How Cycling is Changing My Finances & My Life…

28 07 2008

Photo courtesy of .kol tregaskes

I’ll be turning 30 in September, and I wanted to do something monumental to celebrate. I was looking for a personal challenge that would both push me and reward me on a number of levels. Somehow cycling has become that challenge for me.

A few years ago when my wife first moved into her condo, we saw 2 mountain bikes (male and female) next to the dumpster with a note on them that read: “Free Bikes, only about 100 miles worth of use … Enjoy!” So we looked around to make sure this wasn’t some sort of setup, and then wheeled them bad boys inside before the person changed their mind! lol

The bikes sat, the tires got flat, and we never ended up riding them until last month.

Around the same time a co-worker of mine who also lives close by, told me how he bikes in to work once or twice a week. He said the health benefits from it made him feel brand new, and that by doing so he saves about $30 in gas per week. ($$Ca-ching$$)

After hearing that, I was sold on the idea… but he went on to explain that it takes him 1 hour and 45 mins. to get to work, and that’s just ONE WAY! Also it’s about 26 miles from Leesburg to Tyson’s Corner… or the distance of a marathon!

Like I said I was already sold on the idea because gas ain’t cheap and $30 a week equals $120 a month that can go towards debt… That’s a no brainer for a Gazelle Intense dude like myself right?

Yeah, I was sold alright, that is until I got out on the WO&D Trail for the first time. I was overdressed, poorly hydrated, and over-confident. It took me about an hour to go 5 miles my first time out. but it taught me a lesson in preparation. (Click the link to read my wife’s excellent article on it) The next time out it took me 30 mins. but it taught me how to efficiently use my gearshift. Each time out I kept learning something new and adding it to my routine and now I can do that same 5 miles in about 15 mins. But while these time improvements were great for a 5 mile distance, they accounted for roughly 10% of the total distance to my goal.

See, It’s great to have short-term goals, but it’s important to keep in mind how well they are helping you meet your expected goal. This is particularly important to keep in mind when dealing with finances. Yes, it’s hard to stop living in the moment and focusing on what this week’s check will do for you this week. But at some point I hope you’ll ask your self “What do I need to do so that one day I won’t need to worry about next week’s check being short?” or ” When do I want to stop working for my income?” or “When do I want to start saving for my future, retirement, children, or business?”.

Short-term goals are great. But they’re called ‘short-term’ for a reason. They are meant to lead to a larger success, and they provide you with the momentum and confidence to do so.

Yesterday, I reached my goal in cycling, I made it all the way to my job in 1 hour and 40 mins. And I achieved this a full month before my birthday! Yes it’s a great feat and I’m proud of what I accomplished. But it has now forced my long-term goal to change. See I didn’t take into account that once I made it to my goal, I would also have to cycle all the way back home the same day.(I barely had enough energy to make TO my goal lol. You mean to tell me I gotta go BACK?!) So now my next challenge is to be able to make it to work and back home in decent time! But at least all it costs me is a FREE gallon of water per round trip instead of $4 per gallon of gas to drive!

Happy Trails!


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