lack of photography. I’ve got a growing list of to do’s for the inevitable redesign – but honestly, I doubt anyone beyond you and me have ever looked in on it.

    I’d really like to get the time for designing a set of route cards with elevation gain – Rapha Continental style – given that there’s hardly a flat road in these parts, it should prove interesting. And as you’re a gentleman that loves to climb; if you’re ever cycling in this part of the world, give me knock and we’ll go up (and up) for a few hours.

  14. Rich,

    fixed the Cent Cols Challenge link. Thanks for the invite, which reminds me to renew my expired Canadian passport.

  15. Daniel Wakefield Palsey says:

    OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. OMFG. And I was feeling sorry for myself about my film costs. Why did you ‘do the math’. You never, ever ‘DO THE MATH’.