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  1. #1
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    At times, mountain biking can absolutely suck

    I am in graduate school and the only income I have is off of student loans, with absolutely no room to move to do things that I like. Within the past two weeks, my two bikes have had major issues. Both brakes on one bike and the front brake on another are absolutely shot. The fork needs to be rebuilt and I have two tire hubs that are loose and also need to be rebuilt. Thing is I have no money to pay for anything that I need to get done. I am thinking about just selling everything I have bike related and just getting a road bike (I am not a fan of road biking) or just completely giving up biking the next three years and just switch to running to keep me in shape. Either way, it really sucks that I can't continue mountain biking. At least until I get a well paying job.
    "Want to ride some more miles...?"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcapri87
    I am in graduate school and the only income I have is off of student loans, with absolutely no room to move to do things that I like. Within the past two weeks, my two bikes have had major issues. Both brakes on one bike and the front brake on another are absolutely shot. The fork needs to be rebuilt and I have two tire hubs that are loose and also need to be rebuilt. Thing is I have no money to pay for anything that I need to get done. I am thinking about just selling everything I have bike related and just getting a road bike (I am not a fan of road biking) or just completely giving up biking the next three years and just switch to running to keep me in shape. Either way, it really sucks that I can't continue mountain biking. At least until I get a well paying job.
    Time to go rigid 29er singlespeed!

  3. #3
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    Everyone's poor at one time or another. You learn a lot more about life when you're struggling, and eventually you'll reap the benefits with a job that pays well.

    In the meantime, walk into your LBS and offer whatever time you have for free. Sweep the floor, open boxes, learn about the trade. In exchange they'll help you fix your bike.

    If you don't like that idea, sell one bike to fix the other. No point whingeing about it.

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't give up riding. You might need to be more ginger with your riding style in the time being so your bikes hold up. You may have to go with cheaper parts. Road riding is fine but you might find it monotonous. Get creative. Figure out a way to earn some money (legally) or get your bike up and running. Just watch the credit card debt. That's no good.

  5. #5
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    I am in college too and am all to familiar with this situation. Giving up riding would be the last thing to do. It is an amazing physical and even metaphysical outlet to have - especially in high stress situations such as grad school. Nothing gives me clarity and perspective on things like a good ride. I start to get anxious and irritable when I don't ride for a few days; I am truly addicted. Not sure if you feel the same way, but we can at least agree that it is a great passion.
    What kind of bikes do you have that are out of commission? Could you sell one to keep up and enhance the other? Or maybe sell both and buy a nice, durable, dependable, simple bike - like a 29er SS (like johnnyB said)/ a fun hardtail or something. There are a ton of options. I just recycle money made from selling bike parts, into money I use for buying new parts. It has worked out pretty well so far and for the last few years, I haven't had to dip into any external accounts to feed my addiction.
    Anyway, I hope you figure it out and continue to ride.
    Cheers

  6. #6
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    You've got to meet someone in your class that rides, too, and hopefully they can work on bikes. I'm in grad school right now as well so I feel your pain. I'm lucky because I can work on my bike and I have a full complement of tools. If I didn't have a bike to ride, I'd probably go nuts. Nothing you've mentioned takes that long to fix. Watch a couple youtube vids (if you don't find that other rider on campus) and fix yo' junk! It's not hard. You can do it! Good luck w/ school.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerwad
    You've got to meet someone in your class that rides, too, and hopefully they can work on bikes. I'm in grad school right now as well so I feel your pain. I'm lucky because I can work on my bike and I have a full complement of tools. If I didn't have a bike to ride, I'd probably go nuts. Nothing you've mentioned takes that long to fix. Watch a couple youtube vids (if you don't find that other rider on campus) and fix yo' junk! It's not hard. You can do it! Good luck w/ school.
    I didn't want to sound too flip about just going out and buy another bike. I agree that everything he needs to fix other than the fork can be all done with around $100.

    Not knowing what the bike and parts are, if the brakes are mechanical disks, probably pads and a cableset. $20. Bearings or ball bearing and grease, $10 to 20. Fork oil and seals around $30. Knowing how to apply it is of course, priceless. I've found a lot of information on the web. Search for Sheldon Brown, Park and Lennard Zinn along with your bike queries. But brakes and hubs adjustments are by "feel" and is sometimes hard to explain unless you are holding the part.

    I got into rigid singlespeeds as a way to avoid all the maintenance and now I like it for general riding. And if you're in college you're young enough to pedal it. I have a nice Fox fork/all-mountain ride for the techy stuff, but day-to-day local loops and probably commuting too, a nice $400ish 29er singlespeed sounds just about right.
    Last edited by johnnyb; 10-21-2010 at 01:01 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcapri87
    At least until I get a well paying job.
    Aaah but then there's the lack of time .. You will never-ever have so much spare time again

    Grumpy-old-man-me!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubbsy

    If you don't like that idea, sell one bike to fix the other. No point whingeing about it.
    Do this. Or sell both and get a rigid single speed. Then reliability won't be an issue! And you'll have more fun.

    Friends don't let friends become roadies.

  10. #10
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    Can you consolidate both bikes into one working bike? I wouldn't resort to selling anything quite yet. Maybe you can work out a solution that won't cost a whole lot. I know a guy who built a whole bike with free parts. It's not anything special, but it gets him out of the house.

  11. #11
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    Are you kidding me? Work on your bike, go make a few extra bucks. Quit hiding under mommy's skirts.

  12. #12
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    Don't become a roadie. Everytime a mountain biker becomes a roadie, God kills a kitten.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel Flagg
    Don't become a roadie. Everytime a mountain biker becomes a roadie, God kills a kitten.
    Toooo Funnnnny

  14. #14
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    I would sell one bike or both to get a GT Peace 9'R. Can still have lots of fun and it should be pretty much maintenance free!

  15. #15
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    part time job. I had one all thru college. you would be amazsed at how well the school cafertia pays.

  16. #16
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    Mountain biking dosen't suck, Life without Mountain biking however does.....

  17. #17
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    decided to sell one bike and fix the other with credit card. def cant miss out on biking.
    "Want to ride some more miles...?"

  18. #18
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    Head to the Student Union and fill out a form for a credit card!

  19. #19
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    OP youre probably gonna be in debt in some form for the rest of your working life........You might as well have a nice bike to go along with the debt.

  20. #20
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    on you people who are equating the guy's graduate work with undergrad studies. I'm guessing you've never tried for a graduate degree.

    I'd say to find some people in your grad school who ride, also. they'll know where you're coming from and maybe someone will have some parts to help you out with. I've got a couple of friends here who ride and we hook each other up with tools and parts when we can because we know how time and budgets get stretched when you've got a thesis or a dissertation, labs to TA, along with your own coursework. anyone who thinks graduate students have free time is full of it.

  21. #21
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    Tell one of your uncles what your really want for Christmas. I've sent a lot more on my nieces and nephew.
    agmtb

  22. #22
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    Sell the car. Fix & ride the bikes. That way you save gas money, insurance money, and possibly the car payment. That's some serious jack to help out with the budget.
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    (with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    on you people who are equating the guy's graduate work with undergrad studies. I'm guessing you've never tried for a graduate degree.

    I'd say to find some people in your grad school who ride, also. they'll know where you're coming from and maybe someone will have some parts to help you out with. I've got a couple of friends here who ride and we hook each other up with tools and parts when we can because we know how time and budgets get stretched when you've got a thesis or a dissertation, labs to TA, along with your own coursework. anyone who thinks graduate students have free time is full of it.
    Life as a grad student can really suck. Got two master's degrees some years apart at night while working days to pay for them and, yeah, it killed my ride time entirely until I had finished them. Far more timeconsuming then undergrad.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper
    Aaah but then there's the lack of time .. You will never-ever have so much spare time again

    Grumpy-old-man-me!
    Greatly disagree, school take up way more than 40 or 50 hours a week for me. Graduating and getting a real job will free up huge amounts of time.
    All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.

  25. #25
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    Did you already sell it? What bike are you keeping?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcapri87
    I am in graduate school and the only income I have is off of student loans, with absolutely no room to move to do things that I like. Within the past two weeks, my two bikes have had major issues. Both brakes on one bike and the front brake on another are absolutely shot. The fork needs to be rebuilt and I have two tire hubs that are loose and also need to be rebuilt. Thing is I have no money to pay for anything that I need to get done. I am thinking about just selling everything I have bike related and just getting a road bike (I am not a fan of road biking) or just completely giving up biking the next three years and just switch to running to keep me in shape. Either way, it really sucks that I can't continue mountain biking. At least until I get a well paying job.
    Would it really cost that much to repair your issues? A lot of stuff you can do yourself.

    Brakes: are they disc or rim brakes? Do they just need adjustment, new pads, bleeding?
    Fork: rebuilt why? Leaking? Sticky? Is it unrideable?
    Hubs loose? You may be able to tighten them without rebuilding.

    Or perhaps you're just lamenting being busy and broke. I've been there too, and it sucked but paid off in the end.

  27. #27
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    Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    on you people who are equating the guy's graduate work with undergrad studies. I'm guessing you've never tried for a graduate degree. anyone who thinks graduate students have free time is full of it.
    I did an MBA program that I paid for out of savings and part-time work, so been there, done that.

    Yes, graduate students have free time. Proof - they have time to surf the internet and post questions on forums. It's all about how you use your time. I know lots of people in graduate and PHD programs, and they all think they are soooo busy, but I see them travel, party, socialize like crazy. Of course, most of them are spoiled brats on mommy's or the government's tit, basically putting off growing up. I say man up, get a part time job or figure out some way to make some money. I have a problem with his very first statement of no income except student loans. I was under the impression that this was a new decade and a new America, and funding your lifestyle with strickly more debt was no longer acceptable.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVERYUSERNAMEISTAKEN
    I would sell one bike or both to get a GT Peace 9'R. Can still have lots of fun and it should be pretty much maintenance free!
    or a SE Stout. $399 cant be beat.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcapri87
    decided to sell one bike and fix the other with credit card. def cant miss out on biking.
    From my undergrad personal finance class:

    Rumpker Rule #9: Dont ever carry a balance on your credit card.

    Rumpker Rule # 12: If you can't afford to pay cash for what your about to charge....you shouldn't buy it.

    In all seriousness, biking (regardless of discipline), shouldn't require you to go into debt just to enjoy it. It's a hobby, not a necessity. That 40 dollar brake fix will end up costing you far more in the long run by charging it. Plenty of part time jobs available. I worked at UPS throughout my undergrad and graduate studies. I didnt sleep much but then again I dont sleep much now.

    Remeber people dont plan to fail.....they fail to plan.

  30. #30
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    Shucks, of the OP was only a mechanic instead of a graduate student, the fix would be cheap and easy.

    Grad school sounds like a waste!

    Just eat only one packet of Ramen a-night instead of two for a couple weeks.

    I remember my "gradual school" experience in Los Alamos.. and riding my $250 rigid on some hard but fun trails while working most of my waking hours on my degree.

    The internet as I remember was "gofer"

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cibob113
    I did an MBA program that I paid for out of savings and part-time work, so been there, done that.

    Yes, graduate students have free time. Proof - they have time to surf the internet and post questions on forums. It's all about how you use your time. I know lots of people in graduate and PHD programs, and they all think they are soooo busy, but I see them travel, party, socialize like crazy. Of course, most of them are spoiled brats on mommy's or the government's tit, basically putting off growing up. I say man up, get a part time job or figure out some way to make some money. I have a problem with his very first statement of no income except student loans. I was under the impression that this was a new decade and a new America, and funding your lifestyle with strickly more debt was no longer acceptable.
    Depends on the grad program and course of study. My wife wound up with 6 figures in student loan debt to get her medical degree because it's not possible to work on top of the program. In mine, I have an assistantship that pays my school bills, so no loan debt (because my wife's job handles living expenses), but I also have a clause in my contract which prevents me from having a job that conflicts with my assistantship and its associated duties. At this point in my studies and research, I'm working most exclusively on data processing, so I'm planted in front of the computer all the time.

  32. #32
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    Putting on the credit card = really bad idea. Seriously. Don't do it.

    If it comes down to going into crap debt or quitting mountain biking for a while, you'd be a fool not to quit for a bit. Mountain biking is a ton of fun, but it's not worth going into more debt over. If you're looking to save money, look at the fake "necessities" that can swallow up a budget (cable TV, pimped out cell plan, land line, restaurant food, maybe even internet).

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    Putting on the credit card = really bad idea. Seriously. Don't do it.

    If it comes down to going into crap debt or quitting mountain biking for a while, you'd be a fool not to quit for a bit. Mountain biking is a ton of fun, but it's not worth going into more debt over. If you're looking to save money, look at the fake "necessities" that can swallow up a budget (cable TV, pimped out cell plan, land line, restaurant food, maybe even internet).
    In some cases, an internet plan can be scaled back to minimums. pimped cell plans are big ones, but could be harder to ditch because most people are stuck in a contract.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcapri87
    I am in graduate school and the only income I have is off of student loans, with absolutely no room to move to do things that I like. Within the past two weeks, my two bikes have had major issues. Both brakes on one bike and the front brake on another are absolutely shot. The fork needs to be rebuilt and I have two tire hubs that are loose and also need to be rebuilt. Thing is I have no money to pay for anything that I need to get done. I am thinking about just selling everything I have bike related and just getting a road bike (I am not a fan of road biking) or just completely giving up biking the next three years and just switch to running to keep me in shape. Either way, it really sucks that I can't continue mountain biking. At least until I get a well paying job.
    wah wah wah.... woe is me.
    ~JPB

    "Loud Hubs Save Lives"

  35. #35
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    I second the people saying to not use a CC.

    Mountain biking is not, as you clima in your post, really crappy at time. Being broke is though. And going into debt will further that cycle.

    Trust me, I used CCs in college and spent 3 years afterward living as cheaply as possible to pay them off. Never will carry a balance on a CC again.

    Sell one or both bikes and use what cash you get for another more reliable bike. Or give up biking until you can afford to fix a bike. Or sell one to fix the other.

    Just please take it from someone who learned the hard way... there is not a hobby in the world worth going into CC debt for.

  36. #36
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    Everyone has pretty much covered your bases here. I know you sold one bike and charged up your credit card already, but advice from somone who has been there is priceless.

    1. Get a job that has 15 to 20 hours a week at the University. That is what I did as an undergrad. It was great because I had extra skrilla, and because it was university job, they worked around my schedule and studies. Conference center is the way to go because they don't need you all the time, and you can pretty much work times where they need you and you aren't busy. Currently I am a full time grad student and I work a full time job. I struggle to find the time to get everything done, but always seem to find a way to do it. SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD!

    2. Cancel all the non nesacary things in life. If you have a car sell it. This will just give you more time in the saddle, and surely you know people you can bum rides from or you can take a cab when you really need one. Cancel cable, you will get more studying done. I am in grad school right now and I sold one of my cars. In both undergrad and now I didn't/don't have cable. It is worth it bro.

    3. Do not charge up those credit cards. I was very dilligent to never get a credit card. Unfortunately I married into credit card debt. It isn't pretty trust me. I have worked incredibly had to work the debt down, and the end is in sight, but my wife will tell me everytime it comes up, "it wasn't worth it." Credit Cards are awful and even worse when they are in the hands of someone irresponsible.

    4. I just don't see how it could be as bad as you make it out to be. Anyone with drive and passion enough, which you obviously have for both mountain biking and school, should have the fortitude to grit your teeth and figure this shi t out. Toughen up, we all have bad days. Just keep in mind, "Without the bitter, the sweet isn't as sweet."

  37. #37
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    Max out your credit cards getting a new Turner or SC or Niner, at least a $4k build IMO. Just throw your other bikes in the trash. These guys are all just jealous!

  38. #38
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    DON'T STOP RIDING! I all but gave it up a few years ago, and just started MTB riding at the beginning of this year. I had ridden for 5+ years before that and was getting pretty good technically. When I started back up it was like learning to ride all over again. Not only was I fat and out of riding shape, but I lost my balance, technical handling skills, and forgot all those "special" parts of the various trails around here. It took a good 4-5 months of riding to feel like I got my skills back.

    Sell both of your bikes, and get a mid-level hardtail. Something that is bulletproof and will keep going for a few years with little to no maintenance. The other option is to start selling drugs on the corner, or become a man-whore. While interesting, those both would interfere with riding AND school.
    "Got everything you need?"

  39. #39
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    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyb
    Time to go rigid 29er singlespeed!
    +1,000.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cibob113
    I did an MBA program that I paid for out of savings and part-time work, so been there, done that.
    Try studying a science sometime
    All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon Man
    Try studying a science sometime
    Yuck---science is for geniuses, other stuff is for the commoner, MBA is for us master bull artists.

  42. #42
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    Yes my experience with the graduate MBA program, while working even, was I still had some free time. Lot's of research and writing; an occasional post to a class web site. No big struggles.



    Quote Originally Posted by cibob113
    I did an MBA program that I paid for out of savings and part-time work, so been there, done that.

    Yes, graduate students have free time. Proof - they have time to surf the internet and post questions on forums. It's all about how you use your time. I know lots of people in graduate and PHD programs, and they all think they are soooo busy, but I see them travel, party, socialize like crazy. Of course, most of them are spoiled brats on mommy's or the government's tit, basically putting off growing up. I say man up, get a part time job or figure out some way to make some money. I have a problem with his very first statement of no income except student loans. I was under the impression that this was a new decade and a new America, and funding your lifestyle with strickly more debt was no longer acceptable.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by codwater
    Everyone has pretty much covered your bases here. I know you sold one bike and charged up your credit card already, but advice from somone who has been there is priceless.

    1. Get a job that has 15 to 20 hours a week at the University. That is what I did as an undergrad. It was great because I had extra skrilla, and because it was university job, they worked around my schedule and studies. Conference center is the way to go because they don't need you all the time, and you can pretty much work times where they need you and you aren't busy. Currently I am a full time grad student and I work a full time job. I struggle to find the time to get everything done, but always seem to find a way to do it. SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD!

    2. Cancel all the non nesacary things in life. If you have a car sell it. This will just give you more time in the saddle, and surely you know people you can bum rides from or you can take a cab when you really need one. Cancel cable, you will get more studying done. I am in grad school right now and I sold one of my cars. In both undergrad and now I didn't/don't have cable. It is worth it bro.

    3. Do not charge up those credit cards. I was very dilligent to never get a credit card. Unfortunately I married into credit card debt. It isn't pretty trust me. I have worked incredibly had to work the debt down, and the end is in sight, but my wife will tell me everytime it comes up, "it wasn't worth it." Credit Cards are awful and even worse when they are in the hands of someone irresponsible.

    4. I just don't see how it could be as bad as you make it out to be. Anyone with drive and passion enough, which you obviously have for both mountain biking and school, should have the fortitude to grit your teeth and figure this shi t out. Toughen up, we all have bad days. Just keep in mind, "Without the bitter, the sweet isn't as sweet."

    Read this again OP! +1.
    Last edited by jimbowho; 10-23-2010 at 10:24 AM.

  44. #44
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    i dont know if he was looking for advice.. just ranting? its tough being in school and broke.

  45. #45
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    Another for selling both and getting a rigid 29er SS. Or a CX...but road? Seriously?
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  46. #46
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    most people who bash on road riding havent tried it. it beats sitting on your ass and playing video games!

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot
    most people who bash on road riding havent tried it. it beats sitting on your ass and playing video games!
    I tried it. Pavement's not all that bad if they could just figure out someplace else to put all those cars.

  48. #48
    mtbr member
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    I have been there and recovered from it. Sucks but no good without bad!

  49. #49
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    Work more. Sleep less. Ride when you can. I just graduated from pharmacy school so I understand where the OP is coming from, but you just have to make it happen. I spent 40-50 hrs a week in a hospital, 20-30 hrs a week working, and every other waking hour studying. You can learn a lot about life when you don't have the time to have one.

  50. #50
    I Love Lamp
    Reputation: clintrosser's Avatar
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    You have time to get a part time job; you just don't want to. If you have time to partake in the hobby, you have time for a part-time job. You'll only fool morons with that excuse. Wait until your married, have children, and work 60+ hour weeks.
    The credit card thing is an awful idea. I don't know if you have a good job lined up when school is done. An MBA, or any degree, is not a guarantee you have a good paying job after graduation.
    It's T-Shirt time!

  51. #51
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkp41
    You can learn a lot about life when you don't have the time to have one.
    Quoted for truth.
    All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.

  52. #52
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    Back when I ran a university mountainbike club we ran occasional maintenance evenings. Bring beer, broken bikes and tools, order pizza and show everyone how to fix stuff.

    Of course the club core was a majority of mechanical engineering students.
    It was great taking in somone's bike that was rattling, wobbly and felt like death to ride and wheeling out a bike that was tight, smooth and easy to ride.

    None of the problems on your bike are likely to cost more than $10 in parts, grease and oil. Learn how to fix it yourself or spend a lifetime paying. If you can't fix your own bike, what do you do if something comes apart mid-ride?
    Owner of www.shockcraft.co.nz and NZ Manitou Agent.
    www.dougal.co.nz Suspension setup & tuning.
    SPV Devolve

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