Like everyone, I learned to ride a bicycle when I was 4 years old. I never used training wheels. I got on the bike, my Dad pushed me down the driveway and I landed in an evergreen bush. Then I got back on the bike, he pushed me down the driveway again and I got it. I guess I was a natural.
When we were kids, our bicycles were our main form of transportation. In high school, while I didn’t have a car, a lot of my friends did, and the bikes weren’t needed as much for getting around town. After graduating from college, I started running more for exercise and did a couple of duathlons. I really enjoyed riding the bike and that became my main form of exercise.
For the vast majority of my adult life, I have ridden bikes. I raced a few times but didn’t really enjoy that. I like working out, riding with my friends, and doing rides like The Enchanted Circle and The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. These are events with lots of riders going as hard as they can but it’s not really a race. It’s sort of in between racing and touring.
Prior to the pandemic, I would always ride outside. I tried to ride a couple of times during the week and then ride with my friends on the weekend. I didn’t use any way to track this, so I probably averaged riding three days per week. I didn’t have any type of training program or coach. I just rode my bike.
About 6 years ago, some of my friends encouraged me to try an indoor cycling class which had a structured workout and a coach, who wrote the training program and told you what to do. It seemed a little weird at first, but I really enjoyed it. The other thing that happened was I got in a lot better shape. After I broke my leg, they only way I could ride a bike was indoors on a trainer. I remember going back to the class in January of 2019. My friend, Ben, had to lift my surgically repaired leg over the bike so I could get on the bike and do the workouts. I crashed in August of 2018 and after 16 days in the hospital, 6 months of physical therapy and doing the indoor workouts, I was able to complete the Iron Horse ride at the end of May 2019.
In February of 2020 I went to an IRA training class in San Francisco. When I was in the airport on the way home, I saw a few people wearing masks. I thought it was a little weird but didn’t think too much about it. In March of that year, my friends and I did our annual trip to Las Vegas for the Mountain West college basketball tournament. I think that was the last time I got on a plane until November of 2021.
When the pandemic started, we were told it wasn’t safe to ride bikes with groups outside. The indoor cycling classes were also closed. My friend, Ben, had been using a program called Zwift where he could ride his bike indoors on a trainer and basically do the indoor cycling class by himself. I started doing the same thing in March of 2020 and haven’t looked back. Last year I started using a training program called TrainerRoad. This program allows me to train for an event and gives me scheduled workouts that I use to train for specific events. I also use a program called Training Peaks. This allows me to view every workout I have done since I started using the program. Now I have numbers and reports that show all the nerdy bike information anyone could ever want.
I have written about our budgeting journey over the past few years. We went from not having a budget, to trying some budgeting program for a short period, getting frustrated and stopping, to hiring a budgeting coach. Now we have a budget that we regularly look at and follow. We meet with our budgeting coach so we can monitor our progress and plan for upcoming events.
Because of our budgeting we have been able to max out our retirement plans, paid off debt, paid our quarterly tax estimates on time and saved for our awesome family vacation this past August. With the budget, I can tell you where every dollar that we spend goes. I know how much I pay for groceries and utilities and taxes. At this point, I tell our money where it’s going versus wondering where it went.
Fitness and Finance
Last night I did a pretty hard workout on TrainerRoad. This morning as I sit here writing this blog, I’m pretty sure I weigh the same as I did last night. I doubt I can ride any faster today than I could when I rode The Tour of the Moon on September 10th. One workout doesn’t make a bit of difference. But 30 years of workouts do! Having a training schedule and being committed to working out on a regular basis is hard and boring. On my Zwift app I can see when some of my friends are hopping on their trainer at 5:30 a.m. to do their workouts. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I come home from work and hop on the bike. Monday and Friday are free days. After I’m done working out, I look in the mirror and nothing has changed. But something is changing. At age 59, I know I’m not going to win the Tour de France, but I did ride 64 miles with 3600 feet of climbing in just under 4 hours a couple of weeks ago.
The same thing happens when you’re budgeting and investing money. What does it matter if we go out to eat a few times per week? If I start to invest $100 per month, what will I have at the end of the year, $1200.00? Big deal. You can’t retire one $1200.00! Who cares if the cable TV bill was $130.00 per month but the new client discount dropped off and now it costs $180.00 per month? The new car payment is only going to be $600.00 per month for 72 months. That’s not too bad, plus I’m getting some money for my trade in.
You don’t notice anything at first. When you don’t know how much you are spending on this or that, it doesn’t really hurt you. You get used to the car payment after a few months. Even when you start investing in your 401k, when you look at the statements each month, nothing has really changed. Sometimes you get the statement, and your account is worth less than it was before.
I follow a guy named Morgan Housel. He wrote a book called, “The Psychology of Money”. Here’s one of the things he says: “The single most important variable for how you’ll do as an investor is how long you can stay invested. I’m always astounded when I think about compound interest and the power that it has for investing. Time is massively powerful.”
Here’s a numerical example. If you save $100 per month growing at 8% for one year, you will have $1,244.99. Yay! If you save $100 per month growing at 8% for 30 years, you will have $149,035.94. If you were work with a financial advisor, follow a budget and perhaps, have something similar to my workout program and you were able to save $500 per month for 30 years, you would have $745,179.72. Now we’re cooking with gas! Or something like that. I’ve beat this to death. You get the point!
In life, in working out, in investing, in lots of things, boring things like paying yourself first, giving yourself time, scheduling your workouts, actually doing the work, etc. don’t seem to make much difference at first. But doing these things consistently over time can create incredible results. If you want to talk about this, feel free to reach out to me HERE! As always, thanks for reading. KB