With one more EWS round to go, the offseason is almost upon us. Get ready for a bombardment of advertising, trade shows and constant articles about the latest stuff you NEED to buy to get out more and ride more. Really it just means, this is the stuff we the industry need you to buy to keep the gears turning.
I know Eurobike already happened and the slew of things to appear was mind boggling. So many new products and an inane amount of marketing tidbits being shown for purchase was mezmerizing. Nothing makes your old stuff feel unwanted or inadequate faster than looking at that new shinning thing with it’s new bells and whistles. That new model in its pristine store condition, that makes you now not want your old model. But we must break that spell; wants and needs are very different. Yet we keep mushing them together to the point where they are impossible to differentiate.
My social media profiles and feeds have already begun flourishing all over. A marketing spring preparing itself for a long shopping season. I’m seeing adverts to help them move 2017 inventory and at the same time taking pre-orders for 2018 bikes. So, do we really need a new bike? Have they really changed that much? I’m still riding my almost 4 year old bike and despite it not having a 1-2º head angle change and boost. It still works and rides perfectly. Trails remain the same and are not altered to where I can’t ride them. If anything, knowing my bike better and riding more, I’ve been riding trails faster and smoother.
Use Things, Buying Does not Always Correlate to Using
Have you ever noticed that those that are first in line to purchase, or trade up yearly are rarely those that use said things often or hard. To keep an appearance of being, they will spend a ton of money. Always changing, always upgrading to be in line with their new perceived higher status. That’s the market for all these trade shows.
Then there are those that ignore the pressure to constantly buy new. You see them every weekend, year after year, riding it out with what they have. So rare, that when they actually do change, it causes awe and congratulations.
I have accepted that my current level won’t improve from buying new stuff. Buying stuff also won’t make me get out more, I get myself out more. Rampant purchasing will only bring new stuff I don’t need and don’t have space for; pushing old stuff I’ll need to sell or move out. This past week my hanger broke and I did a full bike check up. Diagnosis: New derailleur hanger, shifter cable and chain. That’s it, my bike is complete for 2017 and 2018.
“If you claim to be a simple minimalist cyclist don’t you still have lust for other bikes? Do you still wish for that wonder bike? Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to want and still actually need to buy stuff?”
I still do and will always look at bikes and gear, and will always fall in love with a whole myriad of them. Be it a small company doing its own thing, or a big box company with a finely tuned race machine. I look at and obsess over them all the time. And that’s fine, it’s part of being a nerdy cyclist. However, I’m perfectly content with what I have. I fulfill my needs and add no stress with new stuff.
Now falling in love with a bike, doesn’t mean I’m going to go and drop all my year’s savings into another new bike. Acquire a hefty debt and miss out on trips, rides and vacations. Even worse, having to work extra to pay it off and miss out on riding while the new bike sits there passively eating away at my time and income. I’d rather hold on to my current bike, do small cost but large value upgrades when needed. Intelligent purchases to keep up with were my riding is going and not where the market and standards are going.
And I’m not advocating towards never buying, or never upgrading. I’m also not some retro-grouch that says everything good was done years ago and we’re all just rehashing. All I’m saying is, be smart with your upgrades and purchases, we really don’t need all that much. Unchecked consumerism isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, a fool and his money are soon parted.
Break the spell, use your stuff!