Editor’s Note: “Over a Beer” is a regular opinion column written by Greg Heil. While Greg is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com, the opinions expressed in this commentary are his alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Singletracks.com.

…and DEFINITELY don’t ask me to share it for you!

One of the latest trends in our over-entitled, I-deserve-to-be-handed-everything-on-a-silver-platter society, of which my generation seems to be the worst perpetrators, is the advent of the GoFundMe.

Now before I go further, I do need to mention that there are plenty of instances where I think GoFundMe campaigns are totally warranted. For instance, your child has an extremely rare heart condition and needs an extremely expensive, experimental procedure that insurance won’t cover–yeah, a GoFundMe is probably your best shot. You’re running a non-profit that helps rescue animals from kill shelters and puts them in loving homes–sure, GoFundMe all the way. In fact, I’ve donated to several GoFundMes myself–this site can be a great tool for safely collecting funds for a worthy cause.

I am not talking about any of those worthy causes in this post. Instead, I am talking about the un-worthy ones. The ones where your stereotypical Millennials (or at least, what the media at large would make you believe we’re like) hold out their hands, tell you a sob story, and ask you to fill their hands with cash. These GoFundMes are created for all sorts of inappropriate situations… including buying a mountain bike.


I wish I was making this up… but I’m not. We routinely get people emailing us asking Singletracks to share their GoFundMe, or worse, contribute to it… or even worse, send them a free bike because, you know, we have a warehouse of old test bikes just sitting around, gathering dust.

Here’s how the plea generally goes:

“_____ horrible thing happened to me. (Choose from list: bike was stolen, lost job, personal injury, I’m broke.) I know that if I just had a bike, I could do _____ amazing thing with it. (Choose from list: Become a professional racer, make amazing movies that everyone will love, explore trails and share my experiences with the world.) Please give me money so I can accomplish _____ amazing thing and change the world!”

Let me just clear the air, right here and right now: I will never give you money if you send me this plea. And I will definitely not share you self-entitled hand out-seeking GoFundMe with the rest of the world.

And here’s why.

Probably the #1 most common “amazing thing” that these GoFundMe starters think they will do with their brand-new bike is become a pro-level racer. Oh really, so not owning a mountain bike the only thing standing between you and being the fastest rider in the pack? The naiveté–or rather, arrogant pride–that all that stands between a non-rider and a pro is an expensive bike is staggering and honestly, insulting to all of the riders who’ve tried to be fast and realized that they just aren’t, and especially to all of the truly world-class mountain bikers who’ve worked so incredibly hard to reach the top of those podiums.

Sorry to break it to you, GoFundMe wannabe: those pro-level athletes are riding expensive bikes because they’re incredibly gifted, incredibly talented, and have a work ethic that less than 1% of 1% of the population has… and obviously a work ethic that is totally foreign to you, oh fellow Millennial.

So instead of asking for a handout, asking for the Internetz to give you $ for a mountain bike (more like $$,$$$), how about you take a cue out of the pro athlete’s book and develop a work ethic. You know, how about you get a job and buy yourself that mountain bike… just like the rest of us?

When we make that suggestion via email, a common retort is, “Oh, I have a job, I’m just too broke to afford a bike.”

Well, then how about you get a second job? Wow, what a revolutionary idea: that someone can hold two jobs at the same time!

Above and beyond the takeaway found in the title, the moral of the story is this: if you’re considering starting a GoFundMe to finance your next mountain bike purchase, you need to:

You don’t need a GoFundMe to get yourself out on the trail on a mountain bike, you just need a little tenacity.

# Comments

  • dunleavy

    That’s some quality old man fist shaking at the kids on his lawn (sure you weren’t born before 1980?) – but yeah, a GoFundMe for bike is ridiculous unless you need that bike to get your kid to the hospital for treatment or something.

  • mongwolf

    Forego instant gratification. Work hard. Save money. Buy only what you can afford. Never on credit. Watch your health carefully (to avoid unnecessary medical bills). Then go and enjoy life with a clear conscience. I’ve never had a car payment, never a house payment, my professional training was in forestry (not much money there), and my parents were far from rich. It’s call living within your means. It’s a pretty good life with good night sleeps.

    • Greg Heil

      Not even a house payment? That’s impressive. Kudos!

  • The Beardling

    So excited to hear that you’ve got a warehouse full of free bikes. Let’s meet there tonight so I can pick one out!

  • hproctor

    Haha! Someone (a mature adult) just started a GoFundMe and asked me to share her post! Think I send her this link! 😉

    • hproctor

      Update: The gal got her bike…..she is now better able to complete her “Bike Patrol” duties.

  • Scott Cotter

    I haven’t seen the “help me buy a bike” but I did get invited to contribute to one to help some newlyweds take a vacation in the Caribbean. I thought, WTF?

    I don’t say this as a way to suggest I’m anything other than normal or have a pretty common perspective on things. My first bike was a Mongoose Hilltopper and I took a high-risk loan of $200 to buy it. Paid $25 a week back to those people, which left me eating peanut butter sandwiches most days. That bike, btw, was destroyed long before I was done paying it off.

    Not that I recommend getting high-risk loans (or any other for that matter) when it comes to buying a bike. Generally being leveraged for anything is a bad idea. It’s just that, you know, if you really want something that bad, figure out a way — legally — to get it.

  • Joel DH

    I worked a job in a 90 degree building for 2 years to get my bike. Before that i worked at 4:00 AM in a 34 degree warehouse lifting ice covered boxes to get the bike before that one. GoFundMe? Are you kidding?
    Some people just do not understand how gratifying working hard to get something you really want can be once you get it. The feeling I had this December when my Specialized Enduro came in the mail, with two years worth of sweat behind it, was awesome. I am still stoked about it, and will have that experince for the rest of my life. If my parents had just bought it for me, it would have been like,” Oh yeah this is cool. I am so glad i have this. Now can I have..?” It would have been just another present. There is something about working hard and seeing the fruits of your labor play out in front of your eyes.
    Another good one Greg, with an approite amount of disgust displayed. Bravo!

    • John Fisch

      “Some people just do not understand how gratifying working hard to get something you really want can be once you get it.”

      Hear, Hear!

  • rajflyboy

    I don’t think a go fund me page like this is actually meant to buy a bike. I’d say it’s much more likely that the money would go to drugs or alcohol.

    Also, if folks are dumb enough to give to a fund like this then it’s fine for them to lose their money. PT Barnum was right.

  • fredcook

    Great article Greg, thanks. It seems every day I hear reference to how so many think having “stuff” is their “right”. “I have a right to have a cell phone”, “I have a right to have a car”. It goes on and on. Those individuals don’t understand what rights are, and what falls into that category. And just because you are granted rights to something, doesn’t mean it will be given to you. You may still need to earn it. Our constitution grants us (“us” = LEGAL immigrants, of which I am one) Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Within that, you could include a mountain bike as a part of happiness. But, that does not afford you a free bike. We’re granted the right to work for it, and guaranteed we will not be prevented from doing so. It still up to you, at a minimum, to finish high school, maybe college, start working, work your way up, and position yourself to afford that bike. Anyway, great article. Thanks again.

  • rmap01

    Well said Greg! That kind of entitlement mindset – which seems to be increasingly prevalent in our society – is absolutely baffling to me.

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