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Person with hand tattoos walking road bike down a street

Budgeting for Bikes and Other Hobbies

Spring sunshine, warm breezes and bright May flowers (thanks to some of those April showers) — who can stand to be indoors when the weather is this beautiful?

Not us. May is National Bike Month, which means it’s the perfect time to get outside and go bike riding. GM Financial doesn’t finance bicycles, but we have lots of great tips on budgeting for hobbies and how to start biking on a budget.

Shop smart

Bikes aren’t cheap, but investing in a good one that fits your needs can help you avoid costly repairs and replacements. Just like when deciding whether to lease or buy a car, think carefully about why you want a bike and where you’ll ride it. A cruiser is a great choice for leisurely rides around your neighborhood, while a road bike can help you get out and explore your city. Whichever type of bike you choose, think twice before buying a “beginner” model, as you may outgrow it quickly.

Search and swap

Not sure your hobby has passion potential? Don’t be the person who blows the budget on all-new equipment and then forgets about it six months later. Here are a few inexpensive ways to try cycling and see if it’s for you:

  • Borrow a friend’s bike
  • Ask your local bike shop if they offer rentals
  • Search online marketplaces for affordable bikes and safety gear
  • Attend a bike swap in your area. Cyclists love upgrading their gear, and you may be able to find a gently used bike at a great price.

Make sure to have everything double-checked by a professional before going for a ride.

Look for store events

Many bike shops offer bike rentals and free group rides, which are great ways to learn more about cycling, get comfortable on a bike and meet fellow enthusiasts. Look on social media or call stores in your area to see what they have on the schedule. Bonus: Some shops offer discounts on gear and tuneups for attending their events, so don’t be shy about asking.

Don't forget about your four-wheeler

We’re talking about your car, truck or SUV here. Cramming your bike in the trunk may work for a while (removing the front wheel can make it easier), but your best bet is to buy a bike rack. Bike racks don’t have to be expensive, and they’re the safest and most efficient way to transport your bike.

Riding on dusty and muddy terrain? Go ahead and think about floor mats or liners. Covering the interior of your car is a good way to protect against rips, tears, stains and other excessive wear issues.

Hobbies like bike riding should be fun — not cost prohibitive. Download our budget worksheet to see how you can budget for the hobbies you love.

Brooke Howell
By Brooke Howell, GM Financial

Brooke Howell is a storyteller who loves digging up ways to improve money management and help others make smart financial decisions. She has three American Staffordshire terriers, one curmudgeonly Chihuahua and doesn’t do anything by halves (except marathons).


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