Ready to embark on this new triathlon journey I asked my dad to help me find a good starter bike. Over the course of two weekends we visited several bike shops across Miami and I spent a lot of time online reading articles, reviews and watching YouTube videos. My budget was in the high $1,000.00’s and low $2,000.00’s, so I knew I could not expect too much especially considering this was in late April of 2022 when bike prices were still through the roof and inventory was low.
My mind was initially stuck on Trek since that is what my dad had when I was growing up, but the ones the stores had were out of my price range. In the end, it was between a BMC (cannot remember the model, but I think it was $1,600.00), Specialized Allez Elite for $1,700.00, and the Cannondale CAAD13 for $2,300.00. I did a test ride with the Allez and the CAAD13 and as a novice I could not tell much of a difference between the two. I was so new to these nice road bikes with integrated shifters that I did not even know how to shift gears. The store associate kindly told me and probably laughed inside, that I had to push in on the lever right behind where the brakes are. All my previous experiences with bikes had those with simple thumb shifters. Anyways, I relied mostly on the many reviews I read and the consensus seemed to be that the CAAD13 which was equipped with Shimano 105 seemed to be the better bike out of the three.
I knew there was more to buy other than the bike, but looking back I did not understand just how many other things I needed just to get started with cycling, but with triathlons. Pedals do not even come included with the bike. I guess that is a precaution measure so you cannot just ride away from the store. Smart.
Next thing you know I am walking out with pedals, shoes, helmet, lights, saddle bag, bib … When asked about needing a jersey, I said no because at that point I was concerned about the bill and I knew my dad still had some old jerseys. So I stopped there.
I walked out of the store very excited to have my first proper bike, but I am not going to lie about second guessing a little bit how much I ended up spending. Total bill that day was $3,047.96 and that was just the start.
It was definitely much more than I was planning to spend, but grateful to be in a position to pursue this dream which I could not have done earlier. It made me realize how expensive of a sport triathlon is especially once you start adding traveling costs, entrance fees, upgrades, and more.
Throughout college I spent a lot of time and effort not only trying to minimize costs by becoming a Resident Assistant (free housing and meal plan), applying to as many scholarships as possible, working for the IT department, and completing several internships. Those funds that I was able to save were then invested into the stock market. From the day I turned 18 I have been continuously making contributions to my account.
During college I always had in my mind grades, debt, internships, certifications, saving and investing money. I even had doubts of whether I was good enough for a full time job.
With the purchase of the bike and the triathlon journey that I was starting to envision, I understood that life is not just about making more and more money because if you do not enjoy from it than what is the point? Being careful with my spending habits during college and investing early on helped me immensely. It was time to find a middle ground between enjoying life with the things I like to do while also pursuing my financial freedom goals.
Thankfully everything has turned out well for me so far and now it was time for the fun to begin.
A couple of weeks after buying the bike I was on my way to Barcelona, my childhood city, for a long awaited trip . More of that in my next blog.