Monday, October 17, 2011

Cool Bike Stuff is Really Expensive

My New Gloves, My Big Splurge
I think that had I been in a bike shop before I started riding, I probably would not have started.

I went out to bike store to buy gloves for riding and thought I would browse the gear and new bikes and refine my wish list.  I have no good reason for wanting a new bike but that I am an american consumer and my bike is really old. I do have a really good reason for wanting some bike accessories, especially the bags that will help me transport all the stuff a toddler and a mom needs to get through the day.

I knew that this bike stuff was expensive but I was not prepared for how much things cost.  Wow.  It was pretty intimidating. I saw a green bike that I liked, I just thought it looked cool, it cost over $1,000. I did not even look close enough to see what it was all about, like if it was a street bike or racing bike or any of that stuff. I looked at a bike on the sale rack.  It was about $800.00 off but it still cost over $3000.00. It looked pretty fancy, more then I would need but I have to admit I was not prepared to see that price tag.

If I had a bike that cost that much, I am not sure how comfortable I would be leaving on the street.  I would be much more worried about it being stolen and that would take some of the fun out of biking.

I confirmed that the bags that I need (want) to transport stuff are about $165.00 plus the tax will cost me almost $200.00.  I am glad I was able to salvage the rack that the bag attach to, that rack costs about $60.00 new.  That $260.00 just for the rack and the bags and if you add a cheap bike lock you have dropped $300.00 and you do not have a bike.

I left the store with bike gloves.  They were $36.00 and I have a 30% off coupon.  I am glad I have the gloves and I am sure if I had the bags my riding would be easier and I would be happy I had them. I do not want to buy them and it would be very had to part with $200.00 in exchange for sacks to carry stuff.  I admit, nice sacks that are well made but still sacks.

To follow up, I look around on the internet and found bag for about 60.00 at Target.  Not as cool as the 200.00 set-up but I am not trying to prove anything here.  I also think it is worth looking for used stuff.


  1. If you ride every day, you can justify a set of bags that will get your stuff to and from work dry. Ortlieb guarantees them for 5 years, so $185/(5years X 50 weeks x 5 days) works out to $.14/day which is worth it to me.

    Remember a cheap man pays the most.

  2. I like how you think! I want the cool gear not the cheap gear.

  3. Some expensive gear is perfect, some is just expensive. For instance, around here, I recommend simple wool gloves for most riding. Fingerless are $7 and fingered are $9. Once they get wet, you just wring them out and put them back on. I'm also a fan of used wool sweaters as they work when wet, are comfortable through a wide range of weather, and you can get them second hand for $5-10.

    I've made the mistake of buying cheaper or kludgy stuff and then learning my lesson when my wife needs the same things for her commute. I generally get her the right stuff and then sheepishly replace my not quite working stuff later. That is much more expensive. The Ortlieb bags really are all that and more. the best part about a bag is that you will be able to carry a blanket to throw over the Ibert and child to ride in colder weather. Choose the color you really, really want too.

    See you out there on the roads!

  4. Thanks Brad, Sounds like the Ortlieb bags would be a good "investment". I tend to like super cool, top of the line stuff and I need to keep myself in check and make sure I do not go over the top. I don't want this bike hobby to become a shopping hobby. It is important that I buy items that are appropriate to what I do and watch out for stuff meant for pro-cyclists and hard-core cyclists. Transporting stuff has been a bit of a hassle and it will be nice when I have that figured out.

  5. Wool is a good suggestion - then add a light wind-and-rain-resistant layer. You might try Freecycle for good used gear (even though more and more people are riding bikes, there are still people around who give up and want to unload great gear).. And while you're saving up for the Ortlieb bags, go ahead and mount that milk crate on your bike. You can always wrap that blanket in a plastic bag.

  6. Thanks, I'll check out Freecycle. I bought a used bag and it was in great condition but only 10.00 less then a new bag!

  7. Some Portland folks advocate attaching a 5-gallon plastic bucket to your bike. It is quite cheap and effective. Bike Buckets, they call them.