Whereas football is a game where a bunch of girls wear protective padding and slap each others’ butts, cycling is a sport for real men who shave their legs and wear spandex. All this is besides the point though. The point is that sport is an excellent source of financial analogies, so let’s roll. 

Cycling is a sport of turning energy into speed. Going into debt is like going downhill and picking up speed without have to pedal much. Many people prefer going down hill. The going is easy for a while and it takes no time to get to the bottom. Then the road flattens out and an equally steep hill appears ahead. Going up is much slower and much harder.

Interest income is like having a breeze in the back. Financial independence is having a wind strong enough to free wheel. Conversely, financing charges and debt is like having a wind in the face. Having the wind in the face and going uphill is even worse.

Like a big home, driving a cruiser is comfortable in the beginning but after 10 miles it becomes a drag. The wide saddle starts chafing. This is not the case for the racer. A racing saddle looks uncomfortable as it doesn’t offer much support but that’s because it doesn’t need to. A slow poking cyclist probably supports 70-80% of the weight on the saddle. The rest goes on the handle bars and pedals. A racer puts maybe 20% of his weight on the saddle and the rest on the pedals. The racer has places to go and thus does not need to spend a lot of resources on comfort.
Driving a 19 pound racer is easy. Driving a 35 pound cruiser is hard. Driving a 35 pound cruiser with a trailer full of stuff is really hard. Now try a headwind going uphill on a 35 pound cruiser with a trailer while being overweight and underpowered. Sounds like a train wreck in action. The financial equivalent is not hard to imagine. Soon the frustrated cyclist is going to start looking for quick fixes rather than taking a hard look at the six things that are currently being done wrong.

Originally posted 2008-02-08 06:52:36.