When I was younger, I used to ride a bike – camping, rails-to-trails, around the neighborhood. Then I stopped, although I’m not sure why, or even when. Then, when I was 20, I decided I wanted to mix up my fitness regimen, so I got a bike. I figured it would work different muscles and all that jazz.
Yuck. What was I thinking? Since when did bike riding hurt so much? After maybe three rides, I put the bike away and forgot about it.
Fast forward 11 years. I meet a guy I think I want to date, except … he rides bikes. Thirty, forty, fifty miles on a bike, almost every weekend. (Luckily, I met him in the winter, when it was snowy and too cold to ride, so I had a chance to decide if he was worth the pain or not.)
It turns out he was worth the pain. So I got on a bike again. And of course, it hurt – because what would have changed in the last 11 years? But I’ve learned a lot in the five years we’ve been riding together. Such as that when you see those cyclists on the road (you know, the ones you hate because they’re slowing down traffic?) wearing those tight and painfully dorky outfits? They're not wearing them as a fashion statement – they’re wearing them because they make riding bikes hurt less.
Let me tell you: you get what you pay for it with those dorky clothes. That padding in the shorts is called a chamois, and the more you pay for it, the better your nether regions will feel after a ride. When I bought my first pair, I (against my then-boyfriend’s advice) chose a “cheap” pair – $69.99.
NOT SMART. The next day, I didn’t even want to look at a bike.
Also, bikes themselves are ridiculously expensive for what they are. My first bike? $800. My second bike? $1,100. My third bike? $2,400. Are we crazy? Yes.
But what are you paying for? The frame. The better the frame is (carbon fiber or titanium is best), the smoother your ride is. The lighter the material, the easier hills are. The more expensive disc brakes offer better stopping power, so you won’t have to replace your tires as often. Clipless pedals (which require purchasing shoes, of course) make pedaling twice as effective. And while a $20 helmet will protect your head just as well as a $200 helmet, there’s a difference in aerodynamics, airflow to keep your head cool or warm, and other considerations. The saddle makes a huge difference, and you can pay hundreds of dollars for those, too.
Add up all this money – the bike, the saddle, the clothes, the shoes, the helmet, etc. – and you discover that cycling is a hobby that can take you broke. (Incidentally, what’s with expensive sports? Skiing, golf, fishing … all expensive.)
So, while you’re kind of appalled when you look at your credit card statement (and in the mirror), you know you made the right choices when you get on the bike and take a ride. The same goes for marketing – you get what you pay for. A good bike is an investment in your comfort, and marketing is an investment in your business and its future. Without a strong strategy, solid experience, and talent, a marketing plan can quickly become a detriment instead of an asset. While that agency’s price seems like a bargain, the long-term risks of going for a bargain instead of buying the best will negatively affect your bottom line. (And speaking of bottoms, stay away from bargained priced bikes, too!)
Remember: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
Are there other areas in which you think you get what you pay for? Let us know in the comments.