If you’re a fellow cyclist and you’re anything like me, the computer systems at your local bike shop hold a store of personal information about you that, in the wrong hands, could bring you down.
Their habit of logging and recording every little (and not so little) transaction you’ve ever made would, if made known to your long suffering wife or partner, provide a damning evidence trail showing the true cost of your harmless little passion for the simple bicycle.
If revealed, the whole facade could tumble down quicker than an investment bank with a portfolio full of sub-prime mortgages in a difficult economic climate (if you’ll forgive the clumsy, but appropriate, metaphor).
As the old joke goes:
‘When I die, I hope my wife sells my bike collection for what it’s actually worth, rather than how much I told her it cost.’
Occasionally, the lad who works behind the counter at the shop will ask if you want to see the details of your account; a harmless and well-meaning piece of customer service which would reveal, in cold, hard numbers, just how much you’ve spent over the years.
He’s testing you, of course.
The answer to this question is, ‘Nooooooo! Never!’
In your mind, that mythical figure is high, but nowhere near as high as reality.
Shedding unnecessary light on this information is not going to help anyone.
It’s not so much the large items – the new jersey once a year, a pair of warm winter tights every other November, and a new helmet every five or five years – as the accumulated drip-drip that you hemorrhage on the month to month basics that you can’t do without; inner tubes, bike bottles, chain lube, energy gels and tricky repair jobs.
Basically, the stuff that feeds your habit.
Your partner, if my experience is anything to go by, is certainly no fool and understands that you have a close financial relationship with your bike shop, but has surely mentally under-estimated the frightening amount of money that you fritter away on this stuff.
If you’re anything like me, the truth might take some serious explaining.