Poor Michael’s Almanac: By Michael Courteau

Two months ago, I wrote about the itch we cyclists feel each spring when last season’s bike no longer shines quite as brightly and we begin to turn our gaze toward glossier frames.

That was so eight weeks ago.

Spring inevitably turns to summer, well, allegedly in this climate, and, if we wait long enough, our cycle envy evolves into a more mature emotional assessment of our wants and needs—the intersection where our desire to buy a new bicycle meets our fiscal reality.

I had not even ridden my trusted Fuji yet this year when I wrote that post in March. Since then, I have had her out a few times anyway, and whatever perceived shortcomings she had in March do not seem quite as short now in April.

Alas, it is nearly May, and already my leisurely interests have started to diffuse across an array of activities. There’s that boat that I bought last spring. Oh yeah, and didn’t I split a 40-game package with a colleague so I could see more Twins games this year?

All of this musing reminds me of the writings of that great American inventor Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard had a thing or two to say about the follies of spending too much and saving too little.

In one of his essays, Franklin wrote about happening upon a speaker in the public square who was preaching the monetary wisdom of Poor Richard himself. Franklin, delighted to hear his own financial advice, decided to heed it. “However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it, and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer.”

If I were writing this article for a corporate mag, they would frown on this Franklin-esque frugality that I am espousing because advocating another season with the bike one already owns is not a winning formula for selling bikes or bike magazines.

Look, I’m not promising anything. Today’s parsimony can easily become tomorrow’s Pinarello. All it takes is a single weak moment of seeing a shiny new Italian carbon frame swish her tail in front of me before careening around a corner, and I’d be whipping out my credit card.

For now, today, at least, I plan to ride my trusty, aluminum-frame Fuji another summer. I certainly don’t need a new bike, just like I didn’t need that passel of baseball tickets or that Bayliner.

As Franklin wrote: “Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as
mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee.”

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