Fall Discounts for Triathletes - Part I

author : chrisandniki
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Ahhhh, the beginning of fall . . .

The triathlon season winds to a gentle close. The air begins to sting during those early morning runs or bike rides. Your usual outdoor swimming areas become empty of fellow swimmers.
 
Besides being the time of Pumpkin Pie and turning leaves, fall’s a great time to evaluate your season, your goals for next season and not to mention kicking back and not being so serious.

Fall’s also the time to shop!!! In fact, now’s the best time to retool on some of your triathlon equipment for next year, right before the Christmas shopping session begins to jack prices upward.

Here are some tips on finding the best equipment this season for the cheapest prices. Part I of this article will talk about some of the equipment you’ll need (the bike, the shoes, the swimming stuff). Part II will look at where to find savings on clothing, wetsuits and cycling gear and accessories.

The Bike

Anyone new to the sport of triathlon quickly learns the biggest cost is the bike. While you can spend less than a hundred dollars on shoes, clothing, etc – some road bikes range into the $1,000 and $2,000 level.

Man, oh man – those prices can send someone screaming to take up a cheaper sport, like darts. Well, don’t go out and buy that dartboard just yet (which by the way, aren’t exactly cheap either). The budding triathlete has a couple choices for getting a great deal on bike equipment. And there’s no better time to do it than fall.

By the way, the best bike is the bike that fits you. If that means paying a little more - trust me, it’s worth it. Expect to pay at least $450.00 for a good-quality, entry-level bike.

Pro Bike Shops
Find a pro bike shop where you can get expert advice and a good after-sales service and maintenance department. If the pro shop doesn’t offer to help fit you to the bike, I’d find another store.
 

  • Many times, these bike shops also sell second-hand bikes, which are a great alternative for finding a great bike for a great deal.
  • Bike shops often accept “trade-ins.” If you have some old junker 10-speed from 1981 in your attic, bring it by. See what you can get for it. The money’s extra savings toward your new bike, and will help get rid of that clutter in your attic (at least that’s the excuse I gave my wife).
  • Bike shops also start having HUGE sales around this time of the year, to make room for next year’s latest and greatest models. Year-end rebates can be $100 or more of savings.
  • Mountain bikes are usually cheaper than road bikes, however while the higher straight bars provide more short-term comfort, road bike ‘drop’ bars provide more riding positions and therefore, greater long-term comfort. As your rides become longer (50+), I’d suggest road bike. But that’s just my opinion. I like comfort . . .


Supermarkets and Sporting Goods Stores
Triathletes can find the low/medium-end, bikes at stores (like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods). You’ll find some good values in these stores, but won’t have the knowledgeable staff like you’ll find in bike shops.

  • Check the store price verse the price offered on the internet. For example, Wal-Mart will sometimes offer cheaper prices for Internet orders.
  • Check the prices of stores outside major cities and suburbs. Drive to small towns and check the prices there. You’ll find prices often lower in these areas.
  • I’m sure many people disagree with this, but any bike will do for the beginning to intermediate triathlete (even one with a basket on front, which I’ve seen people race in and do well). Even if you’re racing (rather than just wanting to finish), the bike portion won’t make or break you (it’s the swim and the run that matter the most).
  • Supermarkets and sporting goods stores often don’t carry road bikes. No problem. Just get a light-framed mountain bike, buy narrow tires for it, and you’ll find your efficiency and speed increase appreciably!!

Newspapers and the Internet
Although you can find great deals in the newspaper and the Internet, you’ll be dealing with individuals rather than places of business. Sometimes that can be good – sometimes bad. Let the buyer beware as they say...

  • Check out www.ebay.com  (an auction site) and www.craigslist.com  (a classified site, with links for your area and the nation). Both have great deals on bikes.
  • Find the website to local bike clubs and teams in your area (usually, your pro-shop can provide you with this information). Often, you’ll find members of these clubs looking to sell their bikes as they wish to upgrade.
  • Check out TriSports.com for great deals on everything triathlon including bikes. You’ll find equipment on closeout. This site also a $50 gift certificate to TriSports with the purchase of a bike. You can’t beat that!!!
  • www.fogdog.com  is another site with everything sports!! You’ll find some great deals on all sports equipment, including bikes.
  • PerformanceBike.com and Nashbar.com are some other great online bike specific shops. 

Join a Team or Club
You don’t have to be a professional athlete or the next Dave Scott to join a triathlon of bike team or club. Again, check out your pro bike shop for information on clubs around your area (or do a search on the Internet from www.google.com ).

Often, teams and clubs can provide discounts from certain manufacturers or local stores.

The Running Shoes

Running shoes that fit comfortably are worth their weight in gold. Running is the sport most likely to injure you of all the sports in triathlon. You can avoid injury by finding a shoe that provides good cushioning, and good stability both for area around your toes (the forefoot) and the heel (the rearfoot).



Expect to pay around $45.00 - $100.00 for a good pair of running shoes (anything less and you’re probably won’t give your foot the support it needs). Of course, there are many areas where you can find great savings on shoes:

  • Never buy a pair of used running shoes (yuck). Shoes only last about 400 or 500 miles of running before they need replacement. Buying used running shoes means you’re getting less for your money. Plus, you don’t want to put your feet into someone else’s stinky shoes.
  • Check out a pro running shop. These stores rarely discount their new models of shoes, but do offer sales at the end of the year (now) to get make room for these new models.
  • Get on the pro running shop’s mailing list. They’ll notify you of any sales or promotions going on.
  • Pro running shops sometimes offer classes (like training for your first 5K, 10K, marathon, etc). Often, you’ll get a gift certificate toward equipment in their store, which could include running shoes. These classes often start in the fall.
  • Join a running team or a club affiliated with a running store. Often, these stores will then offer discounts to the teams and clubs they sponsor.
  • Sometimes, running shops and sporting goods stores offer discounts if you buy shoes in volume.
  • Run in local races put on by running stores. Often, they have giveaways and prizes to their stores, including free gear and gift certificates.
  • www.eastbay.com, and www.fogdog.com offer discounts to online shoppers. You don’t get the service from a real person that you would a running store, but if you’ve bought shoes before from a running store and now the brand and size you like, then these websites are virtual money savers!!!
  • Road Runner Sports is another great website to buy shoes from. In addition, this site provides the Run America Club (RAC), which costs $20 per year in dues. With this membership, you get 2-day shipping for the cost of standard shipping, and may return any shoes, whether you’ve worn them or not, within 60 days. Not many stores can offer that return policy.

The Swim Gear

While swimming may be the hardest of the triathlon sports to master, it’s luckily the cheapest of all triathlon sports for which to buy. All you need is a pair of goggles and a swimsuit (if you’re a guy, don’t worry: speedos aren’t required).

Swimming can get expensive if you decide to buy a wetsuit (which I’ll delve into in part II of this article). But all you’ll need is a pair of goggles and a swimsuit.
  • You can find a pair of inexpensive swim goggles from $5.00 to $10.00 at most supermarkets and sporting goods stores. They work well, but after 20 to 30 minutes can become painful as water will begin to leak in since most low-end goggles use foam as the sealant instead of the much superior silicone. For about $25.00, you can get a pair of goggles that will keep your eyes dry and burn-free.
  • Pro bike shops cater more and more to triathletes. Often, you’ll find swim goggles (and suits) in these shops. If you’re a member of a bike club and they offer a discount, use that discount on these swimming supplies.
  • Check out TriSports.com and www.fogdog.com for good deals on swimming gear, especially this time of year when the demand for swimming equipment has gone down.
  • Most cities have a master’s swim team. Consider joining, and you’ll find they have member discounts for suits and goggles from local athletic or sporting good stores.

In Part II of this article, we’ll look at finding deals in triathlon clothing, including running gear, cycling apparel and accessories, and wetsuits. Until then, keep moving. It’s good for you and will keep you out of trouble.

About the Author: Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix. You can contact him at chrisandniki@yahoo.com or visit his online journal at http://ctull.blogspot.com/




 

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date: October 17, 2004

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chrisandniki

Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix.

Author

avatarchrisandniki

Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix.

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