Tag Archives: Money

Blown it all #cycling

Though it is windy outside, I am not talking about the weather this time.

2015 was a controlled year so far, very little spending (buying my wife a cheap bike in the summer does not count), then… Black Friday happened.

Wiggle.co.uk had (still have at time of writing) £40 off when you spend £200 on clothing and helmets. I had no intention of buying:

  • 2 long sleeve jerseys
  • 2 pairs of long fingered gloves
  • 2 pairs of mitts
  • 2 summer jerseys
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • cycle shoes and cleats

I did intend on buying

  • 1 long sleeve jersey (only if the price was right)
  • 1 pair of long fingered gloves
  • 1 pair of winter gloves

The long sleeve jerseys were half the price of my original, which I paid £45 for in January 2011. Sure I never bought a second because it wasn’t worth that money, I’ve been using a gilet and arm warmers when the jersey is in the wash. But at half the price I bought two and the gilet and arm warmer faff will be over.

The summer jerseys and shorts were cheap, my shorts are a bit hole-ridden (LOL) so I couldn’t turn them down.

Shoes? Yeah! I will be a proper cyclist now, no more tramp shoes for me baby! Sure, I used to look at tramps (who always wore better shoes than my cycling shoes) and wondered if they cycled.

So anyway, I easily spent over £200 and I never did get the winter gloves.

It has still been a free hobby (offset by commuting), cheaper than running a second car, cheaper than any other way of getting to work and good for my health. No, I won’t mention the dog poo fiasco of last week, I’m only going to blog about the good things, not about getting covered in it.

I consider myself retired at weekends… I relax, potter around the house or garden, but I don’t cycle, so I’m hoping my retirement will be more of the same but with cycling in there too. I’m looking forward to that, my work is generally good, nice people and I enjoy the commute via bicycle, but it all takes up too much time. I never have enough time, retirement will give me time to do whatever I want, that will be nice.

With regards retirement planning, I think the best anyone can do is live within their means, save and pay into a pension (alongside employer). Notice I put pension last, it is and always has been important, but with recent pension issues I would never solely rely on that any longer.

Modern people don’t seem to live within their means, we are well into the credit age.
I have always saved hard and not wasted money on gadgets etc – if you have a fancy mobile phone on contract then you are not me! – nor do I have a fancy car, my car is an aging Hyundai Amica, soon my bicycle will be worth more than my car.

Retirement will happen, I look forward to embracing it or getting a second and third job to pay my crippling debt.

Welshcyclist's Weblog

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All I seem to hear, these days, is talk of retirement and pensions. Quite frankly, it’s getting me down, very probably, because I don’t believe that I have provided adequately enough for our dotage, and it’s far too close. I am sixty-one and a half.

I’m the oldest of 18 plus employees at the power signalbox where I work, by about 8-10 years, the youngest is in his late twenties, the majority 35-45. Retirement and how much pension they’re going to get is a major topic of conversation. Talk about wishing your life away.

Some while ago, I mentioned, in this blog, that I felt retirement was a bit scary. Others commented that it was to be embraced as an opportunity to do the things I have always wanted to do. Well that would be hard, when I still have responsibilities and people who depend on me. Sure, I’d love to drop everything and…

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Spring in the garden (again, but with pictures) #gardening #green #money

The end of the garden needed some use, so I’ve taken up gardening!

I went a bit mad this year and planted all the onion sets I bought in a 500g net, I’ve got onions everywhere! I need my neighbours to take up growing their own so we can share sets, seeds etc. Whilst we are deciding what to plant in the front, there are onions there too, at least it adds some green shoots rather than plain soil. Notably the sets in the front were untouched by the blackbirds, but there are a fair few missing out the back where they spend more of their time.

The front onions LHS:

A few plants then some more:

The front onions RHS:

(argh, weeds growing too now)

At the back:

The new apple, plum and damson trees are showing signs of blossom and small leaves, but the old bramley is still pretty bare.
The pixy plum:

The damson:

The Bramley:

The Spartan apple tree:

It is about to flower, when the fruit buds come they are to be taken off so it puts its resource into growing rather than a couple of tiny apples.

The raspberry is slowly sprouting some leaves:

We really enjoyed the bush last year (our first year here), so I’m hoping it will provide a nice crop this year.

The strawbs are flowering nicely:

They were poor last year, so fingers crossed for this year. They are in big pots, I feel like planting them in the garden, but it’s another thing I should have done already and I don’t want to disturb them at this stage.

My runners are about 10cm high, slug munched, but hanging in there:

I started them off in the door-less green house, some weren’t ready, so they are waiting to be transplanted:

(a lot of slug pellets surround them now, at least 20 dead slugs I’d seen within 24 hours!)

Broccoli and also leek seeds sown, eagerly waiting to see some growth there (see top image between the new trees, broccoli on left and leeks in centre, right will hopefully be potatoes).

I’ve been meaning to plant my potatoes for some weeks now, they’ve sprouted (chitted) a little, but as they have been in a cool place they haven’t done that well. I keep putting them off as there’s a fair amount more digging to be done, but this weekend maybe…

I’m amazed how into this growing my own I’ve become, maybe my love of food and hate of spending money combines into a good (second) hobby for me. I do hope it’s worth it, we should save a fortune and really make the most of what I hope the garden will provide us.

Spring in the garden #garden #green #money

I went a bit mad this year and planted all the onion sets I bought in a 500g net, I’ve got onions everywhere! I need my neighbours to take up growing their own so we can share sets, seeds etc. Whilst we are deciding what to plant in the front, there are onions there too, at least it adds some green shoots rather than plain soil. Notably the sets in the front were untouched by the blackbirds, but there are a fair few missing out the back where they spend more of their time.

The new apple, plum and damson trees are showing signs of blossom and small leaves, but the old bramley is still pretty bare.

The raspberry is slowly sprouting some leaves, we really enjoyed the bush last year (our first year here), so I’m hoping it will provide a nice crop this year.

The strawbs are flowering nicely, they were poor last year, so fingers crossed! They are in big pots, I feel like planting them in the garden, but it’s another thing I should have done already and I don’t want to disturb them at this stage.

My runners are about 10cm high, slug munched, but hanging in there.

Broccoli and also leek seeds sown, eagerly waiting to see some growth there.

I’ve been meaning to plant my potatoes for some weeks now, they’ve sprouted (chitted) a little, but as they have been in a cool place they haven’t done that well. I keep putting them off as there’s a fair amount of digging to be done, but this weekend maybe…

I’m amazed how into this growing my own I’ve become, maybe my love of food and hate of spending money combines into a good (second) hobby for me. I do hope it’s worth it, we should save a fortune and really make the most of what I hope the garden will provide us.

Biannual mileage total update – #cycling #green #money

I’ve updated my spreadsheet and my biannual cycling mileage totals are:
2008 (H2) = 1600 miles
2009 (H1) = 1100 miles
2009 (H2) = 1400 miles
2010 (H1) = 1500 miles
2010 (H2) = 3500 miles
2011 (H1) = 3700 miles
2011 (H2) = 3600 miles

So I’m doing around 7000 miles per year on my bicycle rather than in a car, saving me a fortune!

See last post about this here

New tyres bought with my Christmas bonus voucher

I wasn’t expecting a Christmas bonus from my employer this year, but a kind jesture goes a long way and this year I was really happy to receive a voucher for Wiggle.co.uk, which I promptly spent on two new winter tyres (Schwalbe Marathon Winter – expensive things they are) and a summer tyre (Schwalbe Marathon GreenGuard):

Take note employers out there: Just because the job market is saturated or you don’t have to give a bonus doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You’d receive that money back in loyalty and hard work throughout January (at the very least).

Cheap chain whip = false economy? #cycling

I am the kind of person who doesn’t use bike shops for maintaining my machine, I like the convenience (and saving money) of doing the maintenance I can at home, it’s a learning process at times, but given the right tools it’s pretty easy stuff. But the only thing more annoying than having to spend my hard-earned cash (no comments please) on bicycle tools I won’t use very often is spending cash for them to be used a couple of times before needing replacing.

This post is dedicated to cheap tools, some you can scrimp on, others are worth the investment. I mistakenly thought I could get by with a cheap chain whip:
chain-whip-sjs-836
Sure, it worked well the first time I removed my Rohloff sprocket but it came off fairly easily compared with subsequent removals and replacements. So much so that the second use and the sprocket wasn’t budging, I had the Rohloff sprocket removal tool in a vice and heaving on the chain whip trying to loosen the sprocket. The cheap chain whip just bent in my hands, pointless straightening it, no fixing it, so into the metal recycling it went leaving me with a sprocket I couldn’t remove until I’d bought a new chain whip.
I bit the bullet and splashed out on a top rate chain whip with a view of needing one for the rest of my life it’d be worth the investment and I wouldn’t regret it:
chain-whip-sjs-12847
This Park Tool beast is in no way comparable to the cheap one, it is in every way better, stronger, longer and more comfortable to hold. It could easily be classed as a dangerous weapon as it is a big chunk of metal bar. Anyway, I tried the Park Tool SR2 and with much less effort the sprocket popped off from its seal and hub oil sprayed out under the vacuum it created. My pregnant wife was nearly sick at the stink of the Rohloff hub oil, it was a wonderful moment of success and comedy.

I will recommend the Park Tool SR2 to anyone who is interested, they don’t come cheap, but they are solid and I wouldn’t be without one now.

If you need the tools, buy them and invest where necessary.