By Jon Muellner
SIR rider Jon Muellner takes a bottom line look at his costs for the season.
First off, I am no financial expert. I very much enjoy cycling and I don't fret a whole lot about spending money for it. I don't spend much on gear, and most of my riding has been done on a used 1999 Heron Road. As this year was my first full series since 2003 due to injuries, I decided to take a closer look at what the cost of randonneuring was.
One thing that stands out is that compared to other sports I do like skiing, randonneuring is relatively inexpensive, especially when you consider the number of kilometers traveled both in events and training. My figures don't include rides outside of brevets, so the cost per kilometer is higher, but will give some sense of what to expect in participating in this sport. Because I live some distance and a ferry ride away from many of SIR's brevets, my costs are higher than for someone living close by with the ability to ride their bike or carpool to the starts. I was fortunate this year that most brevets did not require a ferry ride or long drive. I also added a Flèche and a NW Crank 4 day ride camp to my calendar this year as well.
A quick summary of my 2006 Super Randonneur Series (200, 300, 400, 600 km) total shows I spent $257.50 and averaged about $.17 per kilometer. With the addition of a Flèche , that increased to $344.11 and averaged about $.18 per kilometer.
The chart on this page is an example of how I recorded my costs.
In the example, the brevet fee of $15 is all you'd need if you
brought your own food, rode to the start and didn't buy a medal. That's a
pretty inexpensive day of fun! Realistically though, this can work for
shorter brevets close to home, but a few factors affect my costs beyond
a) living at least 35-100 miles from most starts;
b) medals for one complete SR set each four-year PBP period;
c) I like to eat and support the businesses along our routes.
Here are a few other considerations:
- Riding to events would save fuel costs but increase time away from
work (lost income) and add food expenses.
- No other randonneurs nearby to carpool with.
- Locations where there are no ferries would not incur that cost.
- Bringing some food from home offsets costs on route.
- Lodging costs offset by camping for remote starts.
- No magic elixirs, mostly store/cafe food.
- Fuel based on 20 mpg at $3/gallon.
To date, if I include the SR Series, Flèche , NW Crank camp, membership to RUSA and SIR, my total cost was $671.81 with 2375 km ridden and averaging $.28 per kilometer.
Excluded from this are extra costs for equipment, clothing, massage, physical therapy, auto repair, etc. and those things which vary greatly each season. Because I would ride whether or not I was a randonneur, I leave these out.
In conclusion, it seems that randonneuring is worth every penny in terms of health, the ability to explore so many areas around the region by bike, and of course, the social element where I get to spend a few days with some of my favorite people at Seattle International Randonneurs. What more could one ask for?
I have posted my entire 2006 budget on my Web site. The address is: http://www.mile43.com/cycling/budget.
John Muellner, RUSA #1082, lives in Port Townsend, WA and is a member of Seattle International Randonneurs.