If your like most amateur racers and recreational cyclists you do not have an unlimited budget. I have learned a few things from teammates, friends and those that I coach on how to save money on cycling. Below I have listed a number of ways you can save.
If you need kit to train in and don’t have the big bucks check to see if any of the local teams have any kit left over at the end of the year. Most teams need to unload this older kit because of a change in sponsorship. Be warned that if you plan on racing you may not wear any kit with advertising on it if you do not race for the team on the jersey or bibs. If you show up with a pro kit or a local team kit and expect to race as a citizen in any USA cycling race you may be asked to go change into a jersey and bibs/shorts with zero advertising.
If you are trying to move up a category and are already a category 4 racer you might consider racing twice at the races. Once in a cat 4/5 and once in the cat 3/4. Race promoters will often give big discounts for signing up to race in multiple races in same day. Just remember doubling up races requires that you have been training to do so.
Volunteer at a race or event and you might get to race or ride for free. Ask first just don’t expect it to happen. I also think all amateur racers should volunteer for a few races a year. You will develop a much greater respect for officials, timers and what race promoters go through.
First and foremost it is cheaper to buy a new bike with the components you can afford. A bike is more than a frame and it’s graphics, its about the components. Many a cyclists have been lured into believing that they can purchase a frame and fork and build up their bike and it be cheaper than buying a bike already built. Don’t get me wrong, building a bike can be a fun project but it will cost more than buying one already built. If you are going to build a bike look at last year’s components by checking with your local bicycle shop to see if they have any older inventory.
This maybe your biggest expense. Fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats do not come cheap. There is almost no getting around this, good food and food that is good for us is going to be spendy. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season where you live and you will save big bucks. You can also buy from the farmers market or join a co-op.
There are many cyclists who balk at lifting weights and cross training any time of the year. Their loss is your gain. The best time of the year to join a gym is not in the winter it is June-August when membership is at an all time low. If the gym doesn’t offer you a discount or waive sign up fees this time of the year go find a new gym that will.
Buy the bike you want even cheaper
You might be surprised to find out that you don’t have to pay $5,000 or even $10,000 for your dream bike. If you are willing to compromise you will be surprised at the savings. Contact your local bike shop and let them know what bike you are interested in and ask if they can get last year’s model. Typically manufacturers will have excess inventory from the previous season and will cut the owners of LBS a big discount just so they can make room. Unfortunately for us cyclists manufacturers are catching on to this and getting better organized in how they manage their stocks. If you are someone who rides small or large or even extra large frame-sets your chances of scoring a better deal are even stronger. Those of us who ride medium to large sized frames need to by last year’s stock as soon as the new models ship because these sizes will go the fastest.
Have a great ride.