by Kristin Butcher
As anyone who’s ever weaved back and forth down an empty neighborhood road on a rusty old cruiser can attest, you don’t need to spend a lot of money?or any, for that matter?to have fun on a bike. But that doesn’t stop us from upgrading to the newest carbon-digital wunderthings (even though our current wunderthings are just fine), buying a meticulously constructed wool-lined rain shell when a thrift store sweater and cheap slicker would suffice, adding a third bike when two would do, or even buying chainring clocks and penny-farthing pizza cutters.
Whether you?re justifying a five-dollar hamburger bell, state-of-the-art steed, cross-country bike tour or a handcrafted organic leather saddle sewn by hipsters and signed by Bob Roll, here are five ways to explain away almost any bike related purchase:
?It’s an investment in my health.?
Anything that makes hopping on a bicycle more appealing is an investment in your future health and happiness. It might be the bike that makes you feel Tour de France-fast?even as you ride ?maybe-that-third-hotdog-was-a-bad-idea?-slow?or just a steel fork turned toilet paper holder that starts your day with a smile you carry through your early morning bike commute. It always pays to indulge in good health.
A fella with a penchant for slowly cruising on the fanciest bikes he could find always had the same response when questioned why his high zoot scoot hung closer to the back of the pack than the front: ?My bike doesn’t reflect how good of a biker I am,? he would say. ?It reflects how good of a lawyer I am.? People express themselves through their things; we always have. And you won?t find a nobler vehicle for self-expression than the bicycle.
Sometimes, the enjoyment that comes from saving and sacrificing for a hard-earned splurge is its own excuse. Pack your lunch, clip coupons, become a thrift store devotee, and feel good about getting your priorities right as you turn hoarded cash into a beautiful bicycle loot.
Riding bikes for pleasure or purpose is great for the mind, body, wallet and planet. You are one more person on a bike and if that new pair of spandex faux-denim jorts keeps you riding, then that’s a good thing. Buying those jorts from a company that supports the bicycling movement helps create better bicycling experiences for all. Using those jorts to ride for charity helps those in need through bicycling. And just like that, the benefit of those stonewashed shorts you bought on a whim becomes exponential. Just don’t try telling that to the person stuck behind you.
If you have absolutely no interest in defending your purchase, you can always resort to this no-questions-asked excuse. In the oft-garish context of matrimonial gifting, people don’t flinch at bedazzled cheese shredders, edible sheets, matching cruisers, or even salt and pepper shakers made out of titanium bicycle hubs. If you?ve never been married or are trying to excuse a purchase to your current mate, you obviously have no choice but to go with the long con and make up a fictional ex-spouse, complete with pretend in-laws and photoshopped honeymoon pictures. If this sounds too crazy for you, there’s always the alternative: Stand up and proudly state, ?I bought this four-season cycling cape because I wanted it!?
Kristin Butcher is a freelance writer based out of Boulder, Colorado, she spends her time writing about people, the outdoors and, of course, bikes. You can read her column, Butcher Paper, in BIKE Magazine.