The great thing about running and cycling is that once you’ve bought the basic equipment it costs you almost nothing to train. Although my Trek 7.3 bike was priced at £350, the cycle to work scheme meant it only cost me about £200 with the payments spread evenly over a year. I could’ve blown that money on a couple of months commuting by tram so clearly that piece of kit has more than paid for itself. I’m still wearing the same Asics running shoes I bought 7 years ago which cost about £60. It seems that fashionable sports footwear costs much more than the entry level technical stuff. My recent sprint triathlon didn’t require me to buy any kit because the swim was in a pool but preparing for open water swimming is where the costs start to accrue and if the word ‘tri’ is attached to any piece of kit its price seems to double. It would appear to be a rich man’s sport and I have a budget to keep to.
Last year Catriona took out a year’s membership to a local gym which initially she got good value from as she could take each of the kids swimming once a week on different days as well as working out alone. When study and then a job came along there was no longer the time to train. She now runs a couple of times a week instead. My start-up budget for all my needs is £500 that a year’s gym membership would be, I’m also going to be sending a very detailed and precise letter to Father Christmas as my shopping list includes the following:
Blue Seventy wet suit
Respectable road bike – carbon forks would be nice
Garmin GPS watch
Shoes and SPD SL pedals
Open water goggles
Okay I admit there are a couple of things in there that I want rather than need. The Garmin would be nice and the Forerunner 310 XT watch I was eyeing up in Tri Central complete with waterproof heart-sensor (and apparently it would have been ludicrous of me to exclude this ‘essential’ bit of kit from my shopping list) costs £315. I have decided that combining the functions GPS with watch and ‘waterproofness’ is not financially viable in my household. So I bought a £9 waterproof Casio from Argos at the weekend and will look to buy a 305 Forerunner GPS Garmin watch as there are American reconditioned units available for around £100 on e-bay and I can buy a heart monitor to add on later if I start worrying about it’s perfomance. However there are things I need ahead of what I want.
Initially looking to spend around £250 on a road bike I have been encouraged by my wife to up my budget because it seems that these bikes hold their value. I’m still looking second hand rather than new because it looks like if I spend £400 or more I can pick up something with some carbon on it that would normally cost £1000. I would hope to pick up a 1 season old wetsuit from e-bay for about £80 – under half its original price. The Turbo trainer can only be justified when I am required to do distances on the bike that the weather might prevent ie if I go on to train for Olympic distance in 2011 which looks increasingly likely as the tri bug bites.
I recently picked up a pair of returned SPD pedals from Halfords that I can fit to existing cycling shoes for £5 though ultimately shiny new laceless shoes and SPD SLs would be ‘needed’ on the pretty new roadbike. I was, however, able to remove ‘tri-suit’ from my shopping list today after a lunchtime visits to Tri Central. I used to my 5% Sage discount for the first time to buy a new (but 2008 design) £125 trisuit for the princely sum of £9.50. What a bargain eh!