Financial Independence · saving

How cycling will help you reach Financial Independence faster

Hobby’s can have a bigger influence then you think about Financial independence. Remember every euro you spend is a euro less you can invest. I have done a dozen of different hobby’s in my life, sailing, surfing, horse riding, scuba – diving, running, swimming, .. and the list goes on. Until I knew FIRE I never really tried to balance the fun it gave me with the cost. If two hobbys give you the same amount of fun then why would you not go for the cheapest hobby?

What do hobby’s cost?

I do not think you should hold back with spending of your favorite hobby. Even if you chose a more expensive hobby. I do think you should control yourself on spending a lot of money on different hobby’s. Generally hobby’s become cheaper the more time you spend doing them. In the initial stage you will usually spend a lot of money on classes and rent of materials. Once you both have the knowledge to do your hobby and the equipment then things will become a lot cheaper for you and things will come down more to maintenance cost.

At the top of the class we have the most expensive hobbys. Yacht sailing for example. Once you passed trough the training lessons it can cost a few 10.000’s to get your own Yacht. Flying airplanes or Hot Air Baloons fall in the same category. You could of course limit yourself to taking classes and renting equipment. But if you plan to do that every week it could get expensive fast.

In the middle class we have hobby’s horseback riding, diving and sailing smaller boats. Even a smaller boat like a laser can cost 5000 EUR to get it. Additionally you need room to store your boat. The same goes for a horse, the costs of a horse are similar to a small boat, but you will pay a bigger maintenance cost. It needs much more room then a boat and of course you need to feed it every day, costing easily a few 100’s per month. The equipment of a diver is not so expensive. You probably have a full kit for 2000-3000 EUR. But you will still spend a lot on gas or travelling to go diving in your country or abroad.

In the lower end we have hobby’s like cycling, walking, swimming, running, playing board games, gaming, dancing, … These usually have a low startup cost, and do not need much maintenance. Probably you can budget less then 100 EUR per month for these and that should be enough.

Why I chose cycling as my main hobby

I got into cycling rather by accident. My sister let me ride her mountainbike and I really liked the way it drove. At some point she convinced me to get my own and I participated in my first tour. The tour was organised, costed about 5 EUR to join, and was about 30 KM. During the tour we met two checkpoints where we could eat and drink all the snacks we wanted. There was signs put up everywhere along the road to make it easy for cyclists to follow the road. I loved the landscapes, nature and I was incredibly surprised of the value for money I was getting here.

It was actually a very painful 30KM, especially the last 10. I was not prepared at all, my tires were at 1 BAR (recommended is 2,5-4 BAR), and I had a big backpack holding some extra drinks and equipment. This made my first ride quite a challenge in terms of effort. But I was happy, I loved it and I had finally found a hobby that I liked and was surprised how affordable it was.

How much does cycling cost?

Just to be specific, the type of cycling I am doing is mountainbiking. I started one year ago with a beginners bicycle I bought at the decathlon. It costed 300 EUR. Of course the type of bicycle is important for your speed, you will go faster with a lighter bicycle, but I do not have that much trouble to keep up with friends or colleagues, in fact at this point I can out-cycle even some of them with a more expensive mountain-bike. At the start of your cycling career getting condition is actually the most important.

My Mountainbike that I purchased for 300 EUR

After you get the cycle I recommend to also got the following:

  • Some kind of membership or subscription. I got myself a membership at Cycling Vlaanderen for 30 EUR. Apart from slightly cheaper tour costs they will also recover you if you have an issue with your bicycle
  • An extra spare inner tire (3,5 EUR) + pins to help you change the tire (about 1 EUR)
  • A holder for my phone, this way I didn’t had to buy a GPS (20 EUR), and I could do tours by myself
  • Extra Power-bank (20 EUR): I needed this to recharge my phone for rides over 55KM
  • Wireless Earplugs for music (30 EUR)
  • A bag for extra gear I can tie to my bicycle (10 EUR)
  • Watterbottle (10 EUR)
  • Helmet (30 EUR)
  • Sunglasses and Rain-glasses(35 EUR)
  • Click-pedals and click-shoes are needed for winter and steep trails in summer (100 EUR)
  • Summer clothing (50 EUR): short trousers, shirt
  • Winter Clothing (200-250 EUR): jacket, long trousers, shoe protectors, gloves, light warm sweater
  • Organised tours cost about 5 EUR each, I do about two per month. The advantage is you get free snacks (all you can eat!) on the tour so you almost save money by participating. Often I also get a free sandwich, fries or a beer after the tour.
  • Powerbars + Energy sugar to mix with water

So year one to startup / total costs was about 1000 EUR. It seems a lot but I did not buy everything at once. If you start in summer you can just start with 500 EUR, and the rest of the year you can slowly build up your gear. Year two will be a lot cheaper since by now I have most of my gear (of course there will be a maintenance cost), which goes back to my first point that every hobby has a startup cost.

With this gear I am able to cycle by myself for long distances in both summer and winter, up to 80 km per trip so far, so for a beginner its really enough.

I estimate I will spend about 400 EUR in year two. 100 EUR for maintenance on the bicycle (I try to do most myself but I cant do everything), 30 EUR for a membership fee, 150 EUR for entries for tours and events, 70 EUR for food (powerbars), and 100 EUR for new clothes if required. I might need to set some extra aside as well for a new bicycle at some point.

One more point. I also really LOVE to cycle in nature. So apart from choosing a cheap hobby I am also happy to have found something I really enjoy.

Additionally I can save some parking costs because I more often take the bicycle to meet with friends, you might save on health costs in the long run and if there is a lockdown you can still visit family and friends 😉

And why not consider replacing the car by cycling all along? Right now thats one step to far for me, but its good I will have the ability and the condition to do this if it would be needed at some point.

Let me know what hobby you do!

So what hobby did you chose? Do you know what it costs you? Please let me know bellow in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe 😉

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